The film nominees for the 65th annual awards ceremony were announced earlier today (January 8).
Affleck, who directed and starred in the political drama Argo last year, will be competing against Lincoln's Spielberg, Life of Pi's Ang Lee, Les Misérables' Tom Hooper and Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow for the top prize in 'Outstanding Directing'.
The 40-year-old actor-director Affleck is a first-time nominee for the award, which was won by Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist in 2012, and is the only one of this year's contenders not to have already won it.
This is Spielberg's 11th nomination in the category, which he has won three times, and Bigelow's second nod, having won in 2009 for her work on The Hurt Locker.
Hooper was recognised for The King's Speech in 2010 and Lee has picked up the accolade twice for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain.
The Directors Guild of America Awards ceremony is set to take place in Hollywood on February 2.
Watch Ben Affleck discuss Argo with Digital Spy below: