LOS ANGELES -- The Directors Guild of America announced Monday its candidates for best director of 1987, with foreigners grabbing three of the five top spots for an award considered a harbinger of the Oscar.
Nominated were Italy's Bernardo Bertolucci for 'The Last Emperor,' Sweden's Lasse Hallstrom for 'My Life as a Dog' and England's Adrian Lyne for 'Fatal Attraction' along with James L. Brooks for 'Broadcast News' and Steven Spielberg for 'Empire of the Sun.'
At last month's Golden Globe Awards, which also are regarded as a harbinger of the Oscars, Bertolucci was named best director and 'The Last Emperor' was named best drama film of 1987.
The winner of the 40th annual DGA Award will be announced March 12 at banquets in Los Angeles and New York. The nominations were announced by DGA President Robert Wise at a news conference at the Guild's Los Angeles headquarters.
The awards provide a barometer for Academy Award nominations, which this year will be announced Feb. 17. But historically it does not necessarily follow that the winner of the DGA award goes on to win the Oscar.
Spielberg won the DGA award in 1985 for 'The Color Purple' but was not even nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awarded the best director Oscar that year to Sidney Pollack for 'Out of Africa.'
Spielberg has never earned an Oscar for best direction even though several of his films rank with the greatest box office hits of all time.
Spielberg has been nominated for four other DGA awards besides 'The Color Purple' -- in 1975 for 'Jaws,' in 1977 for 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' in 1981 for 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and in 1982 for 'E.T. -- The Extraterrestrial.'
Bertolucci and Brooks each have one previous DGA nomination. The Italian director was nominated in 1973 for 'Last Tango In Paris,' while Brooks was a winner of the DGA award for his only other feature film, 'Terms of Endearment,' in 1983.
Both Hallstrom and Lyne are first-time DGA nominees.
The guild also announced winners of three special DGA awards.
Robert Wise was given the D.W. Griffith award for outstanding achievement and lifetime contribution to film.
Wise, who directed such films as 'The Sound of Music' and 'West Side Story,' winning Oscars for both, is the first director to win all three guild honorary awards.
He won the other DGA awards -- the Robert Aldrich award for extraordinary service to the guild and the Honorary Life Member award - in previous years.
Sheldon Leonard won this year's Robert Aldrich Award and Michael H. Franklin was voted an Honorary Life member award for his contributions to the DGA.
Leonard is best-known as the executive producer of several television series in the 1950s and 1960s, including the 'Danny Thomas Show,' the 'Andy Griffith Show' and the popular 'I Spy' comedy-drama that co-starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby.
The selection of Franklin, a labor attorney, for the honorary life member award marked a departure for the DGA, which has in the past given the award exclusively to active directors. Franklin is a former executive director of the DGA.