What they really want to do is act. So many A-list directors found their way to the other side of the camera in 2002 that we're lobbying for a new Oscar category. (Incidentally, Emmy voters should TiVo Martin Scorsese's electrifying work on ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' and George Lucas' upcoming ''Just Shoot Me'' cameo.) And the nominees for Best Supporting Director are...
-- ''8 Mile'' director Curtis Hanson in ''Adaptation,'' for playing the snooty hubby of Meryl Streep's New Yorker scribe (''Three Kings'' helmer David O. Russell also cameos). And no need for accents!
-- ''X-Men'' director Bryan Singer in ''Star Trek: Nemesis,'' for his visceral blink-and-you'll-miss-it portrayal of some guy on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. It's 40 frames of sheer movie magic.
-- ''Adaptation'' director Spike Jonze for dressing up as an old man on an out-of-control Rascal in ''Jackass the Movie.'' But will his award chances be hurt if ''Jackass'' is considered a documentary?
-- ''Random Hearts'' director Sydney Pollack as Ben Affleck's crooked boss in ''Changing Lanes.'' Given his major roles in ''Husbands and Wives'' and ''A Civil Action,'' James Lipton might be calling soon.