Stephen Daldry is pretty much the John Cazale of directors. (Google John Cazale if you don’t get what I mean by that). He’s directed three films and has been nominated for Best Director by the Academy for all three films. Only two of them were nominated for Best Picture, but it’ quite possibly Billy Elliot was thisclose to getting one of those five slots in 2000. Odds are if the Weinsteins hadn’t had a film out that year (Chocolat) that they aggressively campaigned for, it would have. What I love the most about Daldry as a director, and I think this comes from his background as a theater director, is the strong performances he gets out of his actors. I dare you to find one bad, or even “just okay” performance in one of his films. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one. He has director five Academy Award nominated and two Academy Award winning performances. That’s pretty good for a guy who’s only done three feature films so far.