Oscar Race: Best Director

This year’s awards season has had very little overall narrative to it. Every set of nominations that come out make me rearrange everything on my lists. In the short time of me writing this post, the five people I have predicted for Best Director have changed several times. Granted, a couple are set in stone, but it has been really difficult to gauge what films the industry is behind.

I think there are three men who will definitely be hearing their names called: Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), and Ridley Scott (The Martian). All three directors scored nominations at the Golden Globes, and all three films were nominated by the Producer’s Guild of America. They are the three movies that continue to show up time and again. So, I think these men are pretty safe.

My fourth pick is going to be Alejandro González Iñáritu (The Revenant), who also received a Golden Globe nomination. The Revenant has continued gaining momentum, picking up a PGA nom as well. It’s a film that has the added bonus of DiCaprio press and being very male-centric (as we know, the demographics for the Academy and industry as a whole leans overwhelmingly male). There is also the narrative of, “Can he win two years in a row?” that could help. So, Iñáritu is my fourth pick.


My heart wants to round out the fifth spot with Todd Haynes (Carol). He and the film do have their fair share of nominations this season to justify it, but Carol missing out on PGA and Art Directors Guild nominations is a huge blow, showing the support in the industry is not as strong as we thought. It will have the actors behind it, as well the cinematographers, but Haynes might need a little more help propping him up now. If the Directors Guild nominations come out and he is on the list, I think he is in. But now? I don’t think so.

Surprisingly (in a good way), my fifth choice is Adam McKay (The Big Short). Yes, the director of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The Big Short has surpassed any and all expectations this season that it possibly could. However, McKay has yet to be the guy nominated. I think for the DGA and the Oscars that will change. There is a The Big Short train rolling in the industry, and McKay will hop on.

A few other names to consider are the always Academy-friendly Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies), Lenny Abrahamson (Room), and Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, which has had an extremely strong showing this week but I’m still hesitant to place him higher). I think it does come down to McKay and Haynes, but any of these guys could theoretically sweep in and take it.

My Predictions:

  • Alejandro González Iñáritu – The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
  • Adam McKay – The Big Short
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott – The Martian

Do you think Adam McKay can get a nomination? Could George Miller actually win this award? Are you as disappointed as I am that all the contenders are men?

Other Oscar Category Predictions:

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