AND THE NOMINEES FOR BEST DIRECTOR OF A MOTION PICTURE WILL BE:
KENNETH BRANAGH (BELFAST) With excellent reviews and audiences in rapture, Kenneth Branagh gets his second nod for Best Director following “Henry V” back in 1989.
JANE CAMPION (THE POWER OF THE DOG) For her triumph in adapting Thomas Harris’ novel Campion is certain to get her second nomination for Best Director following “The Piano” in 1993.
RYUSUKE HAMAGUSHI (Drive My Car) The NYFCC and LAFCA choice for Best Film, Drive My Car is now poised for nominations in the Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best International Film categories.
STEVEN SPIELBERG (WEST SIDE STORY) The film has been kept under wraps, but Tony Kushner’s adaptation looks like it could be a major hit and with major buzz, Spielberg will almost certainly land his eighth Oscar nomination for Best Director following “Close Encounters” (1977), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “ET” (1982), “Schindler’s List” (1993) – First Oscar, “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) – Second Oscar, “Munich” (2005) and “Lincoln” (2012). This nomination would tie him with Billy Wilder as Oscar’s third most nominated director behind William Wyler with 12 nominations and Martin Scorsese with 9 nominations.
DENIS VILLENEUVE (DUNE) For helming a difficult project to success Villeneuve will get his second nomination as Best Director following “Arrivals” in 2016.
AND NINE ADDITIONAL CONTENDERS:
PEDRO ALMODOVAR (Parallel Mothers) The Directors Branch are always Foreign Language Movie friendly and, although his chances are fading, Pedro Almodovar, could still get his second Best Director nomination following “Talk to Her” in 2002.
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON (Licorice Pizza) With Best Director and Best Film nods form the National Board of Review and Best Screenplay from the NYFCC he’s a serious contender. However, I think the movie is too shaggy-dog for the director’s branch. It would be his third Best Director nomination following “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Phantom Thread” in 2017.
JOEL COEN (The Tragedy of Macbeth) For successfully adapting Shakespeare’s most problematic play and giving Denzel, Frances and a case load of exceptional actors their chance to shine, Joel Coen, in his first outing without his brother Ethan, could receive his fourth Best Director nomination following “Fargo” (1996),” No Country For Old Men” (2007) – a win – and “True Grit” in 2010
ASGHAR FARHADI (A Hero) Following his Best International Film wins for both “A Separation” in 2011 and “The Salesman” in 2016 plus an Original Screenplay nomination for the former, Asghar Farhadi returns with “A Hero”, Iran’s entry in for Best International Film. However, it could also show up in the lists for Best Director, Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. Winner of the Grand Prix (second place) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and both Best Foreign Language and Best Original Screenplay from the National Board of Review. His first nomination for Best Director.
REINALDO MARCUS GREEN (King Richard) With definite Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Film and a possible chance at Best Original Screenplay, Reinaldo Marcus Green could easily make the final five. His first nomination.
PABLO LARRAIN (Spencer) With Kristin Stewart a favorite to win Best Actress, a possible supporting nod for Sally Hawkins and likely nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Film, Pablo Larraín has a chance for a best Director slot , but it’s a slim one. It would be his first nomination.
JONAS POHER RASMUSSEN (Flee) For his astonishing and groundbreaking animated documentary feature, Danish director Jonas Poher Rasmussen has a chance of a Best Director nomination, albeit a relatively slim one. Better odds in the Original Screenplay, International Film, Animated Film and Documentary Feature categories.
PAULO SORRENTINO (The Hand of God) The former Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2013 (“The Great Beauty”) will almost certainly be back in the Best International Film category, again representing Italy, with his highly praised “The Hand of God”. Although it’s a long shot, he could also nab a Best Director slot and either displace or join Almodovar in the final five. The Directors Branch have previously nominated 2 Foreign Language Film Directors in the same year on only two previous occasions: 1976 with Ingmar Bergman for “Face to Face” and Lina Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties” and in 2018 with Alfonso Cuaron (the eventual winner) for “Roma” and Pawel Pawlikowski for “Cold War” – I’m not including Lelouch/Antonioni in 1966 or Bergman/Bertolucci in 1973 since “Blow Up” and most of “Last Tango” were spoken in either entirely or mostly in English. His first Best Director nomination and second nomination overall.
JOACHIM TRIER (The Worst Person in the World) With this final piece in his Oslo trilogy, Trier has delivered his most perfect film to date. So good, in fact, that he may cause a major upset and end up as one of the Best Director Nominees. It would be his First Nomination.