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2019 Oscar Predictions: BEST DIRECTOR (December)

From top: Debra Granik, Lynne Ramsay and Marielle Heller aren’t in the Best Director conversation. They should be.

The Golden Globes have nominated Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuarón (ROMA), Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman) and Adam McKay (Vice).

The Critics’ Choice nominated those five plus Damien Chazelle (First Man) and Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite).

I think the Academy is going to deviate from this in a few ways. With no female director nominees from either group and a swell of support for Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) and Debra Granik (Leave No Trace), we could see a pivot from this seven men to one of them. Granik is the most likely, with recent wins from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as well as San Diego. Ramsay has three critics’ wins: Boston and the online sidebars from both Boston and Los Angeles.

While ROMA’s Alfonso Cuarón is the runaway favorite among critics, only Spike Lee, Granik and Ramsay have multiple wins. So why is Lee a contender but Granik and Ramsay left out in the cold? Their films are both popping up on more Top 10 lists than the men nominated instead of them. How is that not a clear bias? This has been a stellar year for female-directed films but these awards bodies are so timid to step outside of what they feel are likely Oscar contenders that the continuation of rubber stamping the likes of McKay and Farrelly, for films well below universal critical praise (Vice has a 59 on Metacritic), is an abomination. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Critics’ Choice) and the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Critics’ Choice) should be dragged through the mud for such transparent shamelessness.

But will the Academy, who just nominated Mel Gibson two years ago, really go outside of that box themselves? I want to say yes. I think they can; they certainly have enough choices in front of them. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) will give us some insight on January 8th. I doubt they’ll go for Granik or Ramsay there.

This is a tough category to predict. We could see two black directors nominated in the same year for the first time (or possibly even three). We could finally see another woman nominated. There have only ever been FIVE in 90 years (Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion – who is championing Granik, Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow – who won, and Greta Gerwig last year). Let’s do the math: that’s 438 Best Director nominees since 1929. Five of them women. .0114%. Point Zero One One Four percent. Get it the fuck together, Academy.

Leave No Trace has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. You Were Never Really Here has an 89%. Can You Ever Forgive Me is 98%. Think about that the next time you say ‘Well, if they directed good films, they’d be nominated…”

Here are my 2019 Oscar predictions in Best Director for December 21, 2018.

Green – moves up; Red – moves down; Blue – chart debut

1. Alfonso Cuarón – ROMA (BFCA, GG)
2. Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born (BFCA, GG)
3. Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman (BFCA, GG)
4. Ryan Coogler – Black Panther
5. Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite (BFCA)

6. Debra Granik – Leave No Trace (Spirit)
7. Adam McKay – Vice (BFCA, GG)
8. Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk (Spirit)
9. Peter Farrelly – Green Book (BFCA, GG)
10. Damien Chazelle – First Man (BFCA)

OTHER CONTENDERS

Marielle Heller – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War
Paul Schrader – First Reformed (Spirit)
Rob Marshall – Mary Poppins Returns
Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here

2019 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTRESS (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: ADAPTED and ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: BEST ACTOR (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: SUPPORTING ACTOR (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: SUPPORTING ACTRESS (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: FILM EDITING and CINEMATOGRAPHY (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: PRODUCTION DESIGN and COSTUME DESIGN (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: SOUND EDITING and SOUND MIXING (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: ANIMATED FEATURE, DOCUMENTARY FEATURE and FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING and VISUAL EFFECTS (December)

2019 Oscar Predictions: ORIGINAL SCORE and ORIGINAL SONG (December)

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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