This category is a curious one. Neither Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), nor Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) were nominated in this category, cutting out three of the front runners which have been noted in the other award shows. This year will be an interesting one. Although I don’t think Bigelow should have been nominated, I do think Affleck and Tarantino have been majorly snubbed. If those two were nominated like I wish they would have been I would immediately put Affleck as the winner with Tarantino next.
As Affleck is not nominated, Spielberg seems to be the obvious choice for winner. Spielberg has not won in fifteen years so the Academy has had enough time to give him another award and it’s a movie about President Lincoln which will be a big pull. Although I would love to see first time nominee Benh Zeitlin win for his incredible Beasts of the Southern Wild, it is not likely. The two nominees with the best chance of beating Spielberg are probably David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Ang Lee (Life of Pi) but their biggest problem is that Spielberg is nominated against them.
- Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) provides his usual flare without overdoing it, and he’s always a front runner when he’s nominated. He hasn’t won in fifteen years, so there is a good chance he’ll win again. He has won two of the six Best Director Oscar’s he has been nominated for, most recently Saving Private Ryan in 1998.
- Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) created such an interesting, melancholic world dealing with disaster. The Academy definitely seems willing to honor the new directors and I would love to see him win. This is Zeitlin’s first nomination.
- Ang Lee (Life of Pi) made a movie I didn’t expect to like but discovered that I loved. The way everything was put to screen was magnificent. I had been very concerned that the emotion wouldn’t come across to audiences in this format but with Lee undertaking this project it was in good hands. This is Lee’s third nomination which he has won once before in 2005 for Brokeback Mountain.
- David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) is a wonderful, honest story. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but it is a comedy (no matter how much I’d like to disagree with that) and comedy hasn’t won in decades. This is Russell’s second nomination.
- Michael Haneke (Amour) is the story of a couple in their eighties and the problems they face. It is also nominated for Best Foreign Film and Best Picture. This is Haneke’s first nomination for Best Director and his second film in the Oscars.