THE CONTENDERS: Best Directing

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9/19 Thoughts: Bennett Miller is on fire in “Moneyball,” bringing unique imagery and a sound directorial vision to the film. Will that translate for voters? That remains to be seen. Oren Moverman, meanwhile, puts out a staggering directorial achievement in “Rampart,” which is still looking for a distributor.

Good bets:
1. “War Horse” (Steven Spielberg)
2. “The Artist” (Michel Hazanavicius)

Other possibilities:
3. “The Ides of March” (George Clooney)
4. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (Stephen Daldry)
5. “The Descendants” (Alexander Payne)
6. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” (Tomas Alfredson)
7. “The Tree of Life” (Terrence Malick)
8. “Moneyball” (Bennett Miller)
9. “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen)
10. “J. Edgar” (Clint Eastwood)

Dark horses:
11. “Drive” (Nicolas Winding Refn)
12. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (David Fincher)
13. “We Bought a Zoo” (Cameron Crowe)
14. “Young Adult” (Jason Reitman)
15. “The Help” (Tate Taylor)

The rest of the field:
“The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” (Steven Spielberg)
“Albert Nobbs” (Rodrigo Garcia)
“Anonymous” (Roland Emmerich)
“Beginners” (Mike Mills)
“A Better Life” (Chris Weitz)
“Carnage” (Roman Polanski)
“Contagion” (Steven Soderbergh)
“Coriolanus” (Ralph Fiennes)
“A Dangerous Method” (David Cronenberg)
“The Eye of the Storm” (Fred Schepisi)
“50/50” (Jonathan Levine)
“The Flowers of War” (Zhang Yimou)
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” (David Yates)
“Hugo” (Martin Scorsese)
“The Iron Lady” (Phyllida Lloyd)
“Jane Eyre” (Cary Fukunaga)
“Killer Joe” (William Friedkin)
“The Lady” (Luc Besson)
“Larry Crowne” (Tom Hanks)
“Like Crazy” (Drake Doremus)
“Martha Marcy May Marlene” (Sean Durkin)
“Melancholia” (Lars Von Trier)
“My Week with Marilyn” (Simon Curtis)
“One Day” (Lone Scherfig)
“Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” (Bruce Beresford)
“Rampart” (Oren Moverman)
“The Rum Diary” (Bruce Robinson)
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (Lasse Hallström)
“Shame” (Steve McQueen)
“The Skin I Live In” (Pedro Almodóvar)
“Super 8” (J.J. Abrams)
“Take This Waltz” (Sarah Polley)
“360” (Fernando Meirelles)
“Warrior” (Gavin O’Connor)
“Water for Elephants” (Francis Lawrence)
“W.E.” (Madonna)
“We Need to Talk About Kevin” (Lynne Ramsay)
“Win Win” (Tom McCarthy)