War Horse is all but finished as a Best Picture contender. This was confirmed this morning, I believe, when the Directors Guild of America stood up like persons of principle and backbone and declined to nominate Steven Spielberg for Best Director. That’s it, game over, throw in the towel.

“The biggest snub on today’s list has to be Steven Spielberg who was overlooked for Dreamworks’ War Horse, an expected Oscar power player that may be slipping back in the pack a bit during the crucial stretch run,” Deadline‘s Pete Hammond wrote a few minutes ago. “Spielberg’s ommission is a crushing blow.”

At the same time there’s something seriously corroded and rotten in the minds of DGA members when they decide to nominate The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius for delivering an emotionally simplistic and second-hand silver bauble, and at the same time deny a Best Director nomination to Moneyball‘s Bennett Miller and The Tree of Life‘s Terrence Malick. Ludicrous!

I don’t know about the DGA eligibility rules, but in any kind of fair and just universe A Separation‘s Asghar Farhadi would easily warrant a nomination…easily!

The nominees are Midnight in Paris‘s Woody Allen, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo‘s David Fincher, Hazanavicius, The DescendantsAlexander Payne, and Hugo‘s Martin Scorsese (great overspending, Marty!…and good on that 127-minute length!)

I suspect that the Fincher nom is basically an admission of guilt and regret by DGA members for their having given their Best Director award last year to The King’s Speech‘s Tom Hooper instead of to Fincher for The Social Network. They know that was a ludicrous call, and they feel badly about it, and they want Fincher to know that they’re sorry.

The DGA winners will be named at the 64th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, 1.28,12, at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.