Sam Mendes: Best Director

sam mendes
Sam Mendes, 34, won for American Beauty, his first feature film. But he came to the big screen with a lot of experience in the theater. He directed the smash hit revival of Cabaret and the play The Blue Room, which gained notoriety because of nude scenes performed by Nicole Kidman.

Mendes was the subject of an interview and profile recently on CBS News Sunday Morning.

American Beauty had eight Oscar nominations all together. To see its official Web site, click here.

Lasse Hallström, 54, was nominated for The Cider House Rules. He was up for an Oscar in 1987 for his direction of My Life As A Dog, but he lost to Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor).

Hallström's other film credits include What's Eating Gilbert Grape? which he also produced. That's the movie that gave Leonardo DiCaprio his first big movie break and brought him an Oscar nomination in the supporting actor category in 1993, the year Tommy Lee Jones won in that category for his work in The Fugitive.

In addition, Hallström directed Once Around (1991) with Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss, and Something To Talk About (1995) with Julia Roberts. But he got his start in movies in the 1970s, when he parlayed his direction of music videos for the Swedish rock group ABBA into ABBA: The Movie (1977).

A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Hallström is married to actress Lena Olin and they have two children.

Cider House garnered seven nominations all together. To see its official Web site, click here.

Spike Jonze, 30, was nominated for Being John Malkovich. That movie already won him honors from the New York Film Critics Circle (Best First Film) and the Broadcast Film Critics (Breakthrough Artist).

While much is being made of the fact that his first feature film brought him an Oscar nomination, Jonze has had a long and successful career in the making of music videos. Among the artists for whom he has directed music videos are Sean Lennon, Sonic Youth, R.E.M., The Beastie Boys and Weezer.

He also had enjoyed a hot career in the making of biking and skate-boarding films, including Las Nueve Vidas de Paco (1995) and Dinky (1996), and a brief foray into magazine publishing with Dirt, a short-lived publication for teen-age boys.

Jonze also has appeared in front of the camera now and then, most notably in Three Kings (1999) as Gulf War soldier Pvt. Conrad Vig.

Born in Potomac, Md., Jonze is married to Sofia Coppola, a daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola.

Being John Malkovich has picked up four nominations all together. To see its offiial Web site, click here.

Michael Mann, 57, was nominated for The Insider. He has won plenty of Emmys for his work in television, but no Oscars so far.

If you're a TV fan, you might be familiar with Mann's name as the executive producer of Miami Vice, a huge hit in the 1980s, or as a writer for the 1970s smash Starsky and Hutch.

His first feature film was 1981's Thief, starring James Caan, followed by The Keep in 1983. He was busy with Miami Vice and the world of television for the rest of the 1980s.

He returned to big-screen movies with The Last of the Mohicans (1992), starring Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe.

The Insider attracted seven nominations all together. To see its official Web site, click here.

M. Night Shyamalan, 29, was nominated for The Sixth Sense, a film that brought him a nod from the Directors Guild of America as well. He also wrote the script.

Shyamalan's hometown is Philadelphia, which served as the setting for The Sixth Sense and where he first started making films when he was 10 years old. His parents, both physicians, had expected him to become a doctor. But he opted for film school instead.

After the box office success of The Sixth Sense, Disney agreed to pay him $5 million for his next project, Unbreakable, scheduled to begin filming in April and to be released in November, around Thanksgiving.

Already signed on is Bruce Willis, who starred in The Sixth Sense.

Shyamalan's other movie credits are Praying With Anger (1992), for which he served as director, writer, producer and star, and Wide Awake (1998), which he also wrote. He served on the writing team for Stuart Little (1999).

The Sixth Sense drew six nominations all together. To see its official Web site, click here.