This year’s Best Director Oscar race is shaping up to be a real game changer, and honestly, it’s perhaps the most exciting race right now (not that the Best Actor and Best Actress races aren’t competitive too). Of course, it is almost impossible to predict what will happen at the Oscars this year, but the quality of filmmaking in the best films of this 2020 is top-notch, and a significant degree of them were directed by women, women of color and men of color. . Case in point: it is quite possible that we could have at least two women nominated for Best Director in the same year. That shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is! It literally never happened before. In fact, only five women have been nominated for Best Director.
So let’s dive into the current state of the race and assess the trailblazers and who might make it to the nomination circle.
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland
David Fincher – Mank
Aaron Sorkin – The Chicago 7 trial
Regina King – One night in Miami …
Lee Isaac Chung – Threatening
Fennell emerald – Promising young woman
Paul Greengrass – World News
Spike Lee – Give 5 Bloods
Right now, the favorite to win the Oscar for Best Director seems to be Chloe zhao, who made waves a couple years ago with his quiet drama The horseman and has created one of the most moving movies of the year in Nomadland. The film uses naturalistic photographs and non-professional actors to tell the story of a grieving woman who lives on the road, with Frances McDormand also a strong contender to win the Best Actress award. But there is so much finesse and care in the direction of the film that much of the credit goes to Zhao for its success. These types of movies can sometimes appear shapeless or meandering, but Nomadland feels meticulously handcrafted. It’s hard to argue with a possible win for Zhao, but for now I’d say she’s pretty sure of at least getting a nomination.
Perhaps Zhao’s greatest competition is the only one David Fincher, also a meticulous filmmaker who made a very different kind of movie this year. To match the script’s stylized dialogue, Fincher crafted his semi-biopic Mank (on writing the script for Citizen Kane) as if it were made in the 30s and 40s, presenting the film in black and white with a mono soundtrack, “classic” cinematography and slightly stylized performances. It’s a film about film-making, traditionally loved by the Academy, and made with Fincher’s unmatched technical precision and skill. The main criticism pressed against Mank is that it has left some viewers a bit cold, but when it comes to the Best Director award, Academy voters have traditionally been eager to bestow technical magic (see: Leeward for The life of Pi Y Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity Y Rome). At the very least, expect Fincher to get his third Best Director nomination.
Then we have several assorted contenders who are competing for these five spots. Regina king made a major directorial debut with the stage adaptation One night in Miami (written by soul co-director Kemp powers), and its ability to capture compelling performances while keeping the film cinematic and powerful is amazing. She would be a well deserved nominee here. Idem Lee Isaac Chung whose autobiographical drama Threatening It could be a fairly significant Oscar contender in several categories. The film tells the story of a Korean-American family who move to Arkansas to start a farm and pursue the American dream, but it is all told through the eyes of a child. Chung’s handling in POV is wonderful, but it’s also a tremendously moving drama. So as not to make too fine a comparison, but since Threatening it’s also an A24 movie and has autobiographical elements, it feels a bit like this year Moonlight.
But one of the surprises of this awards season has been the firm presence of Aaron Sorkin in this Best Director run, frequently appearing as a mainstay alongside Fincher and Zhao. The Chicago 7 trial It’s just Sorkin’s second directorial endeavor, but it’s actually solid and Netflix’s courtroom drama is rife with tremendous dialogue and performances from Sorkin. If Academy voters really do opt for this movie, they may well be eager to point Sorkin’s direction as well.
Spike lee He could also deservedly get another nomination for his refreshingly conflicting Netflix drama set in Vietnam. Give 5 BloodsI’m curious to see if Netflix launches a new Oscar campaign for that one since it came out in the summer, though. The film has had a smaller presence in the more recent precursors of awards, namely the Golden Globe nominations and SAG nominations, than anticipated, so it will be interesting to see if the Academy recognizes again. the brilliance of Lee’s leadership confrontation on this. movie.
Someone who was “in the mix” during the initial predictions, but has moved into this category of favorites is Esmeralda Fennell, whose film Focus Features Promising young woman it has also received a wave of critical acclaim in award announcements. Fennell’s direction is outstanding, following a fine tonal line and coming out on top, so I have no arguments here.
I would also be watching for a nod to Paul Greengrass for World News. The Western is a Universal Pictures release that opened in theaters on Christmas Day and critical reaction has been strong. Frankly, it’s just an extremely well done traditional movie. Strong performances, strong craftsmanship, strong emotions. The robust epic is also a change of pace for Greengrass, best known for his docudrama style, one he abandoned in favor of a more classic style, John fordinspired by this timely material.
In the mix
King Shaka – Judas and the Black Messiah
Darius Marder – Metal Sound
George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey’s black ass
Florian Zeller – The father
Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Christopher Nolan – Beginning
Beyond these top contenders, there are several people who could certainly get a nomination. Judas and the Black Messiah garnered a positive reaction from its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, and if Academy voters opt for this shocking and emotional portrait of how the FBI worked to subdue and ultimately extinguish Black Panther frontman Fred Hampton, director King Shaka it could very well be in the mix.
Filmmaker Darius marderit is Metal Sound It is one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Marder’s experimentation with sound design to put the audience in the mental space of the film’s protagonist, who suddenly goes deaf, works brilliantly, as do the poignant performances at the center of the film. If this one hits the Academy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marder get a nomination.
The same could be said of George C. Wolfework on Netflix feature Ma Rainey’s black ass, which is a contender in other major categories. The adaptation of August wilson The game is theatrical, but not to the detriment of the film, although I can see that the critics keep Wolfe out of the circle of nominations for Best Director. But he fits Wilson’s work well, keeping the rhythm and rhythm of the piece rolling with a mix of verve, passion and tension. And we can’t rule out his direction from those flawless performances. What about if He Anthony Hopkins/Olivia colman drama The father Becomes a Best Picture nominee, don’t rule out a Filmmaker nomination Florian zeller.
And then we come to Christopher Nolan of everything. To be frank, it took forever for the Academy to finally recognize Nolan’s talent as a filmmaker, so with a movie like Beginning – one with a mixed critical reaction and a botched public release – doesn’t seem very likely to get a Best Director nod. In fact, he got his first Oscar nomination for Best Director in 2018. Dunkirk, which also garnered a Best Picture nomination, somewhat Beginning it seems unlikely that it will.
Stay tuned as we delve into the Best Picture category tomorrow!
Reports suggest that Lucasfilm has been looking for a reason to fire the actress for months.
About the Author