An Oscars statue weighs 8 1/2 pounds (almost 4kg for us metrics) which isn’t really a lot – although if you had two you could use them as dumbbells and get a decent workout. But the Best Director Oscar is a particular heavy hitter since a film maker who finds themself with one will most likely never again have a problem funding future projects.

Here are the nominees:

Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan

Aronofsky is no stranger to various award nominations (and some wins) for his work – The Wrestler (2008), The Fountain (2006), Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Pi (1998) spring to mind. The Academy hailed the actors in The Wrestler in 2009. Could this be the director’s year to bask in Oscars glory?

Ethan and Joel Coen – True Grit

Award-veterans. But what will probably work against them this year is that they already won the Best Director Oscar in 2008 for the brilliant No Country for Old Men (2007) as well as got nominated last year for Best Film for A Serious Man (2009). Joel Coen has also won a Director Oscar for Fargo back in 1997. Between them they have enough statues to cover their needs for bookends and door stoppers. They are geniuses, but is it perhaps someone else’s turn now?

David Fincher – The Social Network

Fincher was Oscar-nominated in 2009 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Understandably, he didn’t win as the over lengthy movie is a crime against the human bottom and an ordeal for the brain – I don’t care if Brad Pitt is in it. There is surprisingly little gore and death in The Social Network. After all, one has come to expect it from Fincher… Alien 3, Se7en, Zodiac, Fight Club anyone? But it’s an amazing feat by the director to make what is effectively a series of depositions seem rather thrilling. Definitely one to watch.

Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

Londoner Hooper won an Emmy for directing mini-series Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren. In fact, he’s done a fair bit of telly (including EastEnders!) but compared to the above he’s pretty fresh talent. This has really been his year though thanks to The King’s Speech. The movie has a whooping 12 Oscars nominations. But will this British talent get his very own dumbbell? Not so sure.

David O Russell – The Fighter

This director too is new to the Oscars scene. Just like Aronofsky, he’s got a few nominations and wins in the bag – Three Kings, Spanking the Monkey, I Heart Huckabees. He’s really managed to bring out the best in his actors for The Fighter (the fabulous Amy Adams is nominated for Best Supporting Actress), but I’d be surprised if he won this Oscar.

All in all, well done, gentlemen! These movies show true talent. It got me thinking though – where are the female directors? I know, I know, the first thing you’ll say is Kathryn Bigelow because she won Best Director for The Hurt Locker as late as last year. But did you know that she is the first female in history to do so?

As for other Best (female) Director nominations, you can use the fingers on one hand to list Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2003), Jane Campion (The Piano, 1993) and first ever nominated female director Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties, 1976).

The reason for this has got us at Movie Talk discussing. What’s your opinion?