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Reverse time till years before “Tenet,” when Christopher Nolan was first being tricksy with time in “Memento,” or think back to when “Small Axe” auteur Steve McQueen’s hunger for filmmaking was just stirring. That’s when Variety first identified these mega-talents as Directors to Watch. Other veterans of the list include “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao and “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve.

This year’s roster includes six storytellers whose work was screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and several who find themselves in the thick of the 2021 awards race. From actors-turned-directors Regina King and Robin Wright to an up-and-coming Kiwi genre fan with an appetite for action and the desire to be the next James Cameron, these filmmakers are making waves.