Oscar Predictions: Best Director – Could S.S. Rajamouli Be This Year’s International Director Selection for ‘RRR?’

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Dec. 2, 2022

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best Director

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, from left: co-directors Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, on set, 2022. ph: Allyson Riggs /© A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, from left: co-directors Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, on set, 2022. ph: Allyson Riggs /© A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

CATEGORY COMMENTARY: One of the jaw-droppers at the New York Film Critics Circle announcement was S.S. Rajamouli winning best director for the Tollywood epic, adventure film “RRR.” Although the movie wasn’t selected to represent India in the international feature category, Variance Films has mounted a substantial campaign to have the film recognized in the general categories including best picture. It looks like it could be paying off.

The past few years have seen the Academy nominate an international director from a non-English title including winner Bong Joon-ho (“Parasite”) and Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”). Could Rajamouli be the latest?

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective. To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

Find the SAG Awards predictions for film and Golden Globe predictions in all of the film categories on their respective pages.

See the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

BTS - (l to r) Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu and director, Gina Prince-Bythewood.
BTS – (l to r) Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu and director, Gina Prince-Bythewood.

And The Predicted Nominees Are:

Rank

Name

Film

Distributor

1

Steven Spielberg

“The Fabelmans”

Universal Pictures

A semi-autobiography based on Spielberg’s own childhood growing up in post-war Arizona, from age seven to eighteen.

2

Martin McDonagh

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Searchlight Pictures

Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

3

Todd Field

“Tár”

Focus Features

Set in the international world of classical music, the film centers on Lydia Tár. widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.

4

Gina Prince-Bythewood

“The Woman King”

Sony Pictures

A historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.

5

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

A24

An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.

Next in Line

6

Sarah Polley

“Women Talking”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

A group of women in an isolated religious colony as they struggle to reconcile their faith with a string of sexual assaults committed by the colony’s men.

7

S.S. Rajamouli

“RRR”

Variance Films

A fictitious story about two legendary revolutionaries and their journey away from home before they started fighting for their country in the 1920s.

8

Park Chan-wook

“Decision to Leave”

Mubi

A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains meets the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing.

9

Baz Luhrmann

“Elvis”

Warner Bros.

Famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece for his latest case.

10

Joseph Kosinski

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

Other Top-Tier Contenders

11

James Cameron

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

20th Century Studios

12

Rian Johnson

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Netflix

13

Ruben Östlund

“Triangle of Sadness”

Neon

14

Antoine Fuqua

“Emancipation”

Apple Original Films

15

Luca Guadgnino

“Bones and All”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

16

Oliver Hermanus

“Living”

Sony Pictures Classics

17

Sam Mendes

“Empire of Light”

Searchlight Pictures

18

Ryan Coogler

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Marvel Studios

19

Chinonye Chukwu

“Till”

Orion/United Artists Releasing

20

Ron Howard

“Thirteen Lives”

Amazon Studios/MGM

Also In Contention

21

Charlotte Wells

“Aftersun”

A24

22

Edward Berger

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

Netflix

23

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”

Netflix

24

J.D. Dillard

“Devotion”

Sony Pictures

25

Damien Chazelle

“Babylon”

Paramount Pictures

26

Maria Schrader

“She Said”

Universal Pictures

27

Darren Aronofsky

“The Whale”

A24

28

James Gray

“Armageddon Time”

Focus Features

29

Lukas Dhont

“Close”

A24

30

Elegance Bratton

“The Inspection”

A24

All Contenders Listed (Unranked-Alphabetical)

David O. Russell

“Amsterdam”

20th Century Studios

James Cameron

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

20th Century Studios

Kenneth Branagh

“Death on the Nile”

20th Century Studios

Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie”

20th Century Studios

Alex Garland

“Men”

A24

Charlotte Wells

“Aftersun”

A24

Claire Denis

“Stars at Noon”

A24

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert

“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

A24

Darren Aronofsky

“The Whale”

A24

Dean Fleischer-Camp

“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On”

A24

Elegance Bratton

“The Inspection”

A24

Halina Reijn

“Bodies Bodies Bodies”

A24

Kogonada

“After Yang”

A24

Lukas Dhont

“Close”

A24

Ti West

“Pearl”

A24

Ti West

“X”

A24

Lila Neugebauer

“Causeway”

A24/Apple Original Films

Carey Williams

“Emergency”

Amazon Studios

Janus Metz

“All the Old Knives”

Amazon Studios

Lena Dunham

“Catherine Called Birdy”

