In the last few years, predicting Best Director beyond a few obvious choices has become even tougher since the Best Picture pool has moved to a floating number. There could be ten BP nominees, and there will always only be five directors. It doesn’t make much sense, really.
Every year, there are shoe ins, and La La Land director Damien Chazelle is the biggest lock this season. Right behind him is Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by The Sea. His directing may not be as flashy as Chazelle, but the ability to give his tragic film such humor and texture of reality should be recognized.
Barry Jenkins will get recognized for his tremendous work on Moonlight, and he is my choice to take home the Oscar. Three sure things, leaving two slots for so many hopefuls. My fingers are crossed for Denis Villeneuve. Arrival is my personal favorite of 2016, a beautiful and timely science fiction masterpiece, so I hope it still has enough momentum to grab a handful of nods.
For the fifth slot, Garth Davis and his film Lion have been picking up tremendous steam these last few weeks. He could sneak in as the fifth nominee. On the other side of things, Jeff Nichols’ Loving has been too quiet, so his chances at a nomination are slim. That being said, Fences has been consistently on hearts and minds, and Denzel Washington breathing vibrant cinematic life into a terrific stage play will get the actor his first directing nomination.
BEST DIRECTOR PREDICTIONS
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by The Sea
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Denzel Washington – Fences
Up Next: Best Picture
Predicting Best Supporting Actor
Predicting Best Supporting Actress