Scorsese leads Directors Guild of America nominees. The ''Gangs of New York'' director is the leading contender for a prize that often predicts the eventual Oscar winner

By Gary Susman
Updated January 22, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Martin Scorsese won the first Golden Globe of his career Sunday for ”Gangs of New York,” and now he may win his first-ever Directors Guild of America award and his first Oscar as well. He was one of five nominees for the DGA’s prize in a list released Tuesday; the others are Stephen Daldry (”The Hours”), Peter Jackson (”The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”), Rob Marshall (”Chicago”), and Roman Polanski (”The Pianist”), but Scorsese has the edge, since the DGA has already announced it’s giving him its lifetime achievement award.

The DGA award has been a strong predictor of who will win the Oscar for Best Director; its honoree has gone on to win the Academy Award 49 out of 54 times. Plus, since the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars often go to the same film, the DGA winner could ultimately predict the Academy Award for Best Picture. None of this year’s nominees has ever won the DGA award. That will change with the Guild’s awards dinner, to be held March 1 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.