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Friday, August 22, 2014



2014 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Director

Gravity poster

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we end this with the two most prestigious awards, starting with Best Director. You could generously call this a two-horse race, but in reality there is only one director expected to win.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for directing and not other categories.)

Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
Tomatometer Score: 97% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and DGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and DGA
Director's Previous Major Nominations: None
Director's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: As of this year, Alfonso Cuaron has six Oscar nominations, but only one of them is for directing. Gravity is a clear choice to win looking at most metrics. The reviews are astronomical and it has won both previous major awards. On the other hand, it is a Sci-fi film while it's main competitor is pure Oscar-bait. This is the only reason I think it isn't a lock to win the Oscar. I think it will win, but I don't think it is a lock.

Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, DGA, and Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Director's Previous Major Nominations: None
Director's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Steve McQueen is Alfonso Cuaron's only real competition when it comes to Best Director Oscar. The films' reviews are nearly identical, but Steve McQueen has missed out on the past two major Awards Season wins. On the other hand, 12 Years a Slave is the quintessential Oscar-bait film and this is the only reason I'm giving Steve McQueen a chance to win.

Alexander Payne for Nebraska
Tomatometer Score: 92% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Awards
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Director's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, Three Golden Globes, Two DGAs, and Three Independent Spirit Awards
Director's Previous Major Wins: Two Independent Spirit Awards
Notes: Alexander Payne has almost no chance to win. He hasn't picked up any major Awards Season wins and wasn't even nominated for the DGAs. Additionally, he's won two Oscars in the past, both for writing, so Awards Season voters won't be interested in giving him a makeup Oscar.

David O. Russell for American Hustle
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and DGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Director's Previous Major Nominations: Two Oscars, One Golden Globe, One DGA, and Two Independent Spirit Awards
Director's Previous Major Wins: One Independent Spirit Award
Notes: This is David O. Russell's fifth Oscar nomination, although a couple were earned for writing not directing. In many ways, he has a similar chance to win as Alexander Payne, but there's a small chance he could win a makeup Oscar this year, a very small chance.

Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street
Tomatometer Score: 77% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: DGA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Director's Previous Major Nominations: Seven Oscars, Eight Golden Globes, Eight DGAs, and One Independent Spirit Award
Director's Previous Major Wins: One Oscar, Three Golden Globes, One DGA, and One Independent Spirit Award
Notes: Martin Scorsese is arguably the longest of the long shots on this list. The Wolf of Wall Street earned the weakest reviews of the five films. It hasn't done as well as the others when it comes to Awards Season nominations. Plus Martin Scorsese recently won an Oscar, so he won't get a Lifetime Achievement Award. The evidence suggests he has no shot at winning.

Conclusion: Some might argue this is a two-way race between Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity and Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, but only if you think Oscar voters will be reluctant to vote for a Sci-fi film. I don't think that's going to be an issue and I think Alfonso Cuaron will pick up his first Oscar win.... Actually, it will probably be his second Oscar, because he's also up for Best Achievement in Film Editing, which will be announced before this Oscar is.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-27

Movies 
 Gravity
 12 Years a Slave
 Nebraska
 American Hustle
 The Wolf of Wall Street