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.