Post Festival Predictions
Luca Guadagnino "Call Me By Your Name"
Denis Villeneuve "Blade Runner 2049"
Joe Wright "Darkest Hour"
Christopher Nolan "Dunkirk"
Guillermo Del Toro "The Shape of Water"
Other Contenders - Steven Spielberg "The Post", Martin McDonagh "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", Dee Rees "Mudbound", Paul Thomas Anderson "Phantom Thread", Greta Gerwig "Lady Bird", Jordan Peele "Get Out", Sean Baker "The Florida Project", Michael Gracey "The Greatest Showman", Patty Jenkins "Wonder Woman", Rian Johnson "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", Kathryn Bigelow "Detroit", Alexander Payne "Downsizing", James Mangold "Logan", Ridley Scott "All the Money in the World", Edgar Wright "Baby Driver", Sofia Coppola "The Beguiled", Michael Showalter "The Big Sick", Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris "Battle of the Sexes", Todd Haynes "Wonderstruck", Richard Linklater "Last Flag Flying", Aaron Sorkin "Molly's Game", Darren Aronofsky "mother!", Matt Reeves "War for the Planet of the Apes", Taylor Sheridan "Wind River"
Commentary - In the last several years of the Best Picture expansion, this category has rewarded the visionary director, the technical expertise director, over the Best Picture winner. The one exception was Birdman, which was a combination of technical expertise, ensemble acting, and an Academy-friendly story line, and overcame this split. That is why I have three directors at the top: Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve, and Guillermo Del Toro. These are the types of directors, and their films the types of films, that the Academy has awarded in this category in recent years. I also think that this branch, which has hailed foreign directors in the past, will reward Italian Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name, which is also stylish in its own right. Joe Wright missed out for Atonement, but Darkest Hour is climbing the Oscar charts, and he is well-overdue for some recognition from his peers. But these five are in the lion fight. First is Martin McDonagh. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a crowd-pleaser, and he is on the cusp. Steven Spielberg is always in contention, Dee Rees, Sean Baker, Greta Gerwig, and Jordan Peele are breakout stars, and previous nominees like Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater, Ridley Scott, Darren Aronofsky, Kathryn Bigelow, Alexander Payne, and Sofia Coppola will inspire votes. Michael Gracey could inspire folks with the showy Greatest Showman, Patty Jenkins, James Mangold, Matt Reeves and Rian Johnson could get one for the studio films, Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut got good reviews, Edgar Wright is visionary, Michael Showalter is now a proven master of indie comedies, Dayton and Feris brought a crowd-pleaser, and Todd Haynes has been flirting with Oscar for years. All should be kept on your radar.