Joel and Ethan Coen, known to many moviegoers as the Coen brothers, have been directing and producing films together for more than 20 years.
Growing up in Minnesota, the brothers began experimenting with a Super-8 camera at a young age. After graduating from college, Joel and Ethan took their childhood hobby to the next level and wrote and directed their first feature film, Blood Simple.
Since their debut in 1984, the brothers have churned out classic comedies, including O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Raising Arizona and The Hudsucker Proxy, as well as movies with a film noir flair, like Miller's Crossing.
In 1996, Joel and Ethan received their first Oscar® nomination for writing the screenplay for Fargo, a film they also directed.
This year, the Academy is recognizing the Coens' talent as directors for their work on No Country for Old Men, a film based on a novel by author Cormac McCarthy. The movie tells the story of Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam vet who finds a briefcase containing $2 million in the desert. Taking the money only seems to make his life worse when he becomes the target of a ruthless assassin.
Unlike most directors on the Academy's nominee list, Julian Schnabel is fairly new to filmmaking. He wrote and directed his first film, Basquiat, in 1996. This biopic about painter Jean-Michel Basquiat is a fitting debut for Julian, considering his artistic talent.
Prior to becoming a filmmaker, he made a name for himself as a neo-expressionist painter. His work is exhibited in museums throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
After the success of Basquiat, Julian brought Before Night Falls to international audiences. The film's star, Javier Bardem, received an Oscar® nomination for his performance.
This year, Julian is celebrating his first Oscar nomination for the film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which is based on the true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, an Elle editor who suffers a paralyzing stroke. Using only his left eye, Jean-Dominique blinks out his memoir and shares his psychological torment with the world.
In high school, famed director Paul Thomas Anderson made a 30-minute film about a male porn star, which he called The Dirk Diggler Story.
Years later, Paul's short film inspired the breakout hit of his career, Boogie Nights. He followed up this critically acclaimed film with Magnolia, an ensemble piece that starred Hollywood heavy-hitters like Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The movie garnered three Oscar® nominations, including one for Paul's clever screenplay.
Now, Paul is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director for There Will Be Blood, the film adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!. In the film, Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis plays a dishonest Texas oil prospector who will stop at nothing to make his fortune.
First-time Oscar® nominee Jason Reitman has only directed two feature films, but he's no stranger to Hollywood. Growing up, it was his father, Ivan Reitman, who received recognition as the director of hilarious hits like Ghostbusters and Stripes.
In 2005, Jason directed his first feature, Thank You for Smoking, which was nominated for two Golden Globes®. After this early success, Jason teamed up with screenwriter Diablo Cody to bring Juno to audiences. This offbeat comedy tells the story of Juno McGuff, an eccentric teenager who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby to a seemingly perfect, well-to-do couple who is anxious to adopt.
Jason's film won two Critic's Choice Awards and is nominated for four Oscars.
Though he's been writing some of Hollywood's most exciting scripts for years, Tony Gilroy is now being honored for his directorial debut on Michael Clayton. This thrilling film tells the story of a powerful corporate lawyer who faces the biggest challenge of his career.
Over the past 10 years, Tony has written screenplays for everything from Dolores Claiborne and The Devil's Advocate to the Jason Bourne series, starring Matt Damon. His father, Frank Gilroy, was also an award-winning playwright, director and screenwriter.
This year, Tony is also nominated for Best Original Screenplay for writing Michael Clayton. In all, his film scored seven Academy Award® nominations.