Paul Thomas Anderson "The Master"
Kathryn Bigelow "Zero Dark Thirty"
Peter Jackson "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
Steven Spielberg "Lincoln"
Quentin Tarantino "Django Unchained"
Other Contenders - Terrence Malick "Untitled Terrence Malick Project", Woody Allen "From Rome With Love", Ang Lee "Life of Pi", Christopher Nolan "The Dark Knight Rises", Tom Hooper "Les Miserables", Baz Luhrmann "The Great Gatsby", Ben Lewin "The Surrogate", Ben Affleck "Argo", Joe Wright "Anna Karenina", Alfonso Cuaron "Gravity", Lee Daniels "The Paperboy", Benh Zeitlin "Beasts of the Southern Wild", Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski "Cloud Atlas", Joel and Ethan Coen "Inside Llewelyn Davis", Joel and Ethan Coen "Gambit", Walter Salles "On the Road", Wes Anderson "Moonrise Kingdom", David O. Russell "The Silver Linings Playbook", Mark Andrew and Brenda Chapman "Brave", Nicholas Winding Refn "Only God Forgives"
Commentary - A lot of big names returning to the including two from last year's nominees, Terrence Malick and Woody Allen. Both of their movies are risky and could go either way, so I am holding off on repeat nominations for now. Probably the biggest contender is Steven Spielberg, while War Horse didn't get him another nod, I feel Lincoln was always a stronger project (That he has been working on for years), and has more potential to be an even bigger Oscar Contender. Two recent winners, Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper return to the race. I am going to go ahead with Bigelow, because of the bait behind the project, and leave Hooper off, because, as I have said numerous times, I am nervous about Les Miserables. Former nominee Quentin Tarantino returns, and honestly, he can be hit and miss with the Academy. Sometimes they reward his films handsomely (Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds), and sometimes they completely ignore them (the Kill Bills), no matter their quality. But I think Django Unchained looks awesome, along the liens of Inglourious Basterds, and could get him in the nomination circle again. I am also going with Peter Jackson. While many pundits are doubting The Hobbit (and have good reason to), I think that if it even has half of the lingering Lord of the Rings magic, then the industry will swoon over it, and reward Jackson once again. Finally, Paul Thomas Anderson was close to wins with There Will Be Blood and The Master looks fantasic, so add him to the list.