2016 Early Oscar Predictions: Best Director

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

Other Possibilities:

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!

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