Danny Boyle

Photo: Fox Searchlight

1. Winner: Danny Boyle
Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire captures the story of a young man from the slums of Mumbai who appears on a game show and does so well that he's accused of cheating. The explanation of how he's able to reach the final round sets the story.

Danny is best known for his film Trainspotting, the 1996 classic that catapulted not only Danny's career, but also that of the film's leading man, Ewan McGregor. This is Danny's first Oscar® nomination, and he's already won the Golden Globe® for his work on this movie.
David Fincher

Photo: Paramount Pictures

2. David Fincher
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Filmmaker David Fincher is known for his dark, haunting films—will any of us ever be able to forget the final scene in his 1995 hit Se7en?—but he got his start producing some of the most spirited and entertaining music videos of the '90s.

David's streak of winning flicks with Brad Pitt—including Se7en and Fight Club —continues with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The movie tells the story of a man who ages in reverse and has been delighting audiences with its romantic reflections on both life and death.

This is David's first nomination.
Ron Howard

3. Ron Howard

He will always be known for the beloved TV characters he portrayed—The Andy Griffith's Show's Opie Taylor and Happy Days ' Richie Cunningham are, after all, iconic—but the bulk of Ron Howard's career has been spent creating some of the most memorable movies in cinematic history. Before winning the Oscar® in 2001 for his work as director of A Beautiful Mind, Ron directed movies including Splash, Cocoon, Backdraft, Far and Away and Apollo 13.

Based on a play of the same name, Frost/Nixon is a dramatization of the 1977 interviews between British TV broadcaster David Frost and former President Richard Nixon.
Gus Van Sant

Photo: Focus Features

4. Gus Van Sant

In movies such as My Own Private Idaho and Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant brought to the screen the lives of those on the edge. And while his 1995 project with Nicole Kidman in To Die For was a critical success, it was his Oscar®-nominated work as director of Good Will Hunting that put Gus on the map.

Gus' latest film, Milk, is based on the life of Harvey Milk, the first self-identified gay man to be elected to public office in California.
Stephen Daldry

Photo: Miramax

5. Stephen Daldry
The Reader

Stephen Daldry began his career in theater as a director, including serving several years as artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre. In 2000, he hit the big screen with his wildly celebrated debut of Billy Elliot, the fictional story of a young boy who grows up in a blue-collar town and dreams of being a dancer.

The Reader tells the story of a German lawyer who realizes later in adulthood that the woman with whom he had an affair as a teenager may be concealing a secret.

This is his first nomination.


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