Surveying the field of helmers from debut filmmakers to weathered vets
Stephen Frears - "Philomena"
Pros: This branch likes Frears, having nominated him twice before -- most recently for the kind of low-key, televisual performance piece ("The Queen") that doesn't ordinarily get recognized in this category. "Philomena" is in a somewhat similar vein, and should play very well to a certain large Academy demographic, particularly the British bloc. The Weinsteins are on the case.
Cons: The Academy at large would have to really, really like the film in order for Frears to get swept along with it, since his work on the somewhat light drama draws even less attention to itself than "The Queen." And will the film's digressions into comedy make some voters less inclined to consider its overall?