THE STATE OF THE RACE: Best Director

leedaniels

During this time of year as the buzz builds around Oscar possible films, actors, actresses, and writers, one of the big categories that consistently is ignored is Best Director. The Gurus of Gold and other Oscar pick compilations rarely consider the Best Director frontrunners. It seems to be the general attitude that Directors are judged based on how well their film does in the Best Picture category.

In previous years Oscar pundits have found themselves making guesses as to which directors are going to be the “wild card” – the one who gets a Best Director nomination, despite their film not getting a Best Picture nomination. However, with 10 Best Picture nominees in the field this year, it would be a shocker if any of the Best Director nominees find themselves “wild cards.” What might be more interesting to pick is which films will get nominations without their directors (give you a hint, there will probably be five of them).

Therefore, in deciding my predictions for Best Director I had to go through a process of elimination. I looked at the ten films that I have down for Best Picture nominations and eliminated the directors one by one until I was left with my five nominees. Here is how my logic went:

1) First I pulled off Pete Docter, director of Up. Despite the fact that he directed one of the best films of the year it is still an animated film, a genre that never gets the credit it deserves.

2) Second I removed Tom Ford, director of A Single Man. His film seems the least likely of the bunch to actually secure a Best Picture nomination. It has a lot of critical support, but doesn’t look like it will be the Academy’s type of film because of its subject. If the film is barely hanging on, than Ford is far off the radar.

3) Third I took down the Coen Bros., directors of A Serious Man. They are easily two of the Best Directors working, but they only seem to score nominations if their film is a hands down Awards favorite, like No Country for Old Men. They have a couple things going against them, most notably that their film is a comedy, which Oscar doesn’t love, an there is two of them, and dual director films rarely get nominated here.

4) Fourth I pulled off Peter Jackson, director of The Lovely Bones. Mr. Jackson could very well find himself with a nomination come next year, but nobody has seen his film yet, which makes it difficult to call him a contender.

5) Lastly, I removed Lone Scherfig, director of An Education. This was where it got really tricky. It will all depend on how the precursors turn out. If she and her film get major support early on, she could be a solid player in this category, but her film isn’t quite baity enough. This will probably be one of those rare cases where the actors and screenplay get nominated, but the director does not.

So where does that leave me? The five nominations are Lee Daniels for Precious, Rob Marshall for Nine, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, Clint Eastwood for Invictus, and Jason Reitman for Up in the Air.

And who is the frontrunner? I’ll bestow that honor on Lee Daniels. The battle cry against the film Precious has been slowly getting louder, which causes some concern. However, just as loud are the voices of support for the film. The film’s record-setting $100,000 per theatre average this past weekend shows that the public is behind the film as well. Its gradual release schedule sets it up to be a perfect Awards contender and if it does make it all the way to the big prize, expect Daniels to be along for the ride.

Check out the detailed Best Director predictions!

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