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We’re finally starting to see Martin Scorsese’s hold on the #1 spot be threatened by Ang Lee as the point spread between the two Oscar-winning director is whittled down to just four points (from 10 last month). Right now Silence and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk hold all of the #1 and #2 votes from the Gold Rush Gang and I don’t see that changing any time soon and unless we start to see something from Paramount in the form of a teaser or at least a few more production stills, Ang Lee could be #1 by next month.
Nate Parker (The Birth of a Nation) leaps back up to land at #3 over Loving‘s Jeff Nichols after the Cannes response to his film was respectful but not enthusiastic. Most commented on Nichols’ understated directing and simple storytelling as a drawback to the film, especially coming from a director that’s had a strong visual flair in his previous films.
Last month’s new entry, Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) gets bumped back down to Other Contenders and two-time Best Director winner Clint Eastwood (Sully) finds his way back on the chart.
Although the top 3 contenders here seem like very safe bets the rest of the field is wide open. Either way it will be a healthy mix of previous winners and first-time nominees (although very clearly lacking in any realistic female player – unless Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife becomes a big thing). If Lion is truly The Weinstein Company’s #1 film this year it could mirror the trajectory of The Imitation Game by playing every festival under the sun and director Garth Davis could go all the way to Oscar. Once Denis Villeneuve’s Story of Your Life decides on a title and release date he could be an even stronger contender.
But two directors from the Other Contenders section are who I’m looking out for as major spoilers here and that’s Morten Tyldum for Passengers (previous Best Director nominee of the aforementioned The Imitation Game) and Denzel Washington for Fences. Fences could end up playing out like Doubt and be an acting and writing contender only but I’m thinking that Washington stands a much better chance than we’re giving him credit for at this time.
Here are the June Oscar predictions for Best Director from The Gold Rush Gang:
Robert Zemeckis – Allied
Ben Younger – Bleed For This
Woody Allen – Café Society
Kelly Reichardt – Certain Women
Peter Berg – Deepwater Horizon
Denzel Washington – Fences
Tate Taylor – The Girl on the Train
Cédric Jimenez – HHhH
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Rob Reiner – LBJ
Derek Cianfrance – The Light Between Oceans
Yorgios Lanthimos – The Lobster
James Gray – The Lost City of Z
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
Morten Tyldum – Passengers
Niki Caro – The Zookeeper’s Wife
Follow the updated Gold Rush Gang predictions in other Oscar categories here:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE