Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
PRO: Visionary director builds on his accomplishment with last year's The Wrestler, helming an unforgettable tour de force.
CON: Too many Academy voters still remember The Fountain, which used up the best years of their lives.
David O. Russell for The Fighter
PRO: Great previous body of work, including the wonderful Three Kings.
CON: Not as showy as splashy genre Western from Coens or trippy philosophical meditation from Aronofsky.
Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit
PRO: Tenth nomination for writing-directing duo whose body of work includes Fargo, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, and No Country for Old Men.
CON: Familiarity breeds contempt for the "two-headed director" -- or, as they're now known, "the Jewish Winklevi."
David Fincher for The Social Network
PRO: Golden Globe-winner shows that he can make stylish films from any subject matter, whether it be the creation of Facebook or the hunt for the Zodiac killer.
CON: New findings about astrological signs completely invalidate his previous work.
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
PRO: Award-winning TV director (for TV's John Adams) brings another leader to life, exploring an unlikely king's struggle with stuttering in England on the brink of World War II.
CON: Confused voters waited all the way through the end credits, and still no "I Have a Dream" speech.
Outside the Law (Algeria)
In a Better World (Denmark)
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