There are a handful of filmmakers looking for rare air this year. If "American Hustle," "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Nebraska" end up with Oscar nominations for Best Picture in January, then that means David O. Russell, the Coen brothers and Alexander Payne will enter the exclusive company of 11 other filmmakers who have directed three Best Picture nominees in a row. And next year, Bennett Miller will be looking to do the same with "Foxcatcher," which was recently rescheduled for a 2014 release.

Of course, stats like these are rather pointless given the nature of the category, which has moved back and forth from 10 to five nominees over the years. Certainly any number of filmmakers who have worked through the five-nominee paradigm might be on the list if some of their years allowed for 10. But with that having been said, just how rare is it for someone to direct three Best Picture nominees in a row? Well, not even directors as prolific as Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood have accomplished the feat (though Eastwood came mighty close -- if only "Letters from Iwo Jima" had come before "Flags of Our Fathers").

Who are the filmmakers in this unique little pantheon? Click through the gallery story below to find out. (And hopefully we didn't miss any!)

Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.