Amazon Studios

Mariama Diallo

“Master”

Amazon Studios

Melissa Lesh, Trevor Beck Frost

“Wildcat”

Amazon Studios

Michael Grandage

“My Policeman”

Amazon Studios

Nikyatu Jusu

“Nanny”

Amazon Studios

Ryan White

“Good Night Oppy”

Amazon Studios

Santiago Mitre

“Argentina, 1985”

Amazon Studios

Ron Howard

“Thirteen Lives”

Amazon Studios/MGM

Antoine Fuqua

“Emancipation”

Apple Original Films

Cooper Raiff

“Cha Cha Real Smooth”

Apple Original Films

Peggy Holmes

“Luck”

Apple Original Films

Peter Farrelly

“The Greatest Beer Run Ever”

Apple Original Films

Reginald Hudlin

“Sidney”

Apple Original Films

Rodrigo García

“Raymond & Ray”

Apple Original Films

Sean Anders, John Morris

“Spirited”

Apple Original Films

Abi Damaris Corbin

“Breaking”

Bleecker Street

Emma Holly Jones

“Mr. Malcolm’s List”

Bleecker Street

Frances O’Connor

“Emily”

Bleecker Street

Max Walker-Silverman

“A Love Song”

Bleecker Street

Scott McGehee, David Siegel

“Montana Story”

Bleecker Street

Julie Cohen, Betsy West

“Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down”

Briarcliff Entertainment

Damien Leone

“Terrifier 2”

Cinedigm

Daniel Roher

“Navalny”

CNN/Warner Bros.

Joel Crawford, Januel Mercado

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”

DreamWorks Animation

Oleh Malamuzh, Oleksandra Ruban

“Mavka: The Forest Song”

Feelgood Entertainment

Goran Stolevski

“You Won’t Be Alone”

Focus Features

Adamma Ebo

“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”

Focus Features

Agnieszka Smoczynska

“The Silent Twins”

Focus Features

Anthony Fabian

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”

Focus Features

Graham Moore

“The Outfit”

Focus Features

B.J. Novak

“Vengeance”

Focus Features

James Gray

“Armageddon Time”

Focus Features

Jim Archer

“Brian and Charles”

Focus Features

Michael Showalter

“Spoiler Alert”

Focus Features

Robert Eggers

“The Northman”

Focus Features

Simon Curtis

“Downton Abbey: A New Era”

Focus Features

Todd Field

“Tár”

Focus Features

John Michael McDonagh

“The Forgiven”

Focus Features

Alex Lockwood

“The End of Medicine”

Gravitas Ventures

Andrew Semans

“Resurrection”

IFC Films

Audrey Diwan

“Happening”

IFC Films

Claire Denis

“Both Sides of the Blade”

IFC Films

Cristian Mungiu

“R.M.N.”

IFC Films

Jeff Baena

“Spin Me Round”

IFC Films

Julian Higgins

“God’s Country”

IFC Films

Justin Kurzel

“Nitram”

IFC Films

Mariano Cohn, Gastón Duprat

“Official Competition”

IFC Films

Marie Kreutzer

“Corsage”

IFC Films

Stephen Frears

“The Lost King”

IFC Films

Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

“Tori and Lokita”

Janus Films

Jerzy Skolimowski

“EO”

Janus Films and Sideshow

Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović

“Murina”

Kino Lorber

Mary Nighy

“Alice, Darling”

Lionsgate

Tom Gormican

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Lionsgate

Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch

“The Eight Mountains”

M2 Pictures

Carlota Pereda

“Piggy”

Magnolia Pictures

Emelie Mahdavian

“Bitterbrush”

Magnolia Pictures

James Morosini

“I Love My Dad”

Magnolia Pictures

Lee Jung-jae

“Hunt”

Magnolia Pictures

Ryan Coogler

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Marvel Studios

Sam Raimi

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Marvel Studios

Taika Waititi

“Thor: Love and Thunder”

Marvel Studios

George Miller

“Three Thousand Years of Longing”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Luca Guadagnino

“Bones and All”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum

“Dog”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Sarah Polley

“Women Talking”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Park Chan-wook

“Decision to Leave”

Mubi

David Cronenberg

“Crimes of the Future”

Neon

Hirokazu Kore-eda

“Broker”

Neon

Laura Poitras

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

Neon

Ruben Östlund

“Triangle of Sadness”

Neon

Alice Diop

“Saint Omer”

Neon/Super

Alejandro González Iñárritu

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths”

Netflix

Andrew Dominik

“Blonde”

Netflix

Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

“The Gray Man”

Netflix

Carrie Cracknell

“Persuasion”

Netflix

Chris Smith

“Sr.”

