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Who's up for the Best Director Oscar

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Todd Haynes
Todd Haynes: Abbot Genser

Who’s up for the Best Director Oscar

Sad but true: MARTIN SCORSESE has never won an Academy Award, even though he’s been nominated three times for directing. But 2003 could be the year the filmmaker gets his due for his lavish ”Gangs of New York.” With ”The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” PETER JACKSON should score his second nod in a row. Likewise, ”The Hours”’ STEPHEN DALDRY, who earned a nomination for his debut feature, 2000’s ”Billy Elliot.” And since new directors often find their way into the race, ”Chicago”’s ROB MARSHALL should see his stylized work recognized too.

As for the fifth slot…”The Pianist” director ROMAN POLANSKI took home the prize from the National Society of Film Critics, but his criminal past may hit a sour note. ”About Schmidt”’s ALEXANDER PAYNE and ”Adaptation”’s SPIKE JONZE won Golden Globe nods, though their films may be viewed more as achievements in writing. PEDRO ALMODÓVAR could win votes from members angry that ”Talk to Her” wasn’t submitted as Spain’s official foreign-language film entry. While SAM MENDES took home this award for his first film, ”American Beauty,” his ”Road to Perdition” seems to have faded. And though the Academy loves actors who direct, DENZEL WASHINGTON’s ”Antwone Fisher” might seem too syrupy. That leaves ”Far From Heaven”’s TODD HAYNES. We’d bet fellow filmmakers won’t be able to ignore perhaps the most lovingly directed movie of the year.