- David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)Sometimes being the previous year's runner-up pays off in the end...just ask Colin Firth!
- Steven Spielberg (War Horse)Spielberg directing an emotional war movie...case closed.
- Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)He has the critics and Cannes on his side, that should be enough for the Academy.
- Stephen Daldry (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)He has an excellent track-record in this category (3/3) and considering the Oscar-friendly source material, for now there is no reason NOT to assume he will be back in the game once again...and since it will be his 4th time, he could even win!
- Clint Eastwood (J.Edgar)It's Eastwood, he is automatically in consideration, the stunning cast helps, too. For now he seems like a rather safe bet here.
- Martin Scorsese (Hugo Cabret)The pic looks definitely promising and he IS Scorsese. Having said that, the Academy did ignore Shutter Island...although the Oscar-friendly release date could make all the difference here.
- Roman Polanski (Carnage)Yes, he is a troubled, scandalous soul...but then again, he had been already a troubled, scandalous soul when the Academy awarded him in this category, so I don't see why a nomination couldn't happen now.
- Alexander Payne (The Descendants)He is an Academy-favourite, but the fact that they can also nominate him in the script category, might weaken his chances here.
- Jason Reitman (Young Adult)Voters LOVE him, he received two consecutive bp/bd nominations for dramedies although they usually don't go for those kind of films. Clearly he is doing something right so there is no reason to think the Academy wouldn't go for this one...we'll see.
- George Clooney (The Ides of March)
- David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method)He has been long-overdue, so hopefully his first nomination will happen this year.
- Andrea Arnold (Wuthering Heights)She did a wonderful job with Fish Tank, and she has outstanding source material this time around, so I could see her emerge as a stronger than expected contender.
- Phylidda Lloyd (The Iron Lady)Let me just say, I wasn't a fan of her previous film BUT I know she is a highly acclaimed theatre director, so I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that in the case of Mamma Mia!, it was the source material, not her incompetence. The Weinsteins will give it a big Awards-push, so if the film is any good, she could have a good shot at breaking the top5.
- David Yates (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II)I think a best picture nomination would be an excellent way of 'awarding' the franchise as a whole. A directing nod ? Highly unlikely, unless critics REALLY eat it up.
- Lynne Ramsay (We need to talk about Kevin)Cannes LOVED it, so she is definitely a viable contender. The rest will probably come down to campaign money, as terrible as it sounds.
- Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre)I think the film has a much better shot at a best picture nomination and that isn't such bad news for Fukunaga in the end.
- Lone Scherfig (One Day)Is she a one-trick-pony or not ? In August, we'll know the answer.
- Ralph Fiennes (Coriolanus)Early word from Berlin was very promising. Could he pull a 'Branagh' ?
- Mike Mills (Beginners)If Lisa Cholodenko didn't make it, neither will Mills. BUT critics love his film so a best picture nomination is definitely a possibility.
- Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn)Sounds more like an 'actors' film':
- J.J. Abrams (Super 8)The Academy isn't big on sci-fi-s, but every now and then they make an exception. Could this be it ?
- Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)The genre isn't exactly Academy-friendly, but it must be a really good film if DESPITE the genre, Cannes gave it the best director award. Could he be the 'breakthrough' director of the season ?
- Tomas Alfredson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)Let me in was great, so based on that, with a cast like this, it has a rather good shot at becoming a serious awards contender.
- Thomas McCarthy (Win Win)Too early, he still could get a script-nomination, though.
- Tate Taylor (The Help)I think the best scenario is a best picture nomination for this summer release. It would have to be BELOVED (75+ MC) by the critics AND audiences (100M+ DOM) to secure the director a place in the top5.
- Walter Salles (On the Road)For some reason, I don't see this film getting a 2011-release date. Salles is an excellent director, though (The Motorcycle Diaries, Centro do Brasil), so who knows, could this be the year of his first nomination? Landing a viable distributor will be crucial.
- Kelly Reichardt (Meek's Cutoff)Rave reviews indicate she could have a shot at this but the early release date and lack of Box Office hurt her chances considerably.
- Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)Early word is promising, but I'll wait for the official reviews this time, I still think it could go either way.
- Lars von Trier (Melancholia)Not that the Academy was a big fan of his work in the past, but his Cannes-antics pretty much sealed his fate in this year's Awards-season...unless the Academy wants controversy (=press). They rarely do...
