Saturday, January 11, 2020

Oscar Predictions: Best Director

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday, January 13th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories.

Last year’s nominees: Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Adam McKay (Vice)

My choices: Coming next week!

This year’s locks: Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Very likely: Sam Mendes (1917)

Possible: Todd Phillips (Joker), Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Pedro Almodovar (Pain and Glory)

Unlikely: Mati Drop (Atlantics), Alma Har’el (Honey Boy)

The rundown: This is an intense category. The Golden Globes and BAFTA picked the exact same list, while the DGA deviated with one choice. Last year, sure thing Bradley Cooper found himself snubbed while BAFTA inclusion Pawel Pawlikowski made the cut and DGA addition Yorgos Lanthimos also joined the list. It’s worth noting that the last time the Globe list matched Oscar was way back in 1982. The DGA matches much more frequently, most recently in 2009, 2005, and 1998. Since BAFTA started having five nominees in 1999, their list has matched only once, in 2000. Foreign film contender Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) and two-time nominee (in this category) Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) seem safest. It would be hard to imagine Globe winner Sam Mendes (1917) missing. Though the DGA snubbed him, I think Todd Phillips (Joker) rides a wave of support for his film to a nomination. Now we get to the complicated part. DGA pick Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) is possible, as is Pedro Almodovar (Pain and Glory), a nominee way back in 2002 for “Talk to Her,” which didn’t have the benefit of Best Actor buzz and a likely citation in the Best International Feature race. Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story) and Greta Gerwig (Little Women) will surely attract votes, but I don’t think that will be enough for either of them. It’s probably too late for Benny and Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems) to peak. Out of the DGA’s first-time filmmaker nominees, Mati Drop (Atlantics) and Alma Har’el (Honey Boy) may get some love but they would be a shock if they earned enough support. I’m going to go ahead and make a bold prediction of Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), whose film has earned many accolades but isn’t France’s submission for Best International Feature, which also means that expected sure thing Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) will miss. I may regret this, but I’m going for it.

One possible crazy scenario: My second-favorite film of the year merits a very worthwhile nomination for DGA first-time filmmaker nominee Joe Talbot (The Last Black Man in San Francisco).

Forecasted winner: I think Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) wins here.

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