Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Last year’s nominees: David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Gus Van Sant (Milk), Stephen Daldry (The Reader), Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

This year’s DGA nominees: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Lee Daniels (Precious)

Other contenders: Clint Eastwood (Invictus), Neill Blomkamp (District 9), Tom Ford (A Single Man), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are)

The rundown: Only four times in the past fifty years (twice in the past five years, actually) have all five films nominated for Best Picture also been nominated for Best Director. That doesn’t necessarily apply this year due to the expanded Best Picture field. The lone director nominee only happened twice in the twelve years between 1931 and 1943 that the Best Picture race had more than five nominees. This year, as usual, four of the films are locked in this category, but the fifth nominee is a bit iffier. The Directors Guild of America is usually a good predictor of the Best Picture rather than the Best Director race, so therefore Lee Daniels’ mention doesn’t mean much. I’m going with Eastwood for the last slot, but it could easily be one of the other four possibilities I’ve listed, especially Blomkamp. I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise here, but the five nominees I’ve predicted make up a pretty fantastic bunch.

Forecasted winner: Kathryn Bigelow

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