Christopher Nolan

Five women are legitimate director contenders, surely a nod will go to at least one?

Five women are legitimate director contenders, surely a nod will go to at least one?

Alfonso Cuarón won the Oscar for director in 2014 for “Gravity.” Alejandro González Iñárritu took that prize the following two years for “Birdman” and “The Revenant.”

Is this the year that Guillermo del Toro — close friends with Cuarón and Iñárritu since the ’90s and, like them, one of Mexico’s most acclaimed and successful filmmakers — wins his Oscar?

Del Toro stands as a strong contender for directing “The Shape of Water,” a lavish, deeply felt love story involving a pair of outsiders — a mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) and an Amazonian water creature (frequent Del Toro collaborator Doug Jones).

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