Oscar Watch: Director contenders

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Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle
"Slumdog Millionaire"
Pros: As late as August, Boyle thought his movie was going direct-to-DVD. That rags-to-riches story should be enough to win over the Academy, as it did the DGA.
Cons: Boyle has never been nominated before, nor have his pre-"Slumdog" films drawn much Academy attention.

Stephen Daldry
"The Reader"
Pros: Three films, three best director nominations. Not bad for a theater guy. And never underestimate producer Harvey Weinstein's ability to win Oscars for his talent.
Cons: Daldry has never won. And the film is perceived to have snagged the "fifth slot" in the picture and director categories, making it a long shot.


Stephen Daldry
 


David Fincher
David Fincher
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Pros: "Button's" scope and visuals (and length) feel like an Oscar movie, and it leads with 13 noms. Fincher has wide respect in the Academy's technical branches.
Cons: He's never been nominated before. And some voters haven't felt an emotional connection to the film as they have to some other contenders.

Ron Howard
"Frost/Nixon"
Pros: The only nominee who has won before (for 2001's "A Beautiful Mind"), Howard is one of the best-liked figures in the business.
Cons: "Frost/Nixon" was praised more for its acting showcases than its direction. And its disappointing boxoffice might work against Howard.


Ron Howard
 


Gus Van Sant
Gus Van Sant
"Milk"
Pros: A respected vet, Van Sant was nominated once before for 1997's "Good Will Hunting. "Milk's" timely social message could help his cause with the Academy.
Cons: The DGA picked Boyle. And Sean Penn's performance has garnered most of the awards attention.

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