For the first time in probably, well, ever, the Best Director category has a real shot at featuring two female nominees. It goes without saying how much that would mean, but it's early days and let's not get ahead of ourselves, all of that.
However, in a year that has been roundly considered thin for awards players, the director category features some of our most celebrated auteurs. There are personal films and farcical romps and historical dramas, each of them with a vision unique to the filmmaker. “Selma” is the Martin Luther King movie only Ava DuVernay would make. “Gone Girl” was adapted and captured in a way only David Fincher could have envisioned. “American Sniper” is SUCH a Clint Eastwood movie. Etc.
So with all that in mind, we've put our heads together on the top-contending helmers angling for consideration in this year's Best Director Oscar race. But the branch has had some surprises up its sleeves in years past. Will there be any shockers in this category on Jan. 15?
Click through the gallery story below to see what we're thinking and give us your thoughts in the comments section. Also, pick your current predictions in our poll.