Five worthy filmmakers will vie for their very own Oscar on Sunday night (February 27), but in all likelihood, the race is down to two men: David Fincher of "Social Network" and Tom Hooper of "King's Speech." But who will win? And is there anyone who can stop either one of them?
Check out our analysis of the Best Director race past the jump, and make sure to weigh in with YOUR pick for Best Director in our poll!
Let's look at the three directors who aren't considered favorites to win, starting with Joel and Ethan Coen. The sibling directors delivered yet another fantastic entry into their continually colossal career with "True Grit," perhaps the most beautifully shot film of any other this year. (Indeed, Roger Deakins better win that cinematography award.) But as great as "True Grit" was, it wasn't enough of an accomplishment to propel the Coens towards Oscar gold once again.
For Darren Aronofsky and David O. Russell, it's simply a crowded year. Aronofsky covered some darkly beautiful material in "Black Swan," crafting a masterful suspense thriller that might be a bit too outside the box for the casual Oscar voter. As for Russell, he drew out some of the best performances from any actor this year between Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams and the un-nominated Mark Wahlberg. That's not even speaking towards the gang of sisters, the other locals and the city of Lowell as a character itself: Russell painted an honest, sometimes unflattering but always compelling vision of the beleaguered New England city, and his work on "The Fighter" deserves all the praise it's getting.
But Hooper and Fincher directed what are arguably the two best films of the entire year or, at the very least, what are considered to be the best. Deciding which one of them gets the award is far from an easy task, and the on-and-off victories for both men at various different awards shows demonstrates just how divided the filmmaking community is on this issue. It's really not a question of who will win the award this year; it's a question of who will win between Fincher or Hooper.
For my own part, I tend to agree with what MTV's Eric Ditzian says in the video above: my head tells me Hooper, my heart says Fincher. We'll find out for sure on Sunday night.
Who do YOU think will win Best Director on Sunday night? Vote in the poll above, and explain your picks in the comments section and on Twitter!
Make sure to tune into MTV.com on Sunday night at 6PM EST for our live-stream red carpet Oscar coverage!