Over the weekend, the nominees for the European Film Awards were announced, and the film receiving the most nominations, in a surprise, was Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan. Meanwhile, Mike Leigh’s highly-touted upcoming drama Another Year received only two nominations, while the acclaimed Italian film I Am Love (starring Tilda Swinton) was completely shut out. But it’s the seven nods for The Ghost Writer that are making me wonder if Polanski (who shocked many when he beat Gangs of New York‘s Martin Scorsese and Chicago‘s Rob Marshall for Best Director in 2003 for The Pianist) could be a dark horse contender this year as well. Oftentimes the directors branch does reserve one slot for a left-field, often non-American candidate (like Fernando Meirelles for City of God, or Mike Leigh for Vera Drake) whose film isn’t exactly a front-runner for Best Picture. This year’s there’s also Leigh and The Way Back‘s Peter Weir, but if the directors think outside the box, they could feasibly go for Polanski.

While The Pianist was a December release, however, The Ghost Writer came out all the way back in March, so many voters may have forgotten about it already (if they even saw it in the first place). Awards DVDs will help the film’s case—but it remains to be seen if the Academy will want to open the Pandora’s box of recognizing perhaps today’s most controversial filmmaker yet again.