2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Director)

My super duper earliest Oscar predictions in the big races has reached Best Director with only Picture left. If you missed my posts covering the four acting derbies, you can peruse them here:

2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Actress)

2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Actor)

2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Supporting Actress)

2022 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Supporting Actor)

These will be monthly predictions until August when they become weekly. Here’s how I have the filmmakers performing at this early stage. I currently have four past winners and a first-time nominee in the mix.

TODD’S APRIL 2022 OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle, Babylon

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo

Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon

Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Other Possibilities:

Darren Aronofsky, The Whale

Noah Baumbach, White Noise

James Cameron, Avatar 2

Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things

Sam Mendes, Empire of Light 

David O. Russell, Canterbury Glass

Maria Schrader, She Said

George C. Wolfe, Rustin

Florian Zeller, The Son

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Director Race

After four posts focusing on the acting races at the 2021 Oscars, it’s time to turn to Best Director. If you missed those entries on the lead and supporting performer derbies, you can find them here:

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actress Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Best Actor Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actress Race

2021 Oscar Predictions: The State of the Supporting Actor Race

With the directing category, I do believe there’s three filmmakers that have likely punched their ticket to a nomination. Before we get there, let’s take a look at how my projections panned out at the same early November time frame in 2019 and 2020.

Two years back, I correctly identified four of the five contenders: winner Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) as well as Sam Mendes (1917), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Todd Phillips (Joker) was mentioned in Other Possibilities. 2020 was more unpredictable with two months left to go and that resulted in only two directors being accurately named: Chloe Zhao (Nomadland), who took the gold, and David Fincher (Mank). Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) was in Other Possibilities while neither Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) or surprise nominee Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) were yet listed in my top ten.

Back to 2021 and the three individuals who I believe stand probable shots at making the cut. They are Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune).

It was 28 years ago that Campion was nominated for The Piano. If it hadn’t been for Oscar juggernaut Schindler’s List, she likely would’ve been making a speech. Upon its premiere in Venice, Campion took the Silver Lion (equivalent to this competition) for Dog. I don’t see her being left off the ballot.

Belfast is the current frontrunner for Best Picture and it’s hard to envision  writer/director Branagh not making it in. If so, it would be his first nod in directing since Henry V some 32 years back.

Dune is being heralded for its technical wizardry and it should pick up numerous down the line wins and nominations. Five years after his behind the camera work was recognized for Arrival, Villeneuve should be a factor again.

Interestingly, I don’t feel there’s a clear favorite to win. There are plausible scenarios for any member of this trio to emerge victorious. Campion, Branagh, and Villeneuve constitute my top 3 (in that order), but it’s more of a 1a, 1b, and 1c at press time.

As for the other two slots, there’s a few contenders stemming from unseen product. There’s big names in that bunch: Guillermo del Toro (Nightmare Alley, who won four years ago for The Shape of Water), Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza, a two-time nominee for There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread), Ridley Scott (for House of Gucci and not The Last Duel), Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up, previously nominated for The Big Short), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Tick, Tick… Boom!), and Steven Spielberg (West Side Story,  a two-time winner for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan).

Any of these gentlemen could bubble up to the surface once their pictures are screened. I’m sticking with the two I’ve had in my five recently: del Toro and Anderson.

King Richard has a chance to win Best Picture, but I’m skeptical its maker Reinaldo Marcus Green makes it here. The sports drama seems destined to be recognized more for its performances, but if the Academy really falls for it, Green could be theoretically be swept in. That holds true for Joel Coen (The Tragedy of Macbeth) and Pablo Larrain (Spencer) as well.

Lastly, Thomas Vinterberg’s nod in 2020 for Another Round came out of nowhere. While it was pegged to take International Feature Film (which it did), Round was not nominated in Best Picture. There’s a slew of directors who could fill the “surprise” slot this time around (many from foreign features): Pedro Almodovar (Parallel Mothers), Julia Ducournau (Titane), Asghar Farhari (A Hero), Paolo Sorrentino (The Hand of God), Joachim Trier (The Worst Person in the World). I wouldn’t completely count out Rebecca Hall for Passing. Yet none of these upset selections are in my top ten.

The one that is: Jonas Poher Rasmussen for festival darling Flee. While I don’t have it nabbing a Best Pic nom at the moment, I do foresee the Danish doc contending in Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, and International Feature Film. That kind of attention could cause the voters to include him.

