Film-makers Anthony Minghella and Peter Jackson are competing in the first awards' ceremony staged by the Directors Guild of Great Britain.
Peter Jackson is nominated for the international prize
The Cold Mountain and Lord of The Rings directors face Sofia Coppola and 21 Grams' Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu in the international film category.
Girl With a Pearl Earring director Peter Webber and Young Adam's David Mackenzie will compete for a UK prize.
TV directors will also be recognised at the ceremony in London on 21 February.
Stephen Poliakoff is nominated for his drama The Lost Prince, while Stephen Frears gets the nod for The Deal.
David Yates' State Of Play and Adrian Shergold's The Second Coming are also in the running for the award.
Awards will be presented in ten categories - including documentaries and commercials.
Writer Richard Curtis - whose credits have included Blackadder and Four Weddings And A Funeral - is to receive an award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film and Television.
The event will be hosted by Michael Winner, with fellow film director Nic Roeg among the guest presenters.