Best Director — Motion Picture
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Certainties: Again, lots of them. Affleck, Bigelow, Spielberg. All locks. They’re in at the Oscars, no doubt about it. Same for Ang Lee – the success of Life of Pi is universally recognized among directors as a monumental filmmaking achievement.
Surprises: Quentin Tarantino, which isn’t really much of a surprise. The guy’s one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation. The only thing that ever makes his inclusion a question is that he pushes the envelope so hard. Sometimes being ahead of your time means you don’t get always get recognized. (Come on, which seems like the best picture of 1994 now – Forrest Gump or Pulp Fiction?) I still wonder if Django might be a little too over-the-top for Academy members, but maybe they’re not as stuffy as we think.
Snubs: Uh-oh, where is Tom Hooper from Les Miserables? His absence is a bad sign. But in a year with so many great films, there are a lot of filmmakers who could have ranked on this list, but didn’t. Silver Linings Playbook’s David O. Russell is another. But Hooper… that’s worrying. Reviews for the movie havebeen somewhat harsh. If he doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, that’s means Les Miserables is vulnerable.
NEXT PAGE — Winners, losers, shocks: Best Screenplay