1. Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker (lock)
2. James Cameron - Avatar (lock)
3. Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds (lock)
4. Jason Reitman - Up in the Air (lock)
5. Lee Daniels - Precious (shaky)
Clint Eastwood - Invitcus (obviously), The Coen Brothers - A Serious Man, Michael Haneke - The White Ribbon
For weeks now, I've been saying that Lee Daniels isn't going to get a best director nomination for Precious. That was more due to reverse wishful thinking than anything else. I was just trying to soften the blow when Clint Eastwood gets his slot. That NBR best director win for Invictus is most troubling. I then reminded myself that the NBR winner for best director often fails to even get an Oscar nod. Plus, the NBR gave Eastwood a best actor prize for Gran Torino, which proves that they're not playing with a full deck where he's concerned. Thankfully, buzz for the Mandela flick has cooled considerably in the last few weeks, so I think Daniels slides in by the skin of his teeth to become only the second black director to land a nod. I have Eastwood as the first alternate, but in actuality, I think that if there's a surprise, it'll be the Coens or Michael Haneke, both of whom have films that boast a rabid fanbase that Invictus simply cannot claim.