The Contenders

Andrew Dominik
(Killing Th..)

Ang Lee
(Life of Pi)

Ben Affleck

Ben Lewin
(The Sessio..)

Benh Zeitlin
(Beasts of ..)

Christopher Nol
(The Dark K..)

David Ayer
(End of Wat..)

David Chase
(Not Fade A..)

David O. Russel
(Silver Lin..)

Dustin Hoffman

Gary Ross
(The Hunger..)

Gus Van Sant
(Promised L..)

Jacques Audiard
(Rust and B..)

Joe Wright
(Anna Karen..)

John Madden
(Best Exoti..)

Juan Antonio Ba
(The Imposs..)

Kathryn Bigelow
(Zero Dark ..)

Michael Haneke

Mike Newell
(Great Expe..)

Oliver Stone

Paul Andrew Wil

Paul Thomas And
(The Master)

Peter Jackson
(The Hobbit..)

Quentin Taranti
(Django Unc..)

Rian Johnson

Robert Redford
(The Compan..)

Robert Zemeckis

Roger Michell
(Hyde Park ..)

Sacha Gervasi

Sarah Polley
(Take This ..)

Steven Spielber

Tom Hooper
(Les Misera..)

Tom Tykwer and
(Cloud Atla..)

Wayne Blair
(The Sapphi..)

Wes Anderson
(Moonrise K..)

Two of last year' Best Director nominees at the Oscars -- past champ Woody Allen ("To Rome with Love") and Terence Malick ("To the Wonder") -- have films in contention this year.

Previous winners of this race looking for another trophy include Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Tom Hooper ("Les Miserables"), Peter Jackson ("The Hobbit"), Ang Lee ("Life of Pi"), Sam Mendes ("Skyfall"), Robert Redford ("The Company You Keep"), Steven Soderbergh ("Magic Mike"), Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"), Oliver Stone ("Savages") and Robert Zemeckis ("Flight").

A number of notable past nominees hoping to finally prevail include Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master"), Lee Daniels ("The Paperboy"), Stephen Frears ("Lay the Favorite") and David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook").

Screenwriting champs Ben Affleck ("Argo") and Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained") are also hoping to contend as are scripting nominees Wes Anderson ("Moonrise Kingdom"), Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight Rises") and Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games"). 

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