Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Oscar Predictions: Director

Best Directorial Achievement

Continuing our breakdown of the top eight Oscar categories, here in December, let’s look at the Director category.  There are fewer options here, as opposed to Best Picture, but that’s only to be expected considering the fact that only five nominees are allowed here, as opposed to the ten that could possibly pop up in Best Picture.  That isn’t to say that there aren’t surprises, and sometimes we’ll see this particular voting branch think outside of the boxes that the rest of Oscar have placed them in.  Think about those surprise nominations for Mike Leigh and Michael Haneke and Fernando Meirelles.  This branch likes to spread the wealth and reward auteurs for doing accessible work when they have the chance.

That doesn’t mean they don’t nominate bland, by-the-numbers direction if it is in an Oscar frontrunner.  I mean, look at the Tom Hooper and Taylor Hackford.

But, let’s take a look at how things are looking this year.

Dude, dude, guess what...I'm winning an Oscar!
So, much like in Best Picture, there are two directors who are way out in front.  Richard Linklater has 22 mentions and 14 wins, while Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu has 14 mentions and 3 wins.  They aren’t getting snubbed.

1) Linklater
2) Inarritu

After them, Ava DuVernay looks like the safest bet.  Not only does she have 9 nominations and a win under her belt, but there is so much buzz surrounding what her nomination would mean for Oscar (not only is she a woman, but she’s African American, and would be the first female African American nominee in the history of the awards) that for her to miss, it would be deemed a tragedy and I’m not sure that AMPAS is ready for that kind of backlash.

3) DuVernay

Then we have two names who continue to pop up; Wes Anderson and David Fincher.  Anderson was a shock, but he’s his BFCA and Globes and has 11 nominations.  Fincher has also hit the two big ones, and has 9 nominations.  It would seem that Wes is in the better position, but I still feel like Gone Girl is in the better position, BP wise, and that means something here as well.  While it may seem that both of them are in at this point, there are the two ‘by-the-numbers’ directors to take into consideration, Marsh and Tyldum.  Tyldum would be in the better position, considering that his film is better poised for a possible BP win, and he has Harvey, and Marsh has nothing yet (not even a single nomination).  Tyldum has 3 mentions. 

Do you think they know what they're doing?
I think that two of these four are making it in, at this point, but trying to figure out who is frustrating.  My gut says that Tyldum is taking a spot, but my heart says he misses.

I guess I better bite the bullet.

4) Fincher
5) Tyldum

After that, there are a few stragglers to consider.  Chazelle is getting a lot of support for Whiplash.  I don’t know if that’ll mean anything for a film that isn’t a Top Five contender, but his 9 mentions and 2 wins are nothing to scoff at.  Mike Leigh could also surface, if he gets a lot of BAFTA love.  He’s a previous nominee and his film has made an impact I didn’t expect it to. 

Who’s getting tossed off of the Award’s Tally Page?

Jolie (who just got put on for her BFCA nom), Eastwood (who won the NBR), Nolan (who has one mention) Miller (who won in Cannes and then disappeared) and Vallee (who took home a HFA Breakthrough win).  They don’t have a chance in this field.  Now, if one of them manages a DGA nom, I’ll reconsider, but I don’t see that happening.


  1. I think it'll be between Inarritu and Linklater. Haven't seen Boyhood yet but it's gotten so much praise left and right. Of course I'd rather see Inarritu win as I LOVE Birdman. I'd rather see Fincher get a nom than Tyldum, I mean The Imitation Game was good but it's a pretty conventional biopic overall.

    1. I'll never understand that unanimous praise for Boyhood as a whole, especially the direction. Like, it's an ok movie, but really says nothing and doesn't do anything special with the gimmick it has going for it.

  2. I think directors in the Academy will love The Imitation Game enough to nominate Tyldum. I'd put him at #4, with probably Anderson in fifth. Fincher missing for Dragon Tattoo (after a DGA nod) has me hesitant to predict him for Gone Girl.

    1. One thing to remember with regards to Fincher and his Oscar snub for Dragon Tattoo...that film was heavily embargoed and had no time to build momentum. It STILL wound up getting multiple Oscar nods and then won one. Had the embargo been lifted and the reviews been able to set earlier, I have full confidence that Fincher would have been nominated and the film would have also made it into BP. It just needed that time. Gone Girl has that time, and proof is that Fincher is hitting everywhere important. Globe, BFCA, almost every minor critics body. He's always popping up in the top five. Anderson is too, but where Fincher could benefit is from the fact that he's already a two time Oscar nominee...and they like welcoming back their own...and Gone Girl is a more serious minded film, and they tend to gravitate towards drama in this category.

    2. Yeah, but I think Academy voters would sooner vote for Budapest than Gone Girl. Plus, Budapest has a shot at more nominations across the board. Maybe I'm wrong. We'll find out soon enough. :)

    3. We will! I'm excited, for while the winners appear to be as expected, the nominees could bring some surprises!

  3. I wouldn't rule out Jolie because then there would be 2 women directors up for best Director nods and, considering the air out there-an African-Amercian woman and another woman director would make the academy look "hip". They often don't look at the value of the film. Then again many in the Academy may feel Jolie gets too much air time

    1. If Jolie had landed a Globe nod, I'd have kept her up for a bit, but her reviews were just not strong enough. It's hard for me to admit...since I've been touting her as the Oscar winner all year, but you win some you lose some.