Kathryn Bigelow (pictured), James Cameron, Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino will vie for the Directors Guild Of America’s (DGA) top prize.

The Outstanding Directorial Achievement In Feature Film For 2009 nominees are honoured for The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Precious, Up In The Air, and Inglourious Basterds, respectively.

“The DGA Award is especially meaningful to directors because it is decided solely by their peers – the men and women who have been in the same trenches and know exactly what goes into the crafting of a unique motion picture,” DGA president Taylor Hackford said.

“The five nominees for this year have each expressed an indelible vision that transported audiences to vivid vistas of cinematic art. My heartiest congratulations to all of the nominees.”

The DGA Award is traditionally a highly accurate barometer in terms of predicting who will win the best directing Oscar. Only six times since the DGA Awards began in 1948 has the feature film winner not gone on to win the corresponding Academy Award.

The last occasion was Rob Marshall in 2002, who won the DGA award for Chicago but lost out in the Oscar race to Roman Polanski for The Pianist.

The winner will be announced on 62nd Annual DGA awards dinner January 30 in Los Angeles.