Lee Daniels

*The Academy Awards category for best director has historically been two things: white and male. This year, the five nominees are a slightly more diverse crowd.

Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) is only the fourth woman to be nominated. If she wins, she’ll be the first woman to ever take home a directing Oscar.

Lee Daniels (“Precious: Based on the Novel `Push’ by Sapphire”) is only the second black filmmaker to be nominated for best director in the 81-year-history of the Academy Awards. John Singleton, in 1992 for “Boys N the Hood,” was the first.

Bigelow and Daniels would be enough to make the category a fascinating one, but it also bears the intrigue of former spouses being nominated against each other (“Avatar” director James Cameron is Bigelow’s ex-husband), the possibility of the youngest ever best director winner in 32-year-old Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”) and a quiet, soft-spoken fellow by the name of Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds”).

Get MORE of this AP story by Jake Coyle, HERE.