Oscarthon: Best Director

1. Kathryn Bigelow (0 for 0) for The Hurt Locker

Budget: $11 Million
Biggest Handicap: 130-degree heat during filming.
Assistant Directors: 7

Bigelow looks to break the gender barrier for Directing this year, and it couldn't me more deserved- a brief shoot among refugees and sweltering conditions in Jordan and wonderful post-production resulted in a masterpiece. Bigelow's chops in blockbuster action proved the perfect ingredient to make people notice an Iraq-war film for seemingly the first time.

2. James Cameron (3 for 3) for Avatar

Budget: $237 Million
Biggest Handicap: Being a douche
Assistant Directors: 12

James Cameron certainly had the vision and chops to turn a years-long vision into Avatar, but I think we're all discounting the $150 Million budget for promotion (that's after the 237) and how much that lead to the "phenomenon" the film has become.

3. Lee Daniels (0 for 0) for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Budget: $10 Million
Biggest Handicap: Relentlessly grim subject matter
Assistant Directors: 6

If Mo'Nique's acceptance speeches are to be believed, it's Daniels' spirit and vision that made Precious such a captivating story.

4. Jason Reitman (0 for 1) for Up in the Air

Budget: $25 Million
Biggest Handicap: Nebraska
Assistant Directors: 4

A much more deserved return for Reitman after his first nomination for Juno- Up In The Air required all kinds of location shooting, aerial shots, product placement, and extras wrangling, but it all came together seamlessly.

5. Quentin Tarantino (1 for 2) for Inglourious Basterds

Budget: $70 Million
Biggest Handicap: Spelling
Assistant Directors: 15

Considering he spent a decade writing his WWII masterpiece, Inglourious Basterds is remarkably reigned-in compared to the Kill Bill movies. A diverse cast, in diverse locales, leading up to a fire-filled finish that nearly killed people- no mean feat, but it's still not QT's year.

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