- Paolo Sorrentino (This must be the place)Based on the first reviews, it sounds like a one-man-show...and that man is not Sorrentino.
- Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs)For Glenn Close's sake, I hope he directed an excellent film and she could finally get her long-overdue Oscar. If the film is THAT good, Garcia could emerge as a stronger than expected contender, but for now I would only dare to bet on Close.
- Steve McQueen (Shame)Hunger was great so I have great expectations here, hopefully the McQueen-Fassbender duo will once again wow us all. Carey Mulligan is definitely a nice touch.
- Fred Schepisi (The Eye of the Storm)The film is so ridiculously under the radar, that it's hard to imagine it could actually emerge as a bp-bd contender...although it isn't out of the realm of possibilities, it DOES feature three performances that could be golden.
- Tom Hanks (Larry Crowne)Common wisdom says it will be mediocre to good, probably not great. BUT even if it will be great AND becomes a hit, it could be still too 'light' for the Academy. Good news is that if it IS that great, they could still nominate him in the screenplay category.
- Geoffrey Fletcher (Violet and Daisy)Recent Oscar-winning screenwriters failed to make much impact with their directorial debuts (Dustin Lance Black's What's wrong with Virginia; William Monahan's London Boulevard), so it's up to Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious) to break that trend.
- Joe Wright (Hanna)He is one of my favourite directors, I firmly believe he should have been nominated for Pride and Prejudice AND Atonement. Well, he wasn't and this year, he won't be either, although his stylish, elegant and unique directing style once again won over critics and audiences alike. Good news ? His next film, Anna Karenina is quickly becoming one of the hottest contenders of 2012.
- Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible)The story and cast is extremely promising that's why the lack of buzz is even more frustrating.
- Andrew Niccol (In Time)If it will be anthying like Gattaca, he might just have a viable shot...although once again, the Academy could make him settle with a script nomination and that hurts his case here.
- Roland Emmerich (Anonymous)Hmm...I still can't get my head around it : Roland 'catastrophyfilm' Emmerich directing a period drama...
- Angelina Jolie (In the Land of Blood and Honey)We need some solid early word and decent festival-play. For what it's worth, it would be THE story of the season if this turned out good enough for her to land a nomination in either categories (director, screenplay).
- Chris Weitz (A Better Life)Early word is good, but the film seems too small to survive the long precursor-season.
- Marc Forster (Machine Gun Preacher)He is a solid director, one who will probably get his nomination one day. But if it were for this film, there would be probably some buzz already...
- Istvan Szabo (The Door)He directed Being Julia, a remarkable film and remarkable acting showcase for Annette Bening...this time around Helen Mirren could wow us playing the incredibly baity Emerenc...we'll see how far that will take Szabo.
- Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)He is getting the best reviews of his carreer – ok, that might be an overstatement, but still, Midnight in Paris is so surprisingly well-received, that it wouldn't be a shock at all, if it got Allen back in the best director category.
- Cameron Crowe (We bought a Zoo)I'm torn : I pretty much hated his last two films (Elizabethtown, Vanilla Sky) but I LOVED everything he had done before those (Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous)...hopefully he will be back to his former glory and won't continue to disappoint.
- Steven Soderbergh (Contagion)Long story short : In my opinion, if Nolan didn't get in for a sci-fi (Inception), neither will Soderbergh.
- Bennett Miller (Moneyball)He got in for Capote and he could easily get in with this, as well, it just sounds SO conventional on paper...but then again, when it comes to the Academy, 'conventional' is not necessarily a bad thing...
- Pedro Almódovar (The Skin I live in)Cannes liked it but they didn't love it, making it another 'Broken Embraces' : good film but definitely not his best, not even close, so they'll ignore it. UNLESS US-critics fall in love with it and it becomes a BO-hit...last year the audience went for Black Swan, they might just go for this one, as well.
- Lasse Hallström (Salmon Fishin in Yemen)It has been a while...and the lack of buzz doesn't bode well for him this year, either.
- Bruce Beresford (Peace, Love and Misunderstanding)Ditto.
OUT (for now)
Jim Sheridan (Dream House)
William Friedkin (Killer Joe)
Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
William Friedkin (Killer Joe)
Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Jonathan Levine (50 / 50)
John Hillcoat (The Wettest County in the World)
John Madden (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)