The nominees in the Best Director category are all very good. After not getting Best Director nods for Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X, Spike Lee finally gets his due. Pawel Pawlikowski returns to the Oscar sphere with his follow up to the Best Foreign Language winner Ida. Adam McKay returns, as well, with his follow-up to The Big Short. Yorgos Lanthimos makes his debut in the Best Director category after receiving nominations in other categories for The Lobster and Dogtooth.
And then there is two-time Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron.
- Adam McKay – Vice
- Alfonso Cuaron – Roma
- Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War
- Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
- Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron
Could Win: Spike Lee
Dark Horse: Yorgos Lanthimos
As I have said before, the Best Director Oscar is Alfonso Cuaron’s to lose. Roma may or may not be the front-runner for Best Picture, but Cuaron’s direction in the film is undeniable. He has been accruing accolades since award season began, and this is not likely to stop at the Directors Guild.
The safe money is on Cuaron, but the other directors here make strong cases with their films. Blackkklansman puts Spike Lee in the best position to upset Cuaron. In a different year, with a different crop of nominees, Lee would handily take the award for this film.
Instead, he is in the dark horse position. Along with him are Lanthimos and Pawlikowski. The Favourite ties Roma for number of nominations, and the film is exquisitely directed. But Lanthimos has a tough hill to climb if he wants to best Cuaron and Lee for the trophy. It doesn’t seem feasible.
Cold War is directed with equal precision. Pawlikowski is liked by the Academy, and if Roma wasn’t primed to scoop up the Best Foreign Language award then Cold War would take it.
Even if Roma doesn’t steam-roll into the Oscars and pick up two handfuls of awards, Cuaron is truly the person to beat in this category. It could win nothing else and still win Best Director; that’s how far in front Cuaron is.
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)