Greta Gerwig "Little Women"
Marielle Heller "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"
Sam Mendes "1917"
Martin Scorsese "The Irishman"
Quentin Tarantino "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
Other Contenders - James Gray "Ad Astra", Benh Zeitlin "Wendy", Steven Soderbergh "The Laundromat", Lulu Wang "The Farewell", Kasi Lemmons "Harriet", Terrence Malick "A Hidden Life", John Crowley "The Goldfinch", Michael Engler "Downton Abbey", Joon-ho Bong "Parasite", Noah Baumbach "Marriage Story", James Mangold "Ford v. Ferrari", Taika Wahiti "Jojo Rabbit", Scott Z. Burns "The Report", Fernando Meirelles "The Two Popes", Edward Norton "Motherless Brooklyn", Chinoye Chukwu "Clemency", Olivia Wilde "Booksmart", Todd Haynes "Untitled Todd Haynes Project", Rian Johnson "Knives Out", Jordan Peele "Us", Ari Aster "Midsomnar", Todd Phillips "Joker", Melina Matsoukas "Queen & Slim", J.J. Abrams "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker", Jay Roach "Bombshell", Tom Hooper "Cats", David Michod "The King", Bill Condon "The Good Liar", Craig Brewer "Dolemite is My Name", Noah Hawley "Lucy in the Sky", Ang Lee "Gemini Man", Robert Eggers "The Lighthouse", Dexter Fletcher "Rocketman"
Commentary - This could end up being a heavy hitter director's lineup. Quentin Tarantino is already a contender for Hollywood, and Martin Scorsese could return for his highly anticipated The Irishman. Throw in former winner Sam Mendes for his war epic 1917, and Greta Gerwig tackling Little Women, and you might have a race for the ages. I do think one newcomer will breakthrough, they almost always do. I think that after going 2 for 2 with great films, that Marielle Heller will make the cut for her upcoming Mr. Rogers' biopic, which looks like Oscar gold. This race is not sewn up though. There are plenty of former winners and nominees waiting in the wings such as Zeitlin, Soderbergh, Malick, Meirelles, Peele, Hooper, Condon, and Lee. There are a whole host of fantastic female directors hoping to make the cut including Wang, Lemmons, Wilde, and Matsoukas. Then there is a long list of well-known directors, first-timers, and veterans all hoping for their first nomination in this category like Gray, Crowley, Engler, Bong, Burns, Norton, Haynes, Johnson, Aster, Phillips, Roach, Abrams, Michod, Hawley, Eggers, Fletcher, Wahiti, Baumbach, and Mangold. This race is far from over.