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Six Spot #5: Best Director 2011

Oscar Question

Oscar Question

Welcome back to The Six Spot!  In case you missed last week’s 2003 Best Actress Six Spot, you can catch it here.

This week, we discuss one of the more interesting pre-nomination races of the last decade, the 2011 Best Director race.  Unlike the four previous Six Spots, where we had a ton of non-nominees with impressive precursor credentials fighting for the Six Spot, the 2011 Best Director race had an unquestionable dearth of also-rans with precursor mentions.  And those also-rans with precursor mentions typically didn’t direct one of the nine Best Picture nominees.  So we’re in very weird, murky water when trying to find evidence.

Here goes nothing!

The First Five Spots

michel hazanavicius

The Academy Award nominees were

  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Breakdown of Seasonal Hardware

 Martin Scorsese

  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
    • Key Wins: DGA, BAFTA, NYFCC, Indie Spirits
    • Key Nominations: Golden Globe, Boston Society of Film Critics (runner-up)
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
    • Key Nominations: DGA, Golden Globe
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
    • Key Wins: LAFCA, NSFC, Palme d’Or
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
    • Key Nominations: DGA, Golden Globe, BFCA, Indie Spirits
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
    • Key Wins: Golden Globe, NBR, Boston Society of Film Critics
    • Key Nominations: DGA, BAFTA, BFCA, NYFCC (runner-up), LAFCA (runner-up), NSFC (runner-up)


  • Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    • Key Nominations: BFCA and EL&IC was nominated for Best Picture
  • Steven Spielberg, War Horse
    • Key Nominations: BFCA, Satellite Awards, and War Horse was nominated for Best Picture
  • Tate Taylor, The Help
    • Key Nominations: Satellite Awards, Phoenix Film Critics Society, and the Image Awards.  The Help was nominated for Best Picture
  • Bennett Miller, Moneyball
    • Key Nominations: Moneyball was nominated for Best Picture.
  • David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    • Key Nominations: DGA
  • George Clooney, The Ides of March
    • Key Nominations: Golden Globe
  • Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive
    • Key Wins: Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director
    • Key Nominations: BAFTA, BFCA, Indie Spirit
  • Tomas Alfredson, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy
    • Key Nominations: BAFTA and Golden Satellite
  • Lynne Ramsay, We Need to Talk About Kevin
    • Key Nominations: BAFTA

What do you think?

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Written by Sam Coffey

Attorney-at-law, Oscaroligist, coffee lover, Fantasy Football silver medalist, soccer fan (Orlando City SC), Geoffrey Rush enthusiast, and Time's 2006 Person of the Year.

Sam joined The Awards Circuit in January 2014, predicting all award shows with 100% accuracy ever since. A.K.A. "the stat guy."


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Anthony Moseley

I dunno. I would predict Tate Taylor myself solely based on the love for The Help, but you can’t deny the influence of Spielberg so that’s a solid choice as well. Honestly, I was surprised War Horse (along with EL&IC) was even nominated for Best Picture.

Robert MacFarlane

You… DO realize this is the site where Robert Hamer gave The Descendants half a star out of four, right? To be afraid of commenting on the film is a moot point when there’s someone here that hates it far more than you.


Can’t say I agree with your logic at all… Like Spielberg and Fincher are obviously high contenders, but Refn? Not a chance in hell. What movie gets only Director and Sound Editing, while missing its seemingly in-the-bag acting nomination? I’d say Bennett Miller actually had the best chance to score a directing nomination, with Spielberg and Fincher trailing right behind him.

Jamie Teller

I’d say Fincher, but the case for Miller is decently strong. I’d love if it were von Trier or Alfredson, especially since I hated Midnight in Paris (and don’t see why that direction needed to be nominated), but I know the Academy.

Terence Johnson

I’d go with Bennett Miller, with Miller probably edging out the other two since his film received BP, editing, acting, and script mentions.

Tate Taylor by all accounts SHOULD have been the 6th spot but he couldn’t even manage an adapted screenplay nomination in a weak year. Fincher’s film managed several big nominations (And that editing win!) but if they weren’t going for that movie in picture, he wasn’t getting a director nomination

And as for Refn…LOL that was never going to happen. Drive couldn’t even get Brooks nominated


I had narrowed it down to Spielberg and Miller, and I think it was Miller.

Spielberg: It’s clear they enjoyed the film, but aside from the Best Picture nomination, it’s other nominations were just techs.

Miller: In his case, his film also got six nominations, and other than Picture, it did get two acting, writing, and one of its tech nominations was for editing. I say him mainly because of how Moneyball was a player in the major categories.


Okay, I’d like to make a suggestion. Best Actress 2007.

The nominees were:

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose (winner)
Laura Linney, Savages
Ellen Page, Juno

Who just missed out on a nomination? Angelina Jolie? Keira Knightley? Amy Adams? Helena Bonham Carter? Or maybe someone else entirely?

I would love for you to do this.

Sara Juarez

My six spot was Refn based on the number of critics awards. And I’m proud to say I predicted Terrence Malick, as you can see here's my tumblr page, no spam, I promise!).

Also, don’t dismiss Jonah Hill :)


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