One quick look at the Awards Calendar and you'll see this week is actually a pretty big week. On January 3, not only will the WGA, Art Directors, Producers Guild announce their nominees, but the Oscar nomination voting ends at 5PM PST. In previous years Oscar voters have had the pleasure of seeing a few of these nominations, but with the nomination schedule moved up it means voters won't have advanced knowledge of some of these guild results to sway their voting decisions.
One batch of nominees that may certainly play a role will be that of the Directors Guild nominations, which won't be announced until January 8, two days before the Oscar nominations are announced and five days after voting has closed. I personally don't really believe these changes will have much effect as I see virtually every race each year coming down to 3-4 supposed locks with one or two slots open to likely nominees and/or a potential surprise. Maybe this year will be more prone to a surprise than a likely nominee, but that might be just what the doctor ordered.
When it comes to the Best Director category I am looking at two slots that are nearly impossible to predict with four contenders for those two slots following the likes of Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Ben Affleck (Argo) as my locks.
The final four are Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables). To choose two with any measure of confidence is nearly impossible.
A few days ago it would have been easier to drop Lee out of the top five as Fox has done very little to promote Life of Pi to this point, but Blu-rays started arriving in voters' hands on Christmas Eve, so perhaps that push is finally starting to begin. Of the four, I think Lee is the one I have the most confidence will get in.
Then we have Russell and the Weinstein's handling of the Silver Linings release, but screeners of the film have been in voters' hands longer than the other three films. When it comes to both Les Miserables and Django, voters only received those screeners about two weeks ago, though screenings of the former took place far earlier and really may help Hooper's chances, which is why I have kept him in that fifth slot. Well, that and because of the following reaction from the following two parents, which I can't believe will be a reaction they won't share with some Academy voters...
So with that said (and seen), here are my current Best Director top five in ranked order...
- Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
- Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
- Ben Affleck (Argo)
- Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
- Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)