“The Birth of Nation” director Nate Parker has received his first major awards recognition from the Directors Guild of America with a nomination for top first-time director.
The DGA also nominated Garth Davis for “Lion” on Thursday for its first-time director award along with Tim Miller for “Deadpool,” Kelly Fremon Craig for “Edge of Seventeen,” and Dan Trachtenberg for “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Alex Garland won the inaugural first-time director award last year for “Ex Machina.”
The winners will be announced at 69th Annual DGA Awards on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Parker had been expected to be a key element in the current awards season after “The Birth of a Nation” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and won Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. “Birth of a Nation” was sold to Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million.
But controversy hit Parker in August as details emerged over a 1999 case in which Parker and his friend, Jean Celestin, were charged with raping an 18-year old, who claimed she was unconscious after drinking heavily. Parker was acquitted of the rape charges in 2001, but Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault.
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SOURCE: Variety – Dave McNary