For the most part, the Best Director nominees for this year's Academy Awards are a delightfully eclectic but expected bunch, save for a much-discussed alleged snub of industry legend and three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg for "War Horse." And for all the love "The Help" has received, there was none for its newbie director Tate Taylor. The chosen five nominees are: Martin Scorsese for "Hugo," Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris," Terrence Malick for "The Tree of Life," Alexander Payne for "The Descendants" and rising star Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist."
One could make the "It takes a village ..." argument about filmmaking, but when it comes down to it, a film's director is responsible for the finished product, whether it's good or bad. This year's nominees have made five individually beautiful and moving films, each more than deserving of the Best Director distinction.
But who will win? Hazanavicius and "The Artist" have arguably the most momentum going into the big show on Sunday but face stiff competition from industry favorites Scorsese and Allen, along with the highly respected Malick and Payne.
Who Will Win: Martin Scorsese, but only by a slim margin! As mentioned previously, this one is a tough call. It comes down to the excitement for and love surrounding newcomer Michel Hazanavicius and the excitement for and love surrounding Scorsese for making his first family-friendly film — and a very well-received one to boot. I think the Academy will award Scorsese for "Hugo" to encourage him to flex those family-friendly muscles again.
Who Should Win: Going out on a limb for Woody Allen, because "Midnight in Paris" was one of my absolute favorite films of the year, and the prolific writer/director hasn't taken home a Best Director prize since 1978's crowd-pleaser "Annie Hall." Not all of Allen's films are Best Picture or Best Director caliber, but "Paris" definitely is.
The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and on Sunday, February 26, tune in to MTV.com at 5 p.m. ET for our two-and-a-half-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night's big winners. To join the live conversation, tweet @MTVNews with the hashtag #Oscars.