It looks like this year may be a duke out between former spouses Katheryn Bigelow and James Cameron, as both are slowly becoming locks for the prize. After that there are strong contenders sneaking up on them. Jason Reitman snuck into the category two years ago for Juno, and Up in the Air is not only a lock for a nomination, but is currently in the lead for the top prize, so he's in. Then there are two spots that are not so certain. I personally think Lee Daniels has a great shot, but Precious is more of an actor's vehicle than a director's, so he's vulnerable. The fifth spot right now is a toss up. Normally, Clint Eastwood would be a lock, but Invictus buzz is quiet, and last year is proof that maybe the "Cult of Clint" is fading. So I think, right now, at least that the huge buzz that is growing for Inglorious Basterds means that Quentin Tarantino could get into the big leagues, at least I hope. To Recap:
Kathryn Bigelow "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron "Avatar"
Lee Daniels "Precious"
Jason Reitman "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino "Inglorious Basterds"