Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 15th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

This year’s locks: Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)

Very likely: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Possible: Ava DuVernay (Selma), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), David Fincher (Gone Girl), Clint Eastwood (American Sniper), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Unlikely: Angelina Jolie (Unbroken), James Marsh (The Theory of Everything), Christopher Nolan (Interstellar)

The rundown: Two years ago, this category went crazy, matching up 2/5 with the Globe and DGA lists and resulting in some serious snubs. This year, there are only three directors that have been recognized across the board, and those are Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), and, somewhat surprisingly, Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). Anderson is vulnerable, sure, but he seems to be incredibly strong. Ava DuVernay (Selma) saw her film miss out on yet another guild when DGA snubbed her yesterday, but I think she’ll be able to make it. I was surprised that David Fincher (Gone Girl) didn’t make the cut with DGA, but he was snubbed by Oscar after DGA endorsed “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” so he’s officially fallen out of my predictions. It’s probably smart for me to bet on DGA inclusions Clint Eastwood (American Sniper) and Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), but I’m endorsing Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) instead since he feels like a Benh Zeitlin-type nominee who could really peak at the end of this awards race. Angelina Jolie (Unbroken), James Marsh (The Theory of Everything), and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) should have showed up already and they barely have, so count them out. I’m not at all secure in these predictions, but I do think that whatever this list looks like, it won’t be what we what all expect.

One possible crazy scenario: Support for Rob Marshall (Into the Woods) shows up from out of nowhere.

Forecasted winner: I think this is Linklater’s to lose unless DuVernay really gains momentum.

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