1. Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

        First nomination in this category.

        His previous film, Whiplash, netted 3 Oscars, and he certainly capitalized on that awards momentum with his original musical, La La Land, which is just about guaranteed to more than double Whiplash's haul. Chazelle's victory will narrowly make him, at 32, the youngest recipient of this award in history.


2. Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

        First nomination.

       Moonlight is only Jenkins' second feature film. Both he and the film have a passionate fan base, but they are likely to be dwarfed in the vote totals by the La La Land juggernaut. Jenkins has an excellent chance at taking an Oscar in the Adapted Screenplay category, so he may end the night with something shiny after all.


3. Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

        First nomination in this category.

        A previous Oscar nominee for screenplay (You Can Count On Me, Gangs of New York), Lonergan's best shot at a trophy is for his script if he can beat Chazelle and La La Land for Best Original Screenplay.


4. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

        First nomination in this category.

        A previous nominee for Foreign Film (Incendies), Villeneuve also directed Prisoners and Sicario. His next film will be the long awaited Blade Runner sequel.


5. Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)

        One previous nomination and win in this category.

        No comment.