As the countdown to Oscar nominations continues, the field of director contenders begins to shape up
Every Oscar directors race is different, but few years have offered a more diverse field of favorites than 2018. From actors making their filmmaking debuts to long-deprived masters; rising indie stars to studio veterans stepping out of their comfort zones; crafters of unusually brainy comicbook blockbusters to prickly auteurs flirting with the mainstream, it's difficult to imagine there won't be some surprises in store when the nominations are announced on Jan. 22. With that in mind, the following list is by no means exhaustive, but rather a snapshot of some of the names trending toward a nom with critics awards and other attention. But as usual, anything can happen.