Regardless of the Academy’s infamous snubs of Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow for their work on “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” respectively, the deserving winner of the Best Director Oscar is Steven Spielberg, for his masterful direction in one of the most honored films of the year, “Lincoln.” Spielberg challenges the way we think about the democratic process while at the same time inspiring in the audience a new love for what our country has accomplished, making his direction stand above that of the other nominees.
There is also a lot of love in the Academy for Benh Zeitlin and his courageous Sundance phenomenon “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” His daring choice to cast all non-actors, especially the revelation that is Quvenzhané Wallis, and to shoot on waterlogged locations on a very low budget may just bring him to a win.
“Lincoln” is the only film honored in this category that is broad and epic in its themes and ideas. However, if the Academy leans toward the opposite end of the spectrum — small-scale and personal — Zeitlin could be the winner.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 21 print edition. Shawn Flanagan is a contributing writer. Email him at email@example.com.