How do you judge the merits of a director? Is it the attention to visual compositions, or is that something you look for in a director of photography? Is it the quality of the acting performances, or does that rest on the cast’s shoulders? Is it the creation of a beautiful story, or is that the screenwriter’s business?
It’s the overall vision, whatever that means. Predicting Best Director sometimes feels like predicting Best Picture, and that is why the two awards often (but not always) go to the same film. So what do we do with an awards ceremony that honors two films and nominates five directors? Well, let’s see…
- Damien Chazelle – La La Land
- Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
- Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
- Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
- Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Will Win: Damien Chazelle
Could Win: Barry Jenkins
Dark Horse: Kenneth Lonergan
As I’ve said, La La Land seems to be the film to beat this year. And that makes sense. The film feels like a Hollywood film. It looks like it’s presenting itself as a throwback to the classical musical: sweet, innocent, lush. Chazelle has already proven his skills with 2014’s Whiplash, and he will likely take home the award this year.
If it’s not Chazelle, then it is a toss up between Jenkins and Lonergan, just as their respective films are a toss up for Best Picture – Drama. I don’t know what else to say. Both films are amazing and both directors bring specific styles to the table.
As always, thanks for reading!
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)