Netflix

Chris Williams

“The Sea Beast”

Netflix

Edward Berger

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

Netflix

Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Netflix

Henry Selick

“Wendell and Wild”

Netflix

Jeremiah Zagar

“Hustle”

Netflix

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover”

Netflix

Margaret Brown

“Descendant”

Netflix

Matthew Warchus

“Matilda”

Netflix

Noah Baumbach

“White Noise”

Netflix

Rian Johnson

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Netflix

Romain Gavras

“Athena”

Netflix

Sally El Hosaini

“The Swimmers”

Netflix

Scott Cooper

“The Pale Blue Eye”

Netflix

Sebastián Lelio

“The Wonder”

Netflix

Tobias Lindholm

“The Good Nurse”

Netflix

Evgeny Afineevsky

“Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Self-Distributed

Chinonye Chukwu

“Till”

Orion/United Artists Releasing

Damien Chazelle

“Babylon”

Paramount Pictures

Joseph Kosinski

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Paramount Pictures

Sanaa Lathan

“On the Come Up”

Paramount Pictures

Alice Winocour

“Paris Memories”

Pathé

Gina Gammell, Riley Keough

“War Pony”

Picturehouse Entertainment

Angus MacLane

“Lightyear”

Pixar

Domee Shi

“Turning Red”

Pixar

Mayim Bialik

“As They Made Us”

Quiver

Phyllis Nagy

“Call Jane”

Roadside Attractions

John Patton Ford

“Emily the Criminal”

Roadside Attractions/Vertical Entertainment

Gabe Polsky

“Butcher’s Crossing”

Saban Films

Mark Mylod

“The Menu”

Searchlight Pictures

Martin McDonagh

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

Searchlight Pictures

Sam Mendes

“Empire of Light”

Searchlight Pictures

Sophie Hyde

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”

Searchlight Pictures

Tom George

“See How They Run”

Searchlight Pictures

David Leitch

“Bullet Train”

Sony Pictures

J.D. Dillard

“Devotion”

Sony Pictures

Josh Gordon, Will Speck

“Lyle, Lyle Crocodile”

Sony Pictures

Kasi Lemmons

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

Sony Pictures

Marc Forster

“A Man Called Otto”

Sony Pictures

Olivia Newman

“Where the Crawdads Sing”

Sony Pictures

Craig Roberts

“The Phantom of the Open”

Sony Pictures Classics

Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine

“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song”

Sony Pictures Classics

Davy Chou

“Return to Seoul”

Sony Pictures Classics

Florian Zeller

“The Son”

Sony Pictures Classics

Kathlyn Horan

“The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile”

Sony Pictures Classics

Lizzie Gottlieb

“Turn Every Page”

Sony Pictures Classics

Luca Guadagnino

“Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams”

Sony Pictures Classics

Mia Hansen-Løve

“One Fine Morning”

Sony Pictures Classics

Oliver Hermanus

“Living”

Sony Pictures Classics

Gina Prince-Bythewood

“The Woman King”

TriStar Pictures

Baltasar Kormákur

“Beast”

Universal Pictures

Jordan Peele

“Nope”

Universal Pictures

Kyle Balda

“Minions: The Rise of Gru”

Universal Pictures

Maria Schrader

“She Said”

Universal Pictures

Michael Bay

“Ambulance”

Universal Pictures

Nicholas Stoller

“Bros”

Universal Pictures

Ol Parker

“Ticket to Paradise”

Universal Pictures

Pierre Perifel

“The Bad Guys”

Universal Pictures

Steven Spielberg

“The Fabelmans”

Universal Pictures

Ali Abbasi

“Holy Spider”

Utopia

S.S. Rajamouli

“RRR”

Variance Films

Christopher Winterbauer

“Wyrm”

Vertical Entertainment

Daniel Adams

“The Walk”

Vertical Entertainment

Don Hall

“Strange World”

Walt Disney Pictures

Jared Stern

“DC League of Super Pets”

Warner Bros

Jaume Collet-Serra

“Black Adam”

Warner Bros

Olivia Wilde

“Don’t Worry Darling”

Warner Bros

Baz Luhrmann

“Elvis”

Warner Bros.

Matt Reeves

“The Batman”

Warner Bros.

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on ABC on Sunday, March 12, 2022.

2022 category winner: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)

About Variety Awards Circuit:

Variety’s unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online and provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year’s awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes — Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety’s leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.

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