LOS ANGELES -- Nominees for the Directors Guild award, normally a precursor of who will win the Oscar for best director, were announced Wednesday with actor-filmmaker Kevin Costner heading the list.
Besides Costner, who was nominated for the epic Western 'Dances With Wolves,' the nominees are: Francis Ford Coppola, 'The Godfather, Part III'; Martin Scorsese, 'GoodFellas'; Barry Levinson, 'Avalon'; and Guiseppe Tornatore for 'Cinema Paradiso.'
The winner will be announced March 16 at the Directors Guild of America's 43rd annual awards dinner.
Since 1949, only three directors have won the guild award and not gone on to win the Oscar for best director. The 63rd annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held March 25.
In addition to starring in 'Dances With Wolves,' Costner made his directing debut in the story of a Union officer who is assimilated into a tribe of Sioux in the Northwest frontier.
Coppola was honored for his return to 'The Godfather' saga after a 16-year hiatus, this time directing Al Pacino as the aging don and Andy Garcia as the rising gangster.
The Mafia also was the focal point of Scorsese's 'GoodFellas,' based on Nicholas Pileggi's book 'Wiseguys' and starring Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta.
Barry Levinson was nominated for 'Avalon,' an epic about several generations of Jewish immigrants set in Baltimore.
The DGA nomination was Tornatore's first, but his 'Cinema Paradiso' will not be eligbile for the Oscar since it won the Academy Award for best foreign film last year.
The movie, set mostly in a small Sicilian coastal village in the 1940s and 1950s, is about a movie-mad provincial youth who is befriended by a projectionist.
The DGA nomination was Coppola's fifth. He won awards for both 'The Godfather' and 'The Godfather, Part II.'
It was Scorsese's third nomination. He was previously nominated for 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull.
Levinson was previously nominated for 'Rain Man,' for which won the DGA award.