"The Dark Knight" has landed a Directors Guild of America nomination for filmmaker Christopher Nolan.
The guild's best-director nominees today also included Danny Boyle for the rags-to-riches tale "Slumdog Millionaire," David Fincher for the romantic fantasy "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Ron Howard for the Richard Nixon saga "Frost/Nixon" and Gus Van Sant for the Harvey Milk film biography "Milk."
The nomination gives a potential Oscar lift for "The Dark Knight." Comic-book action tales generally compete only in technical categories during Hollywood's awards season, but the wildly successful Batman sequel has been gaining momentum for key prizes at the Oscars.
A day earlier, Nolan earned a screenplay nomination from the Writers Guild of America for co-writing "The Dark Knight."
The film received just a single nomination for Sunday's Golden Globes, a supporting-actor slot for the late Heath Ledger, who dazzled audiences with his diabolical turn as the villainous Joker.
Ledger is a likely contender for the same prize at the Oscars, whose nominations come out Jan. 22, the one-year anniversary of the actor's death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
Nolan's nominations from the directing and writing guilds solidify the film's prospects in those Oscar categories, too. As one of the year's best-reviewed films, "The Dark Knight" also could end up a rare action flick that makes the best-picture cut.
The Directors Guild lineup was a mix of veteran nominees and first-timers. Howard has three previous nominations, for 1985's "Cocoon," 1995's "Apollo 13" and 2001's "A Beautiful Mind." He won the guild award for the latter two.
Nolan previously was nominated for 2001's "Memento," while Van Sant was in the running for 1997's "Good Will Hunting."
Boyle and Fincher are first-time film nominees, though Fincher is a past Directors Guild winner for commercial directing.
Two-time Directors Guild winner Clint Eastwood missed out on a nomination this time. Eastwood had two films out in 2008, "Changeling" and "Gran Torino."