- Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
- Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
- David Fincher, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
- Alexander Payne, The Descendants
- Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen has been nominated by the DGA before four previous times, winning the prize in 1977 for Anne Hall, and nominated for Manhattan (1979), Hannah & Her Sisters (1986) and Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989.) He also received the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.
This is Michel Hazanavicius' first DGA nomination.
David Fincher was nominated for the DGA last year for The Social Network and in 2008 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In 2008, he was nominated for Best Achievement in Direction of a Commercial, and in 2004, he won the DGA for the same category.
Alexander Payne was previously nominated for the DGA for directing Sideways in 2004.
Martin Scorsese received his first DGA nomination for Taxi Driver in 1976. Since then, he has been nominated seven other times: Raging Bull (1980), GoodFellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006) and the pilot episode of Broadwalk Empire (2010). He has won the DGA twice (for The Departed and Boardwalk Empire) and received the 2003 DGA Lifetime Achievement Award.