OSCARS 2012 NOMINATIONS : Best Director

The Contenders

Ang Lee
(Life of Pi)

Ben Affleck

Ben Lewin
(The Sessio..)

Benh Zeitlin
(Beasts of ..)

Christopher Nol
(The Dark K..)

David Chase
(Not Fade A..)

David O. Russel
(Silver Lin..)

Dustin Hoffman

Gus Van Sant
(Promised L..)

Joe Wright
(Anna Karen..)

John Madden
(Best Exoti..)

Juan Antonio Ba
(The Imposs..)

Judd Apatow
(This is 40)

Kathryn Bigelow
(Zero Dark ..)

Michael Haneke

Paul Thomas And
(The Master)

Peter Jackson
(The Hobbit..)

Quentin Taranti
(Django Unc..)

Robert Zemeckis

Sacha Gervasi

Sam Mendes

Steven Soderber
(Magic Mike)

Steven Spielber

Tom Hooper
(Les Misera..)

Tom Tykwer and
(Cloud Atla..)

Wes Anderson
(Moonrise K..)
Best Director

In the Oscars race for Best Director, Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") has pulled ahead of Ben Affleck ("Argo"), who dominated the category earlier this derby season. (See latest odds here)

The Oscars have a long tradition of rewarding actors who turn to helming, beginning with Robert Redford for "Ordinary People" in 1980 and Warren Beatty the following year for "Reds." Since then, Kevin Costner ("Dances with Wolves," 1990) and Mel Gibson ("Braveheart," 1995) have also prevailed. 

However, Spielberg has a long history with the motion picture academy, including victories for "Schindler's List" (1993) and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998). Now that "Lincoln" is out front for Best Picture, according to the Experts polled by Gold Derby, Spielberg could go along for the Oscar ride.

Both Spielberg and Affleck were nominated by the Directors Guild of America as were three past Oscar winners:

2010 champ Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech") brings the 1987 Tony-winning "Les Miserables" to the big screen.

Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Oscar for helming 2009 Best Picture winner "The Hurt Locker," returns with another war picture "Zero Dark Thirty," which focuses on the decade-long quest for Osama Bin Laden

And 2005 Oscar champ Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain") brings Yann Martel's bestseller "Life of Pi" to the screen as a lush 3-D epic.

Also in the mix: David O. Russell for his charming romantic comedy-drama "Silver Linings Playbook" andtTwo-time nominee Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained") who is overdue to win.

Experts’ Rankings
Thelma Adams
Matt Atchity
Edward Douglas
Kathryn Bigelow
Ben Affleck
Steven Spielberg
Ben Affleck
Steven Spielberg
Kathryn Bigelow
Steven Spielberg
Kathryn Bigelow
Ben Affleck
Editors’ Rankings
Chris Beachum
Marcus James Dixon
Rob Licuria
Kathryn Bigelow
Tom Hooper
Kathryn Bigelow
Steven Spielberg
Kathryn Bigelow
Steven Spielberg
Ang Lee
Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
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