In a strong indication of where the Oscar race is going, four former winners and a newcomer were nominated today for the 65th annual Directors Guild Award.

The nominees are a high-powered group: three-time DGA winner Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"); Tom Hooper ("Les Miserables"), last year's winner for "The King's Speech;" Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty") who won for "Hurt Locker" three years ago; Ang Lee ("Life of Pi") who previously won the award for "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Ben Affleck ("Argo") who may be a newcomer but is hardly an unknown name in Hollywood.

June 7, 2012 file photo of director Steven Spielberg at the AFI Life Achievement Award  (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, file)
June 7, 2012 file photo of director Steven Spielberg at the AFI Life Achievement Award (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, file) (Chris Pizzello)

Historically, the DGA list is a good reflection of who will have their names called as Oscar nominees. Rarely do the two sets of nominees differ dramatically although occasionally, Oscar voters will bump one DGA nominee for another director. That happened last year when David Fincher was a DGA nominee for "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" but lost out in the Oscar race to Terrence Malick ("Tree of Life').

That means there is still some Oscar hope for the top directors snubbed by the DGA: Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained") and David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook"). Both are still considered strong contenders for an Oscar nomination, which will be announced Thursday.

As accurate a predictor of Oscar nominees as the DGA is, it is even more so on who will win. Just six times since 1949 has the DGA winner failed to take home the Academy Award for best director. The last time was in 2002 when Rob Marshall was the DGA winner for "Chicago" but the Oscar went to Roman Polanski for "The Pianist."

The DGA award ceremony is Feb. 2.

For all things Oscar and more, follow Charlie McCollum at Twitter.com/charlie_mccollu.