I'm addicted to checking the score for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Last I've read, it has a 49% on RT, and a 40 on Metacritic. In fact, it's on the brink of being "Generally unfavorable". What I really hope is that the Academy isn't too Daldry bias. Come January, I don't want to hear the film's name being announced. Scratch that, I wouldn't mind Max von Sydow being announced.
A real lock for the Best Director nomination is Michel Hazanavicus, for directing The Artist. I would say his biggest win is at NYFCC, and there are other groups that I am too lazy to name.
Besides him, there are two other big shots: Terrence Malick (I'm not bias,) and Martin Scorsese. I can easily profess that Scorsese is my favorite director, and debatably the greatest of all time. Already he has won the National Board of Review for Hugo and also been nominated for the Golden Globe.
Malick's nomination is nearly as divisive as his film itself. He won at Chicago and LAFCA, but missed at Golden Globes.
I would want to say that if critics were Oscar voters, The Social Network would have won last year, and Nicolas Winding Refn would be a nomination lock for this year. However, I don't see high prospects for Drive, or Refn himself. Bummer.
All in all, Daldry's luck has run out, Scorsese and Hazanavicus are locks, and Malick will probably make it. Alexander Payne needs to step up his game if he wants the nomination, and Woody Allen will duke it out with Spielberg for the last spot. Sounds fun.
Best Director Predictions:
1. Michel Hazanavicus (The Artist)
2. Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
3. Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
4. Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
5. Steven Spielberg (War Horse)