Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) sits way out in front of his nearest competitor with a perfect score from the Gold Rush Gang. Reigning Best Director winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant) sits at #2 but look at George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road). After the huge success his film has had with the critics awards (winning a half dozen Best Picture prizes) and how Miller himself has performed with them, the Australian born Oscar winner (for Happy Feet, no less) has bulleted past Ridley Scott (The Martian), who was set to claim the ‘veteran director without a Directing Oscar’ label. The success of Mad Max: Fury Road has put the film into top 5 status and if there was going to be a split season between Best Picture and Best Director (assuming Spotlight is the BP winner) Miller would seem the most likely to benefit.
But, we’re not counting out Todd Haynes to receive his first Best Director Oscar nomination (for Carol) and Irish-born Lenny Abrahamson (Room) could surprise here as well. Even though there’s a single vote for David O. Russell (Joy) on the chart, don’t count on it lasting too long.
Could we see some surprises here? Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies) almost always is someone to never count out but where’s the passion for this film? It’s been mostly the Mark Rylance show and the film couldn’t even break into the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes outside of Rylance. John Crowley’s Brooklyn has some passionate support but like Bridge of Spies, it’s turned into a one-person show for lead actress Saoirse Ronan. What we could see is a sneak attack by Adam McKay. The Big Short is playing very well at the box office, got a Screen Actors Guild Cast nomination and a Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) nom from the Globes. He’s definitely one to potentially spoil.
What about Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)? A 3-hour opus shot in 70mm seems like candy the directors branch can’t pass up. If he hits the DGA, the two-time Best Director nominee could make is three.
|Tom McCarthy — Spotlight||50||1|
|Alejandro G. Iñárritu — The Revenant||32||2|
|George Miller — Mad Max: Fury Road||27||3|
|Ridley Scott — The Martian||18||4|
|Todd Haynes — Carol||18||4|
|David O. Russell — Joy||4||6|
|Lenny Abrahamson — Room||1||7|
To follow the Gold Rush Gang and their Best Director predictions and find out how we voted, go here.