Here’s how those rankings look at the start of November:

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Kenneth Branagh, Belfast (PR: 2)

3. Denis Villeneuve, Dune (PR: 3)

4. Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley (PR: 4)

5. Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Pablo Larrain, Spencer (PR: 6)

7. Steven Spielberg, West Side Story (PR: 7)

8. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard (PR: 9)

10. Ridley Scott, House of Gucci (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Julia Ducournau, Titane

Best Picture is next!

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

The blog’s early look at the 2021 Oscar contenders arrives at Best Director. If you didn’t see the posts outlining my initial picks for the acting derbies, take a look here:

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

Early 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

In 2020, my first estimates in the directorial field yielded 2 eventual nominees: winner Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) and David Fincher (Mank). The three others were not even mentioned: Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), and surprise contender Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round).

Here’s the players as I see it at this July juncture:

EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST DIRECTOR

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Other Contenders:

Pedro Almodovar, Parallel Mothers

Paul Thomas Anderson, Soggy Bottom

Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Leos Carax, Annette

Fran Kranz, Mass

Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

David O. Russell, Canterbury Glass

Ridley Scott, House of Gucci

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

That leaves only Best Picture and it will be posted in short order!

Early 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

My first round of Oscar predictions in this topsy turvy time known as 2020 arrives at Best Director. If you missed my initial take on the four acting races, you can find them all here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/08/11/early-2020-oscar-predictions-best-actress/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/08/10/early-2020-oscar-predictions-best-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/08/09/early-2020-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actress/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/08/09/early-2020-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actor/

I’ve already discussed the challenges of making these August projections and many of them are the same as any other year. Yet it’s even trickier now due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever shifting release dates that accompany it. This is why I’ve left off Wes Anderson and The French Dispatch as its premiere is especially in flux. If word comes out in the near future to its unveiling, he would almost certainly be in the top 15.

Some of the pictures and their makers listed here will (at least right now) be seen in the next few weeks at festivals. As for Tenet, the latest from Christopher Nolan is expected to be out in limited fashion stateside by month’s end.

2019 was a bit more stable and I correctly identified 4 of the eventual 5 nominees in my first late summer predictions. That includes winner Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Martin Scorsese, (The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). My only miss was Todd Phillips for Joker and I didn’t even have him in the 10 other possibilities.

Let’s get to it with my introductory look at the players vying for behind the camera accolades!

EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST DIRECTOR

David Fincher, Mank

Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods

Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Other Possibilities:

Sofia Coppola, On the Rocks

Paul Greengrass, News of the World

Ron Howard, Hillbilly Elegy

Charlie Kaufman, I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah

Francis Lee, Ammonite

Tom McCarthy, Stillwater

Mike Mills, C’Mon C’Mon

Christopher Nolan, Tenet

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

I’ll have the big daddy of them all – Best Picture – up in short order! Stay tuned…

Todd’s Early 2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

We’ve arrived at Best Director in my early bird predictions for the 2018 Oscars! In the last couple of days, I’ve also posted my take on the four acting categories and the new race that everyone has an opinion on – Best Popular Film. If you missed those, you can find them right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/24/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-popular-film/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/24/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/24/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-actress/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/23/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/23/todds-early-2018-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actress/

As mentioned previously, these categories will all come into much sharper focus this coming week when Venice kicks off Film Festival season with Toronto to quickly follow.

Let’s get to it with Director and Best Picture will follow later today.

Todd’s Early Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Damien Chazelle, First Man

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Other Possibilities:

Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs 

Joel Edgerton, Boy, Erased

Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite

Mike Leigh, Peterloo

David Lowry, Old Man & The Gun

Adam McKay, Backseat

Steve McQueen, Widows

Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots

Felix Van Groeningen, Beautiful Boy

Todd’s Early 2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Continuing on with my earliest Oscar predictions, we are at Best Director before my initial Best Picture estimates. At this juncture, it’s safe to assume that the five directors I’ve selected will all see their movies on my list for Picture when that’s posted.

Obviously we are early in the Oscar predictin’ game, but here goes with the directors!

Here’s my quick tale – the Telluride and Venice Festivals over the weekend increased the chances for several directors, including Joe Wright (Darkest Hour), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Battle of the Sexes), and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water). Same goes for Alexander Payne in Downsizing, but the reaction for it has been slightly more split.

I’m reserving a predicted spot for Steven Spielberg for his Nixon era tale The Post (formerly known as The Papers). The rest of my predicted nominees are from films already out or screened. As always, lots could change but here goes for now!

