Oscar Circuit: Best Director

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Our look at the individual Oscar categories continues.  If you missed a piece, click on the tag titled Oscar Circuit 2014.  You can also see the official Oscar Predictions page for Best Director.

And the Nominees are…

  • Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
  • Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
  • Alexander Payne – Nebraska
  • David O. Russell – American Hustle
  • Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

The one category that, more than any other, is tied in with Best Picture…we come now to the Best Director race. In some years, this is a very competitive category, especially last year when we knew that there would be the race split between Picture and Director. This year, there’s a sense among some that we could see another split, but over the almost decade that I’ve been doing this now (yes, I feel old), it’s never been good business to predict a split. As such, how you feel about one category should really impact your thinking about the other. What’s tripping folks up is how locked the Director race is, which either makes for a more locked in Picture race than most think, or the split is about to happen. Regardless of that, one thing is for certain with Director…you’d best be predicting Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity. He’s as close to a sure thing as there is in this Academy Awards lineup. We’ll discuss specifics shortly, but Cuarón is all but an Oscar night lock.

First off, a bit of history for everyone, as I like to do for the Oscar Circuit pieces each and every year. The last ten winners in this category have been Ang Lee for Life of Pi, Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men, Martin Scorsese for The Departed, Ang Lee again for Brokeback Mountain, Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby, and Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. There’s not a whole lot you can really take from this group of previous victors besides the obvious point about just how rare a split is, but it’s worth taking note of that tidbit. This year could be an exception, but I wouldn’t bet on it.