Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions: BEST DIRECTOR (June)

James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)

Best Director holds very steady with the exception of James Mangold moving into the top five for Fox’s Ford v Ferrari and Marielle Heller down to the Next Up section for Sony’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The Next Up section is populated by five exceptionally strong directors, some Oscar-nominated and some winners, that could easily be in the top 5 by year’s end.

Like last year, 2019 looks to have a stellar set of female-directed films but will it also be like last year where none of them got nominated? Greta Gerwig (Sony’s Little Women) stands a good chance to become the first woman to be nominated twice for Best Director (slow clap at that taking 91 years) but among them we have Kasi Lemmons (Focus Features’ Harriet), the aforementioned Heller, Lulu Wang (A24’s The Farewell), Dee Rees (Netflix’s The Last Thing He Wanted), Chloé Zhao (Fox Searchlight’s Nomadland) and Melina Matsoukas (Universal’s Queen & Slim). There’s huge potential there but will voters have to coalesce around one woman to concentrate those votes? Obviously the answer is, no they shouldn’t have to, but there’s a reason there have only been five women ever nominated: the Academy’s (still) male-dominated directors branch is consistently pushing back on it. While in the past they’ve been famous for outside the box choices in a given year (the ‘lone director’ nomination) it only benefits male auteurs, never women. The recent years of increased inclusion and diversity within the yearly Academy invites is promising, as the directing branch is seeing the most expansion (percentage-wise), but until women get nominated it’s going to feel superficial. The other factor is looking at the studios behind each of those female-directed films above and asking, who will they push harder – them or male counterparts they feel are more likely?

Elsewhere, there are many contenders waiting to see if their studios and films are going to give them a strong festival push or simply toss them into the deep end of late December and hope they are seen right as the nomination voting period kicks off on January 2nd.

Here are my 2020 Oscar Nomination Predictions in Best Director for June 12, 2019.

Green – moves up Red – moves down Blue – new/re-entry

1. Martin Scorsese – The Irishman (Netflix)
2. Kasi Lemmons – Harriet (Focus Features)
3. Sam Mendes – 1917 (Universal)
4. Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
5. James Mangold – Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)

NEXT UP (alphabetical)

Marielle Heller – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony/Columbia)
Lulu Wang – The Farewell (A24)
Steven Soderbergh – The Laundromat (Netflix)
Greta Gerwig – Little Women (Sony/Columbia)
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Sony/Columbia)

OTHER CONTENDERS (alphabetical)

James Gray – Ad Astra (20th Century Fox)
Tom Hooper – Cats (Universal)
Wes Anderson – The French Dispatch (TBD)
John Crowley – The Goldfinch (Amazon/Warner Bros)
Bill Condon – The Good Liar (Warner Bros)
Terrence Malick – A Hidden Life (Fox Searchlight)
Destin Daniel Cretton – Just Mercy (Warner Bros)
Dee Rees – The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix)
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Fox Searchlight)
Pedro Almodóvar – Pain and Glory (Sony Classics)
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite (Neon)
Armando Iannucci – The Personal History of David Copperfield (TBD)
Fernando Meirelles – The Pope (Netflix)
Melina Matsoukas – Queen & Slim (Universal)
Scott Z. Burns – The Report (Amazon)
Noah Baumbach – Untitled Noah Baumbach (Netflix)
Jay Roach – Untitled Roger Ailes aka Fair and Balanced (Lionsgate)
Todd Haynes – Untitled Todd Hayes aka Dry Run (Focus Features)
Jordan Peele – Us (Universal)
Trey Edward Shults – Waves (A24)
Behn Zeitlin – Wendy (Fox Searchlight)

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