Last year, newcomer Tom Hooper won Best Director for “The King’s Speech against several Hollywood heavyweights. This year, Michel Hazanavicius looks set to do the same for “The Artist,” a stylized black-and-white silent film that he also wrote and co-edited. He won the DGA award which is a strong precursor for this prize. In addition, he won over the BFCA, the NYFCC and BAFTA.
Martin Scorsese racked up five bids in this race before winning in 2006 for helming Best Picture champ “The Departed.” His current contender, “Hugo” is certainly a departure for him — his first family film and his first 3D film. Though family fare doesn’t do well at the Oscars, his award-winning pedigree (he won the Golden Globe), could make him the exception.
Alexander Payne also contends for co-writing and co-producing Best Picture nominee “The Descendants.” HIs last film, “Sideways,” earned him his first directing bid and he shared in the Adapted Screenplay win with Jim Taylor. They also contended in that race for “Election” (1999).
Woody Allen won this race in 1977 for helming Best Picture champ “Annie Hall.” Since then he has contended another six times. Besides his directing bid, he also picked up his record 15th Original Screenplay nomination for penning the Best Picture nominee Midnight in Paris.”
Terrence Malick has only directed five films but has contended twice in this category — first for “The Thin Red Line” in 1998 and now for “The Tree of Life.” This non-linear film about family bonds and the birth of the universe won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes filmfest and contends for Best Picture.
Click on the pundits below to see a breakdown of their rankings in this race.
Click on each of the categories below for the overview of that race.