Last weekend, the Directors Guild of America held its annual awards, and the top prize for directorial achievement in feature film went to Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. Now, as a result of that and the Golden Globe win for best director, it appears he could also be a lock for the Academy Award.
That will probably make a lot of people happy, as Gravity is the highest grossing of the movies whose directors are up for the Oscar. And some fans may see this as a general win for the man who made such diverse favorites as Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And although he's been nominated in the past for editing and writing, this is his first nod for directing.
But it's also the first time for Steve McQueen, another highly respected director whose movie 12 Years a Slave is one of the front-runners for Best Picture. He is kind of the newest on the scene, and the youngest, though not by too much, and it's very likely he'll have another shot down the road. Let's not forget that current nominee Martin Scorsese (for The Wolf of Wall Street) didn't win until The Departed.
Nebraska's Alexander Payne, who has won two Oscars for writing, is going for his third attempt at a Best Director award to put on the shelf beside them. But he has the worst odds to win this year, so maybe another time.
Finally, there's David O. Russell. His movie American Hustle is another front-runner for Best Picture and this is his third attempt at the honor as well. As a filmmaker who is on track to one day match Scorsese's living record for number of actors he's directed to Oscar nominations, he's deserving of the recognition.
If Russell is Cuaron's greatest challenger for the Academy Award, that's a very interesting match between someone with distinction for technical directorial achievement and someone with a performance-driven achievement. Maybe it should be a tie.
This week we polled users on Twitter to see who they thought should win the Oscar for Best Director this year. Below are the results followed by a couple select tweets.
Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity): 4
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave): 1
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street): 1
David O. Russell (American Hustle): 0
Alexander Payne (Nebraska): 0