Pros and cons of Oscar's nominated directors
"The Hurt Locker"
Pro: It's hard to believe a woman has never won the director prize, and the Academy loves a chance to make history. Last month Bigelow became the first female to win the top honor from the DGA.
Con: A woman has never won best director; Golden Globes loss to James Cameron slowed momentum from critics awards.
Pro: The winner of the Globes director prize has won the Oscar 60% of the time, including each of the past six years.
Con: The DGA has accurately predicted the Oscar winner 90% of the time in the past 50 years, and they went with Bigelow. Cameron himself has said he's rooting for his ex.
Pro: Daniels would be the first black best director winner, a feat as historic as an Oscar for Bigelow.
Con: The only other black nominee, John Singleton (in 1992 for "Boyz 'N the Hood") did not win, and the Academy might choose to reward the film by singling out Mo'Nique's performance.
"Up in the Air"
Pro: Reitman directed a film almost everyone admired, so he could benefit from "Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" fatigue.
Con: His wins so far have been for screenplay (with Sheldon Turner), not directing. At 32, some still consider him a newbie.
Pro: Tarantino has never won a directing Oscar. He has broad support among actors, the Academy's largest branch, which helped the film win SAG's ensemble award.
Con: It's been 15 years since he won a screenplay Oscar for "Pulp Fiction." Voters again might give him a screenplay nod instead of director.