TODD’S EARLY OSCAR PREDICTIONS – BEST DIRECTOR

Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Dee Rees, Mudbound

Steven Spielberg, The Post

Joe Wright, Darkest Hour

Other Possibilities:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Darren Aronofsky, mother!

Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman

Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman

Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying

Alexander Payne, Downsizing

Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049

Best Picture is next, my friends!

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: December 1st Edition

Hello all! Welcome to December and welcome to my weekly Thursday Oscar predictions!

It’s been seven days since my last Turkey Day estimates in the eight major categories. A lot can change in a week and there’s been significant developments since we were all couch bound after our Thanksgiving feasts.

Let us count them…

1) Martin Scorsese’s Silence finally held some screenings, meaning buzz is out. Official reviews are embargoed until December 10, but the first reactions indicate that the director’s latest could be a force in the Oscar race. My predictions reflect that. Furthermore, initial word makes one wonder whether it’ll be Liam Neeson or Adam Driver that get the lion’s share of attention in Supporting Actor.

2) A number of awards precursors have rolled out their winners and nominations. We begin with the National Board of Review. Yesterday, the NBR bestowed their winners upon us. They are: Manchester by the Sea (Best Film), Barry Jenkins for Moonlight (Director), Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea (Actor), Amy Adams in Arrival (Actress), Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water (Supporting Actor), Naomie Harris in Moonlight (Supporting Actor), Manchester by the Sea (Original Screenplay), and Silence (Adapted Screenplay). The critics organization also lists ten other pictures on the year’s best list and they are: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hail Caesar!, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Moonlight, Patriots Day, Silence, and Sully. Now – the NBR’s list of films have not and will not match what the Academy does. For instance, Hail Caesar! is not going to nab a Best Picture nod (it’s never been in my top 20 list of possibles and still isn’t). All the others, however, are at least feasible. The most notable snub is Fences, though I’d say it’s still near the top for Academy recognition. Lion is another notable omission.

3) The Critics Choice Awards came out today with their nominations. An important caveat: Silence (and Passengers and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) weren’t screened in time for consideration. The CCA nominates 10 pictures and they are: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Lion, Loving, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, and Sully. Another note: the upcoming Jackie got no Picture love from the NBR or CCA.

There are seven nominees for Best Director and six each in the acting and screenplay races. They are:

Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), Denis Villeneueve (Arrival), and Denzel Washington (Fences). Gibson’s nod is a fascinating one and he may have slightly increased his chances at Oscar attention. That said, it’s important to remember that Scorsese (who’s almost sure to get a nomination) was ineligible.

Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester), Joel Edgerton (Loving), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Tom Hanks (Sully), and Denzel Washington (Fences). Nothing out of the ordinary here, though Garfield seems more likely to get Acting attention for Silence via the Academy.

Actress: Amy Adams (Arrival), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), and Emma Stone (La La Land). Note: No nod for either Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) or Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane).

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Ben Foster (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals). Note: While some awards prognosticators have listed Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins as a possibility, his fortunes seem to be dwindling. Also, no Mykelti Williams or Stephen Henderson for Fences. 

Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences), Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures), and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea). No real surprises here.

Original Screenplay: Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Loving, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight. Again, no shocks though the ignoring of Jackie continues here.

Adapted Screenplay: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, Nocturnal Animals, Sully. With Hacksaw getting Pic and Director and Actor attention, a bit surprising it didn’t land a nod here.

4) The New York Film Critics Circle named their winners today. La La Land (the current front runner for Best Picture) was victorious. However, Director went to Barry Jenkins yet again for his work in Moonlight. Casey Affleck took another Actor prize with Isabelle Huppert in Elle helping her case out with an Actress win. Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Michelle Williams (for both Manchester and Certain Women) won their Supporting categories. The NYFCC combines screenplay into one and Manchester took top honors there.

Whew. Lots of information, I know, with plenty to digest! Taking all that into account and knowing there’s a bunch more precursors to come – here’s where I have the eight major races standing at this moment:

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 4)

3. Moonlight (PR: 3)

4. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

5. Fences (PR: 2)

6. Lion (PR: 5)

7. Arrival (PR: 8)

8. Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

9. Loving (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

10. Hell or High Water (PR: 11)

11. Jackie (PR: 9)

12. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 16)

13. Sully (PR: 15)

14. Patriots Day (PR: 13)

15. 20th Century Women (PR: 12)

16. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 17)

17. Live by Night (PR: 14)

18. Passengers (PR: Not Ranked)

19. The Jungle Book (PR: 18)

20. The Founder (PR: 19)

Dropped Out:

