Moving right along in the Oscar analysis with the awards just a week away. Now that the writers strike is officially over, the producers of the Academy Awards are scrambling to put together the big show.

They’ve already announced the list of presenters though and somehow Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) will hand one out. How did that happen?

Any way, here are the category break downs for Best Director and Cinematography.

Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen – No Country For Old Men
Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman – Juno
Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Obvious Omissions: Sean Penn for Into the Wild (should be in here), Tim Burton for Sweeney Todd (should not be on the list), Ridley Scott for American Gangster (good, but wasn’t as good as these top five). Joe Wright for Atonement (biggest “snub”).

The list of directors this year are all newcomers to the category. Joel Coen was nominated for Fargo, but the rest have never been in contention for this award.

This is Tony Gilroy’s directorial debut. His first one and he’s nominated. That coupled with a “Best Picture” nomination is a gigantic achievement. Good job. Now try to clap politely for the winner.

Keeping with that same pattern, this is only Reitman’s second feature film. His first, Thank You For Smoking was critically acclaimed but was ultimately un-nominated outside of the Golden Globes. Juno is a good movie, but best direction? Not a chance. Reitman will have many more opportunities though if he keeps this up. He’ll have a little cry though until he realizes Juno has a $120+ million gross.

Julian Schnabel went from being a famous painter to making films. Diving Bell and the Butterfly is only his third film. He’s a strange bearded man, but not best director.

Then there is the rest of the field. Paul Thomas Anderson has been making great films for almost a decade, starting with Boogie Nights, then to Magnolia, before making Punch Drunk Love. I would like nothing more than to see him recognized for the entirely different movie that is There Will Be Blood.

But the Coens have it wrapped up. They’ve taken nearly every other award leading up to the big one, including the DGA statue. You can’t argue with their dominance and their momentum going into next week. No Country for Old Men and finally a well-deserved “Best Director” Oscar for the brothers.

Roger Deakins – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Seamus McGarvey – Atonement
Janusz Kaminski – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Roger Deakins – No Country for Old Men
Robert Elswit – There Will Be Blood

Obvious Omissions: Harris Savides for American Gangster or Zodiac. Eric Gautier for Into the Wild.

What an amazing year for directors of photography. All five of these films blew me away with absolutely amazing visuals. I don’t think I’ve been more aware of how artistic film can be than when watching each of these five movies. To predict the winner is a task, considering I’m a huge fan of the work done in each. Maybe if I’m more technical, I can feel out which way the 6,500 members of the Academy are leaning.

Elswit took home the award from the American Society of Cinematographers last month for There Will Be Blood. Canceled out by two nominations, Roger Deakins went home empty handed. It’s actually a rarity that the ASC and the Academy choices match. The last time the ASC and Academy Award lined up, it actually went to The English Patient, a movie that Atonement has drawn comparison’s to. But Kaminski achieved a look unlike anything else seen in 2007 with Diving Bell.

Well, that didn’t help. One thing I’ve realized, though, is voters choose for silly reasons. So voting for cinematography in a tough category gives an edge to No Country for Old Men, which will likely win “Best Picture.” I just hope the votes for Deakins don’t cancel each other out again and he doesn’t receive the award he deserves. I personally think he should get the Oscar for Assassination of Jesse James, but either one will do.

Oscar Nominations
Best Song and Score
Best Visual Effects, Make-Up, and Costume Design
Best Animated Film
Best Screenplays
Best Supporting Actor/Actress
Best Actor/Actress
Best Picture