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Best director power rankings: Can the field defy 'Gravity'

1. Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
1. Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
movies.mxdwn.com

In what has been one of the more unpredictable Oscar races in years, the race for best director has been one of the easiest to call. To say that it is over isn’t given the great depth of the field enough credit, but when all is said and done, if the name that tops this power ranking list doesn’t walk away with best director honors, the Academy screwed up. Read the full list to see who should be walking up to a victory come March.

1. Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
1. Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity movies.mxdwn.com

1. Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity

Let’s just be honest with ourselves, Alfonso Cuaron has this one in the bag. Not only did he put forth one of the greatest directorial efforts with “Gravity,” but he has been cleaning up this awards season, most recently taking the DGA for top director. Even people who aren’t as high on “Gravity” can’t deny the director the credit he is due for creating such a unbelievable cinematic achievement.

2. David O. Russell - American Hustle
2. David O. Russell - American Hustle usatoday.com

2. David O. Russell - American Hustle

If the Academy is going to go with anyone not named Cuaron, the most likely bet to replace him is David O. Russell. “American Hustle” has detractors, sure, but that didn’t stop the film from landing ten total nominations, including Russell here. The director is on a hot streak with the Academy, but none of his nominations have turned in to wins as of yet. They could look to remedy that here.

3. Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
3. Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave collider.com

3. Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave

Based on the precision and effectiveness of a director, you’d think Steve McQueen would leap frog Russell and be right behind Cuaron, but that’s not the case. The British director is still relatively new, and that will hold him back. McQueen has only three films to his credit thus far, and “12 Years a Slave” is the first to receive any nominations. The Academy will make him be patient behind more seasoned directors, though the argument could easily be made that he deserves it.

4. Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street
4. Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street nydailynews.com

4. Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street

You could be forgiven after watching “The Wolf of Wall Street” and being surprised that it came from 73-year-old Martin Scorsese. But that’s why he is so damn good. Scorsese’s film, however, has a strong divide in the Academy, though with his nomination not as bad as it could have been. Still, the support is likely not enough to carry him to a win.

5. Alexander Payne - Nebraska
5. Alexander Payne - Nebraska collider.com

5. Alexander Payne - Nebraska

Not to say that Alexander Payne did not deserve a nomination for his great work on “Nebraska,” but he was clearly the surprise entry when the nominations were announced. Getting past Paul Greengrass and critic’s favorite Spike Jonze was Payne’s victory.