Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
The amount of awards this terribly titled film is up for should be sinking in by now. Lee, the second black dude ever nominated by the Academy is a pretty far long shot to win, but there is a possibility that if Precious is closed out of everything else he sneaks in. Although it won't be closed out of Supporting Actress for sure. So, chances are unlikely.Chances of Winning: 1/5
Jason Reitman for Up in the Air (2009/I)
Reitman's got some history with his Juno (2007) nomination, and clearly has enough talent to be among Jim and Q here (if not more). He's not really established enough with the Academy to make a true splash, and his competition is a bit too daunting this year to make a good run. This will really be a battle between the next three powerhouses.
Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Q hasn't been acknowledged by the Academy for some time now, by Basterds is in every way his best film since Pulp Fiction (1994) and he's enough of an icon by now to win the close calls instead of losing them. I think it's going to be easier to give the film Supporting Actor for Chris Waltz and maybe screenplay instead of Director here. All three of these projects have been very long gestating ideas with an incredible amount of work poured into them. Of the three however, the next two should prove more significant. Read on:
Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)
It's incredible to me that a woman directed this movie. Not to say that women can't direct or anything, it's just that in particualr this is such a guy's movie. It's about three testosterone-loaded soldiers fighting and bonding in Iraq. And it's done really well! If that's not enough for Kathryn to win, the fact that she pulled off this excellent film in some of the harshest filming conditions in modern memory should give tremendous credit to her cause. At the end of the day, though, I don't believe she can beat Jim, which will be the greatest robbed director in the history of the world (Maybe not. What is it with the Academy loving Native American stories? Is it all Brando or what?).
James Cameron for AVABAR (2009)
He'll win, we'll all cry, end of story. AVABAR is pretty significant as essentially becoming the highest-ever grossing film in all the universe really solely on impressive visuals, continuous word of mouth, and the director. Jim sold this film. For this reason alone his achievement will be recognized by the Academy, along with his arduous task of creating such a blockbuster from scratch, creating new technology to fit his personal vision like no other director before him. That's right. His name fueled one of the greatest movie successes ever in an age where prior franchise knowledge is moreoften taken for granted. It really actually IS impressive, but c'mon. The film was fucking garbage.