Who's up for the Best Director Oscar
Let's start with the question that seems to be defining the entire Oscar race: Is this finally Peter Jackson's year? Two years ago, he landed a Best Director nomination for the first installment of ''The Lord of the Rings''; when he was overlooked last year for part 2, the industry consensus was They're waiting. With '','' the wait is over; it's unimaginable that Jackson will be slighted again.
Speaking of (almost) sure things, you can probably add two past winners to the list. It's been 11 years since Clint Eastwood took the trophy for ''Unforgiven,'' and ''Mystic River'' will give him a shot at a second. And warm reviews, a decent opening, and eight Golden Globe nominations all hint that '''' will yield a nod for Anthony Minghella, who won for 1996's ''The English Patient.''
The race for the remaining two slots is close. '''''s or ''The Last Samurai'''s Edward Zwick could grab consolation nods for films that may get left out of the Best Picture race, and '''''s , a five-time nominee, can't be discounted. But we're betting instead that '''''s Peter Weir, a three-time bridesmaid in this category, will be rewarded for his consummate craftsmanship, and that '''''s Sofia Coppola will become only the third woman ever to go for this particular gold.