With the Best Picture race expanded to 10 nominees but Best Director remaining at five, the BD nominees could very well determine the BP winner: it is unlikely that Best Picture will come from the five films that miss out on a Director's nod.
Just today the Directors Guild of America (DGA) has announced their nominees for 2009, and these five should be considered the Oscar favourites:
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker: Will definitely become just the 4th woman nominated for BD, but she is firming as the first female winner.
James Cameron - Avatar's box office simply can't be denied. Cameron's use of new technologies is also noteworthy. Trivia: Bigelow and Cameron were once married.
Lee Daniels - Precious: First-time director who has worked wonders with his cast (Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey, and first-timer Gabourey Sidibe) is, I think, the most susceptible to be left out.
Jason Reitman - Up In The Air: Just his third film could earn Reitman his second Director's nod, after 2007's Juno. Father director Ivan (Ghostbusters) Reitman should be proud.
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds: 15 years after his first and only Director's nod for Pulp Fiction, Tarantino is back thanks to some Nazi scalping.
Other directors who may sneak in to the 5, especially if their film makes the final 10, are:
The Coen brothers: A Serious Man
Neill Blomkamp - District 9
Lone Scherfig - An Education
Clint Eastwood - Invictus
Michael Haneke - The White Ribbon