Day 5 of my early 2016 Oscar predictions continues with Best Director and this week has already helped solidify the standings of two: Damien Chazelle for La La Land (who looks like a shoo-in for a nod) and Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals (not guaranteed; but very good chance).
Then there’s Martin Scorsese for Silence. The legendary director has been nominated 8 times for this award, including for five of his last six pictures (winning for 2006’s The Departed). It’s a safe pick to put him in, but the only uncertainty is whether or not Silence is actually released this year.
Ang Lee has won the award twice (for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi) and his Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk looks poised for several nominations.
There are many other possibilities: Denzel Washington could land his first directorial attention for Fences. Jeff Nichols’ Loving has already been the subject of much acclaim. Both Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) could find themselves in the mix, as could Denis Villenueve (Arrival) and Morten Tyldum (Passengers) for their science fiction pics.
Also worth noting: Nate Parker for The Birth of a Nation. This is a tricky one as the movie has been a critical hit yet prevalent stories on his past have called into question whether the Academy will make that a factor. We shall see.
Here’s how I have the race right now:
TODD’S EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS – BEST DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Martin Scorsese, Silence
Denzel Washington, Fences
Ben Affleck, Live by Night
Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply
Garth Davis, Lion
Ana DuVernay, The 13th
Clint Eastwood, Sully
Gareth Edwards, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
David Frankel, Collateral Beauty
Stephen Gaghan, Gold
John Lee Hancock, The Founder
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Ken Loach, I, Daniel Blake
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water
John Madden, Miss Sloane
Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral
Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures
Mike Mills, 20th Century Women
Jeff Nichols, Loving
Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation
Rob Reiner, LBJ
Tate Taylor, The Girl on the Train
Morten Tyldum, Passengers
Denis Villenueve, Arrival
Ben Younger, Bleed for This
Robert Zemeckis, Allied
Best Picture tomorrow!