Monday, January 22, 2018

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 23rd. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

This year’s locks: Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Very likely: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

Possible: Jordan Peele (Get Out), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Sean Baker (The Florida Project), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Steven Spielberg (The Post), Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name)

Unlikely: Dee Rees (Mudbound), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World)

The rundown: This category is an interesting one. There’s technically only one lock – Golden Globe winner Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water). I can’t imagine any reason why Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) would be snubbed, but it’s happened twice before, and once when he was a sure thing for “Inception.” The Directors Guild of America added hot favorites Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), both of who weren’t cited at the Globes, and their films are on fire with no backlash, so I think they’ll make the cut. Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) has been nominated across the board so far, but I feel like he’s an easy one to fall out, though I’m less confident about that prediction now that the film has won both the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama and the SAG prize for Best Ensemble, not that either of those have everything to do with directing. Steven Spielberg (The Post) missed out on a DGA bid and so I and many others are counting him out, but he’s a veteran director who could easily get in. I’m surprised that Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) has sat out so much of this awards season, and therefore the chances for him and for Dee Rees (Mudbound) are very low, though they’ll surely get some votes. And we’ll have to call Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World) a Globe fluke since he’s popped up virtually nowhere else, and him being included for this mediocre movie would be a shock. For the fifth slot, I’m predicting Sean Baker (The Florida Project), a filmmaker who is likely to garner a number of votes despite not having amassed too many precursors. Here’s hoping!

One possible crazy scenario: It’s been unexpectedly popular, picking up a PGA bid among other things, and so maybe Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game) could end up with enough votes to earn him a spot.

Forecasted winner: This should belong to Del Toro without much trouble.

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