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Lee Daniels, "Precious"
Previous nominations or wins: None
Pros: This film was a passion project for Daniels who raised the money on his own and used unconventional casting to piece together one of the most moving and powerful films of the year. Most years, there's a big respect factor in pulling such an improbable feat off the ground.
Cons: Could his previous industry incarnations as a manager and producer haunt him as a filmmaker? To say Daniels has his share of personal detractors is a gross understatement.