Bradley Cooper

First-time director Bradley Cooper and Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron on Tuesday topped the list of nominees for the Directors Guild of America award — a strong indicator of Oscar hopes.

Cooper was nominated for the popular music romance reboot ‘A Star Is Born’ — the story of an aging rocker who discovers a struggling singer-songwriter and propels her to stardom.

But Cuaron will be a tough competitor, after winning best director honours at the Golden Globes for ‘Roma,’ his ode to his own childhood in 1970s Mexico City. It is his second Directors Guild of America nomination after winning for ‘Gravity.’

Both ‘Star’ and ‘Roma’ are seen as top contenders for Academy Awards glory on February 24. At the Globes on Sunday, ‘Roma’ also scooped up the award for best foreign language film, while ‘Star’ was largely shut out, only winning for best original song.

Rounding out the Directors Guild of America field for outstanding achievement in feature film directing are the veteran Spike Lee for ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ Peter Farrelly for ‘Green Book’ and Adam McKay for Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice.’

“Each of these directors has demonstrated an exceptional command of the medium, creating excellence for the screen,” said Directors Guild of America president Thomas Schlamme in announcing the nominees.

The Directors Guild of America awards are to be handed out on February 2. The Directors Guild of America short list is considered a Oscars bellwether.

Last year’s Directors Guild of America winner, Guillermo del Toro, went on to win the same prize at the Oscars and the film took best picture honours. The Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 22.