Oscar nominees: Director

Why he’ll win: Boyle pushed himself by directing a film in which English was spoken only about half the time and which represented in stunning detail a largely foreign culture and land. That’s a rare achievement for a filmmaker that, when combined with the crowdpleasing energy of the film, makes this a bravura achievement.

Maybe not: “Slumdog” fails to meet the Academy’s unspoken prestige requirement. Boyle also may be seen as too much of a populist filmmaker — his most popular pics have been edgy genre fare such as “28 Days Later” and “Trainspotting” — for voters to feel like he’s earned his dues the way other nominees have.

Critical quote: “Like so many of the Bollywood melodramas it stylistically apes, Boyle’s film is unapologetically pop, even as Boyle himself seems to be at once inside and outside the idiom, embracing it while winking slyly at our collective need for escapist fantasy,” says Ty Burr of the Boston Globe.

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