The Motley Fool's mission is simple: To educate, amuse, and enrich. As such, it should come as no surprise that the investors we hold in the highest regard are those who not only post outstanding returns, but who also make meaningful, Foolish contributions to the world of investing.

The Motley Fool online editorial team, through colorful debate and careful deliberation, has settled on five nominees for the 2007 Investor of the Year award. We've set the nominees, but the final vote belongs to you, the readers.

Cue bombastic orchestra: And the nominees are ...

Bruce Berkowitz
Founder of Champion Funds-blessed Fairholme Capital Management, Berkowitz has posted 17.8% returns since his fund's inception in 1999. The largest holdings of the value-focused fund, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) and Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ), helped propel Fairholme to market-beating returns in 2007. Beyond his enviable track record, though, the Buffett devotee also scores major points with Fools for his enlightening reports and letters to shareholders.

Warren Buffett
Speaking of shareholder letters, what would a TMF Investor of the Year list be without the Oracle of Omaha? Buffett's nomination this year isn't some half-hearted nod toward lifetime achievement. Berkshire's sage-like leader more than earned his place on the list, thanks to impressive results at Berkshire's Buffett-collected operating companies and strong returns on his equity investments, including his recently divested stake in PetroChina (NYSE:PTR).

Carl Icahn
Once reviled and always relevant, former greenmailer Carl Icahn has reshaped his public persona from "corporate raider" to "uniquely powerful friend of the shareholder." Icahn's public metamorphosis helped lead Fortune to name him "the hottest investor in America." Superlatives from our competitors aside, Icahn, who now owns stakes in Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and Harrah's Entertainment (NYSE:HET), made major waves in 2007 through his ardent activism at Motorola (NYSE:MOT).

John Mauldin
Unlike his fellow nominees, Mauldin, the prescient president of Millennium Wave Advisors, is best known as a market commentator. But given our mission, and since The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors, Mauldin deserves a place at this table. His educational and engaging musings in his Thoughts from the Front Line weekly e-newsletter go out freely to more than a million subscribers around the globe.

Mohnish Pabrai
Like Berkowitz, Pabrai is an unabashed Buffett admirer. Pabrai burst onto the scene in 2007 with his Foolishly written value guide, The Dhandho Investor. The head of the market-crushing Pabrai Investment Funds, Pabrai was recently referred to by Fool contributor Sham Gad as "today's greatest rising investor."

The nominees are in! Meet all the candidates for our 2007 Fool Awards, then cast your votes!

Joe Magyer can't believe his peers failed to nominate him for Investor of the Year. He's sure you're just as shocked as he was. Joe doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Berkshire Hathaway is an Inside Value and Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Fool also has a disclosure policy.