Final Oscars Predictions: Best Director — Is the Race Campion vs. Spielberg Part Two, but With a Different Outcome?

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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST DIRECTOR

UPDATED: March 24, 2022

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY:

For most of the awards season, the race for best director has looked to be Jane Campion’s to lose for western drama “The Power of the Dog.” As the first woman to be nominated for directing twice, the respect and adoration for Campion on the circuit has been apparent, and distributor Netflix seized that opportunity at every festival, conversation and awards ceremony. One year after Chloé Zhao became the second woman to win for “Nomadland” (2020), it was looking like we would have two consecutive years of woman filmmakers winning the category.

Much of this was heightened by an agreed-upon alternative. Despite a sudden surge for Apple Original Films’ “CODA,” the film’s director Sian Heder wasn’t nominated and therefore can’t “spoil.”

But there’s the obvious question surrounding the backlash for Campion following her acceptance speech at the Critics Choice Awards and whether it has impacted voting. Initially, it seemed to be contained within the walls of Film Twitter, but it was surprising how many of the voting members referenced it in our chats about the year’s films. Perhaps not enough to make a difference between Campion winning or losing, but it could have cost critical “Power” votes in other categories.

From conversations with voters, Kenneth Branagh has much support for his personal drama “Belfast” and Steven Spielberg for his musical remake of “West Side Story.”

In the case of the latter, at both the DGA Awards and PGA Awards Breakfast, the two-time director of “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) was acknowledged and thanked by all of his fellow nominees for his contributions to cinema. At 75, the industry becomes nostalgic about one of the “Mount Rushmore” filmmakers and inarguably the best-known director of his time.

Campion lost her first Oscar nom for directing “The Piano” (1993) to Spielberg, and they look to be squared up once again but with a likely different outcome. With 12 nominations for “Power,” the question regarding how many statuettes it will win has been bubbling for weeks. Projected to win director only, Campion would be the first since Mike Nichols for “The Graduate” (1967) to win this category solely.

Of the 93 previous Oscar years, the winners for best picture and director have gone to different films 26 times, five of which have been in the last decade.

Will win: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)

Could win: Steven Spielberg, “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

Should win: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)

Should have been here: “C’mon C’mon” (A24)

Precursor Awards Leader: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Awards Season Calendar

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

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  1. Jane Campion
    "The Power of the Dog" (Netflix)

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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "When my father passed, I wanted nothing more than my mother's happiness. For what kind of man would I be if I did not help my mother? If I did not save her?" - Peter Gordon (Kodi Smit-McPhee)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Two nominations, one win: "The Piano" (1993) for original screenplay

    PRODUCERS: Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappie
    DIRECTOR: Jane Campion
    SYNOPSIS: Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
    STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee

  2. Steven Spielberg
    "West Side Story" (20th Century Studios)

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    THE "OSCAR SCENE"
    "Be Cool" - Riff (Mike Faist)

    OSCAR HISTORY: 19 nominations, three wins: "Schindler's List" (1993) for best picture and director, "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) for director

    PRODUCERS: Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger
    DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
    SYNOPSIS: An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
    STARRING: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Rita Moreno, Brian d'Arcy James, Corey Stoll, Mike Faist, Josh Andres Rivera, Iris Menas

  3. Kenneth Branagh
    "Belfast" (Focus Features)

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    THE "OSCAR SCENE"
    "If they can't understand you, they're not listening" - Pop (Ciarán Hinds)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Five nominations

    PRODUCERS: Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas
    DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh
    SYNOPSIS: A young boy and his working-class Belfast family experience the tumultuous late 1960s.
    STARRING: Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Jude Hill, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Morgan

  4. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
    "Drive My Car" (Janus Films/Sideshow)

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    THE "OSCAR SCENE"
    "My hardships might even be greater than yours but I don't give in to despair." - Lee Yoon-a (Park Yu-rim)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    PRODUCERS: Teruhisa Yamamoto
    DIRECTOR: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
    SYNOPSIS: After his wife's unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku, a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima. There, he begins to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind.
    STARRING: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Reika Kirishima, Park Yu-rim, Jin Dae-yeon, Sonia Yuan

  5. Paul Thomas Anderson
    "Licorice Pizza" (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

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    THE "OSCAR SCENE"
    "Este, don't you even look at me! Don't you even look at me! You're always looking at me!" - Alana (Alana Haim)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Eight nominations

    PRODUCERS: Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson
    DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson
    SYNOPSIS: The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973.
    STARRING: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Director)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are ” Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The most nominated films to not win a single Oscar have been “The Turning Point” (1977) and “The Color Purple” (1985), with 11 losses each. John Ford has the most wins in this category with four, with Frank Capra and William Wyler behind with three trophies each. Wyler has the most nominations of any director with 12, and Martin Scorsese is the closest to him is tally at nine. Clint Eastwood is the oldest winner in Oscar history at 74 when he won for “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), while the record for the oldest nominee is John Huston at 79 when he was nominated for “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985). The youngest winner in history is Damien Chazelle for “La La Land” (2016) at 32, while John Singleton holds the distinction for being the youngest nominee at 24 when he was shortlisted for “Boyz N in the Hood” (1991).

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large artists” representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022

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