LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Richard Linklater's 12 years of toiling on coming-of-age tale "Boyhood" reaped a coveted nomination on Tuesday for the top Directors Guild Award, which has correctly predicted the best director Oscar for 10 of the last 11 years.
Two-time DGA winner Clint Eastwood, 84, earned his fourth nomination for outstanding directorial achievement for his Iraq war film "American Sniper," while Alejandro G. Inarritu was nominated for "Birdman," his second nod from the Directors Guild of America for a feature film.
Rounding out the list of five were first-time DGA nominees Morten Tyldum for "The Imitation Game" and Wes Anderson for "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
"Boyhood," which follows a boy and his family and used the same actors over a dozen years, won the 54-year-old Linklater his first Golden Globe for best director on Sunday. The film also won the coveted best drama Golden Globe, making it a frontrunner for the Oscar best picture.
Inarritu, 51, was also considered a strong contender for director awards for his first comedy, a surreal satire of show business that appears to be filmed in one long take in the cramped confines of a Broadway theater.
But the Mexican filmmaker's awards season fortunes took a blow when Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" was a dark-horse winner of the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical, boosting the Oscar potential of the colorful period caper.
The surprise of the DGA list is Tyldum for "The Imitation Game," the British biopic of World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The Norwegian director is known for his 2011 thriller "Headhunters."
The Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 22 and nominations will be announced on Thursday. The DGA award will be handed out Feb. 7, before Oscar voting concludes on Feb. 17.
Since 1948, there have been only seven occasions when the DGA award winner has not gone on to win the corresponding Academy Award. "Argo" director Ben Affleck won the DGA in 2013 but was not nominated for the best director Oscar award, which was given to Ang Lee for "Life of Pi."
One notable omission from the DGA list was "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, a relative newcomer to directing whose work on the civil rights drama made her the first African-American woman to be nominated for a best director award at the Golden Globes.
(Editing by Eric Kelsey; Editing by David Gregorio)