The directing branch of the Academy will probably throw in a wildcard. This year that could be someone like Spike Jonze, Ryan Coogler, Jean-Marc Vallee, or even previous winners who have projects not on the guild's top tier like Woody Allen or the Coens. For now, I am sticking with the safe bets in director. I think that 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Nebraska, Captain Phillips, and American Hustle are the top five films in the race right now. So my directors predictions for both DGA and Oscar are:
David O. Russell "American Hustle"
Paul Greengrass "Captain Phillips"
Alfonso Cuaron "Gravity"
Alexander Payne "Nebraska"
Steve McQueen "12 Years a Slave"
But right on the outside are folks like the ones mentioned above, and particularly Martin Scorsese. I know I am crazy not to include such a legend, but in the populist DGA I wonder if the excess of Wolf of Wall Street will be too much. If he does get in it will be over Greengrass or Payne. Also look out for John Lee Hancock, John Wells, Lee Daniels, and Richard Linklater. The nominations will be announced sometime tomorrow, I will probably post them tomorrow evening after work.