Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Director

The competition: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Previous winners: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: Two of these nominees have been nominated once before in this category: Inarritu in 2006 for “Babel” and Miller in 2005 for “Capote.” Anderson, Inarritu, and Linklater are all also nominated for penning their film’s scripts. “Foxcatcher” is not nominated for Best Picture or Best Film Editing, and “Birdman” is not nominated for Best Film Editing. This award almost always corresponds with the Directors Guild of America winner. In 1995 and 2012, the DGA picks – Ron Howard and Ben Affleck – weren’t nominated for the Oscar, so Mel Gibson and Ang Lee won instead. In 2000, Globe and DGA winner Lee lost to Steven Soderbergh at the Oscars. The only time that the winners of the Globe and the DGA were different and both were nominated at the Oscars was in 2002 when Martin Scorsese won the Globe, Rob Marshall won the DGA, and Roman Polanski won the Oscar. This year, Linklater won the Globe and Inarritu won the Oscar.

Who should win: Inarritu
Who will win: Last year, Alfonso Cuaron was ahead to win Best Director, and did, while “12 Years a Slave” had Best Picture sewn up. This year, it’s “Birdman” versus “Boyhood,” with the former picking up steam after losing the top Globe races to the latter and then cleaning up at DGA, PGA, and SAG. Linklater has the bigger singular achievement in the epic that he created, but I think that Inarritu is going to ride the wave of a film that should appeal distinctly to industry players who see a lot of themselves in the film.

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