The Hurt Locker
Up in the Air
History is certainly on Kathryn Bigelow’s side: In 55 out of 61 years, the winner of the Directors Guild award has gone on to claim the Oscar as well. So having picked up that prize in January, the Hurt Locker helmer, who guided her cast and crew with precision and resolve, is the clear favorite to become the first female winner ever in this category. Lee Daniels also made history, becoming only the second African-American directing nominee (after Boyz N the Hood‘s John Singleton in 1992) for his bold and sensitive drama Precious. The other three contenders are all past nominees or winners: Up in the Air upstart Jason Reitman landed his second nod in three years (after Juno), while Inglourious Basterds‘ Quentin Tarantino has finally scored his first recognition since his revolutionary Pulp Fiction 15 years ago. Bigelow’s toughest competition is likely her own ex-husband, Avatar‘s James Cameron, who won this trophy (and a couple others) in 1998 for Titanic but may find himself stuck in his seat this time around.