The iconclastic brothers were nominated for their dark western thriller "No Country for Old Men." Joel Coen was previously nominated for the DGA award 11 years ago for "Fargo."
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, "No Country For Old Men"
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton"
Sean Penn, "Into The Wild"
Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
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Directing teams have been nominated in the past for the DGA's top prize -- husband and wife filmmakers Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris were nominated DGA last year for "Little Miss Sunshine -- but it is a rare occurrence The only directing team to win the DGA award were Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for 1961's "West Side Story."
Vying with the brothers for the DGA's top prize are all first-time nominees: Julian Schnabel for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," Paul Thomas Anderson for "There Will Be Blood," Sean Penn for "Into the Wild" and Tony Gilroy for "Michael Clayton."
"This wasn't on my radar of something that would happen," Gilroy said, who made his directorial debut with the legal thriller. "It is rather an enormous, incredible surprise. I am really stunned in the best way."
Since its inception in 1949, the DGA award winners have gone on to receive the Academy award 53 of 59 times. The winners will be announced Jan. 26th at the 60th annual DGA awards dinner at the Hyatt Regency Century City Hotel in Los Angeles.