Few were surprised when three-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston last year landed multiple SAG nominations and won two awards: one for his starring role on AMC’s Breaking Bad and one as a cast member of Argo. But it was surprising to see the actor today emerge as the most nominated director in DGA Awards’ TV categories with two noms, one for the 5A season premiere of Breaking Bad and one for “The Old Man & The Tree” episode of Modern Family. Cranston landed his first DGA nom last year and went 2-for-2 today, landing nominations for everything he directed in 2013 — not bad for a side career. He will have some stiff competition in both the drama and comedy series categories, including on the drama side from his boss, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, nominated for Breaking Bad‘s series finale, and A-list film and TV directors David Fincher (House Of Cards), David Nutter (Game Of Thrones) and Lesli Linka Glater (Homeland).
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On the comedy side, Cranston will try to break some great momentum for female directors, with women — Lena Dunham (for Girls) and Gail Mancuso (for Modern Family) — reigning DGA and Emmy winners for the first time ever. Mancuso also is nominated for a DGA Award for a different Modern Family episode than the one that earned her an Emmy. She is joined by SNL veteran Beth McCarthy-Miller who, like Cranston, earned two nominations today — one in the comedy series category for 30 Rock‘s hourlong series finale and one for NBC’s hugely successful The Sound Of Music live musical special, shared with Broadway director Rob Ashford. (Also nominated for comedy series directing are Mark Cendrowski and Anthony Rich for The Big Bang Theory). As expected, the longform TV category is dominated by feature names including Steven Soderbergh, Emmy winner for HBO’s Behind The Candelabra; David Mamet (HBO’s Phil Spector); and Stephen Frears (HBO’s Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight). They will face McCarthy-Miller/Ashford and Nelson McCormick (Nat Geo’s Killing Kennedy).