Surveying the field of helmers from debut filmmakers to weathered vets
Lee Daniels - "Lee Daniels' The Butler"
Pros: Daniels is a former nominee in this category for "Precious." He also won the Grand Jury prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival for that drama and won Best Director at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards. More importantly, any filmmaker who watches "The Butler" will be able to ascertain that Daniels' direction helps salvage a clumsy screenplay and he finds ways to diminish the cheesy cameo effect that so many actors playing historical figures can bring to a movie.
Cons: It's an incredibly competitive year and "The Butler" is one of the more conventional awards season players. That may just be too much of a detriment to earn a nod from the directors branch.