Gold

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 4)

4. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 3)

5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 6)

7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 7)

8. Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 8)

10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Pablo Larrain, Jackie

Best Actor

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 4)

4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 5)

5. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities

6. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 3)

7. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 7)

8. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 6)

9. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 3)

4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)

5. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)

7. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 5)

8. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 7)

9. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

10. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 9)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 1)

2. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 3)

3. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 2)

4. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 5)

5. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 6)

7. Adam Driver, Silence (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 8)

9. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 7)

10. Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)

5. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

8. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 8)

9. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 9)

10. Bryce Dallas Howard, Gold (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

2. Moonlight (PR: 1)

3. La La Land (PR: 3)

4. Hell or High Water (PR: 4)

5. Loving (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

7. The Lobster (PR: 8)

8. Jackie (PR: 7)

9. Patriots Day (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Captain Fantastic (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Gold

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Silence (PR: 3)

3. Lion (PR: 2)

4. Arrival (PR: 5)

5. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

Other Possibilties

6. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 4)

7. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 8)

8. Sully (PR: 10)

9. Elle (PR: 9)

10. Indignation (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Live by Night

Whew! And there you have it…

Let’s see what transpires over the next 7 days until my next round! Until then…

 

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!

A Boost for The Revenant

Last night, the Directors Guild of America bestowed their Best Director honor and it went to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for his work in The Revenant. It follows his win at the Golden Globes. This is the second year in a row that the DGA has honored Mr. Inarritu after his victory for Birdman in 2014.

So what does this mean for the Oscars taking place three weeks from today? Well, it certainly gives Inarritu a leg up over over his competitors George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Adam McKay (The Big Short), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), and Lenny Abrahamson (Room). The DGA winner and Oscar winner have matched 21 out of 25 times since 1990. That’s 84%, folks. It is probably reasonable to say that he is the front runner to win come Oscar night. If so, he will be the first auteur to win back to back golden statues in 65 years, since Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1949 and 1950.

As for whether that translates to a Best Picture win for The Revenant, that question is murkier. While the Picture recipient matches up more often than not with the Director victor, that hasn’t been the case for two of the last three years. While Inarritu’s Birdman did win the big prize a year ago, Ang Lee took Director in 2012 for Life of Pi while Argo won Picture. In 2013, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity work made him a winner while 12 Years a Slave took Picture. As I see it, 2015’s Picture race is still a close call between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short.

Bottom line: the DGA provided a boost for The Revenant’s maker to be honored in three weeks for the second time in as many years.

2015 Early Oscar Predictions: Best Director

We have arrived at the Best Director portion of my incredibly early Oscar predictions for 2015. When I made predictions in this category last year for 2014 pics, it yielded 3 of the five eventual nominees and the other two were listed as other possibilities.

In the Director race, it’s safe to assume that all predicted directors will likely see their pictures nominated as well (my Best Picture prognostications will be up tomorrow). My current field includes three previous winners: Danny Boyle for Steve Jobs (he won in 2008 for Slumdog Millionaire), Tom Hooper for The Danish Girl (he won in 2010 for The King’s Speech), and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Revenant (he won just last year for Birdman). Other previous recipients like Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies), Robert Zemeckis (The Walk) and Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea) are certainly possible as well.

David O. Russell’s last three projects (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) have been showered with Oscar love so I’ll include him for December’s Joy. And Carol has been receiving festival raves and that could bode well for Todd Haynes.

Others to keep an eye out for: if The Hateful Eight garners the kind of love that Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained did, Quentin Tarantino could find himself in the mix. And don’t count out George Miller, whose direction in particular was lauded for this summer’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

And with that:

TODD’S EARLY PREDICTIONS – BEST DIRECTOR

Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs

Todd Haynes, Carol

Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant

David O. Russell, Joy

Other Possibilities:

Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead

Scott Cooper, Black Mass

John Crowley, Brooklyn

Sarah Gavron, Suffragette 

Michael Grandage, Genius

Ron Howard, In the Heart of the Sea

Angelina Jolie, By the Sea

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Jay Roach, Trumbo

Ridley Scott, The Martian

Paolo Sorrentino, Youth

Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Denis Villeneueve, Sicario

Robert Zemeckis, The Walk

If you missed my previous entries covering the acting categories, they’re linked here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/09/03/2015-early-oscar-predictions-best-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/09/02/2015-early-oscar-predictions-best-actress/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/09/01/2015-early-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actor/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/30/2015-early-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actress/