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Lone Scherfig, "An Education"
Previous nominations or wins: None
Pros: Scherfig pulled one of the most heralded performances of the year from newcomer Carey Mulligan as well as fine turns from Alfred Molina and Peter Skaarsgard. Oh, and "An Education" will end up being on tons of top ten lists at the end of the year. Usually the director is somewhat responsible...
Cons: If "An Education" lands a Best Picture nod, it would be surprising not to see her rewarded for helming the classy indie. The only possible deterrent is that Danish filmmaker isn't very well known in town. In a competitive year, that's not a good thing.