2015 Oscar Predictions: 30 Early Contenders for Best Director

2015 Oscar Predictions: 30 Early Contenders for Best Director

I'm continuing my early look at 2015 Oscar predictions today with a look at the Best Director category where I've come up with a list of 30 names. As with my other early predictions, this is more of a feeling out than anything else as a lot of the usual suspects will rise to the top along with directors for some of the year's more highly anticipated awards prospects. Let's take a look.

On the top line I have Bennett Miller (Moneyball) whose Foxcatcher will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival after it was originally expected to open last year. After flirting with an early year release, Sony Classics won't bring Foxcatcher to theaters until November, opening the door for the film to run the fall film festival circuit as well. Seems an easy candidate to earn the Capote director his second directing nomination.

As strange as it seems to place Tim Burton this high on the list, his cast for Big Eyes -- Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz -- and the idea he may be working on a film that isn't as "Tim Burton-y" as those he's been releasing so far seems like a good combination to get the director his first directing nomination ever. The Christmas Day release date and the Weinstein Co. distributing doesn't hurt either.

Paul Thomas Anderson takes my third slot with Inherent Vice, and that's a pedigree pick more than anything. I get the vibe this isn't going to be a film up the Academy's alley so he may drop quickly in the rankings, but for now I'm sticking with it.

Stephen Daldry's ability to not only get his films nominated for Best Picture, but to find himself nominated for Best Director is uncanny and so it only makes sense to predict he'll be one of the five nominees for his new movie Trash starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, the fact this is a Universal release, however, may make things a little more interesting considering...

Universal is also releasing Angelina Jolie's Unbroken and the push for that film to be a major player at the Oscars is already underway. Jolie, however, seems like a candidate that may be able to get in on the fact she's Angelina Jolie, perhaps opening the chance for Universal to score a pair of Best Director nominations.

That does it for the top five, but as I said I have 30 total contenders, which you can check out in full right here.

Among them, and right below the bubble line, are Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) and David Fincher (Gone Girl). I get the feeling this just might be Nolan's year for a nomination and if Interstellar is as good as we all want it to be, perhaps he'll have a legitimate shot at a win. As for Fincher and Gone Girl, I have him ranked pretty high right now, but I can't help but feel we might be in for a big let down with this one. We'll see.

More contenders include Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), Michel Hazanavicius (The Search), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Clint Eastwood (Jersey Boys), David Cronenberg (Maps to the Stars) and even Jon Stewart (Rosewater).

Check out the complete list of all 30 contenders right here and here are a few links to my previous early Oscar contenders articles:

  • Kingsley_Zissou

    Does Rosewater have a distributor or release date? I'm really interested to see how that one turns out.

  • Carlos.

    I have Christopher Nolan winning and Jolie, Miller, Fincher and PTA getting nods.
    I would love to see Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater at least fighting for nominations.

    • andyluvsfilms

      I agree with your assessment but i would also like to see Jarmusch in the mix.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Akd/ Akd

      There is no way the Academy is going to give Nolan the trophy. How many science fiction films have won their directors the best director trophy? One? Gravity is the only one I can think of and not even Kubrick got one for 2001. I would love to see Nolan get an Academy (relatively still early in his career) but I don't think its going to happen.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/darudeg/ darudeg

    If I'm not mistaken, I don't think Cate Blanchett is in Trash with Rooney Mara. But they're both in Carol.

  • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

    1. Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
    2. Angelina Jolie - Unbroken
    3. David Fincher - Gone Girl
    4. Christopher Nolan - Interstellar
    5. Paul Thomas Anderson - Inherent Vice

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Hudsucker/ Hudsucker

    Seeing your Tim Burton inclusion, I'm guessing you'll be bumping up Big Eyes in Best Picture category soon.

  • http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/ Gautam Anand

    I think Christopher Nolan is going to breakthrough into the line-up this year, considering he has been ignored twice before. And looking at how Academy rallied behind Cuaron last year, gives me more hope.

    Keeping in mind the track record of Bennett Miller, he looks like a safe bet at this point of time.

    Jolie.. I am not sure. Looking at what happened to Affleck, I am little skeptical.

    The buzz I am hearing on Bridman is huge.. so that means we have to inculde Inarittu into top 5.

    Even though David Fincher is a strong candidate to break into top 5, Gone Girl doesn't look like a film that will hugely register within Academy. I think I will give a better chance to Paul Thomas Anderson, considering Inherent Vice is a black comedy and looks more accessible than The Master.

    So, here's how my line-up looks like ..

    1. Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher

    2. Christopher Nolan - Interstellar

    3. Alejandro González Iñárritu - Birdman

    4. Paul Thomas Anderson - Inherent Vice

    5. Tim Burton - Big Eyes

    6. Theodre Melfi - St. Vincent de Van Nuys (Wild Card)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

    It would be great if Jon Stewart's Rosewater is a success since that's been a really passionate project for him.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/absiddique/ AB Siddique

    Stephen Daldry's "Trash" doesn't have Cate Blanchett in it. Cate and Rooney are in "Carol" directed by Todd Haynes. Hope you correct this error soon!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/absiddique/ AB Siddique

    My List:

    1. David Fincher - Gone Girl
    2. Tim Burton - Big Eyes
    3. Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
    4. Christopher Nolan - Interstellar
    5. Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel

    Also can be in the list are:

    6. Richard Linklater - Boyhood
    7. Paul Thomas Anderson - Inherent Vice
    8. Rob Marshall - Into the Woods
    9. Michel Hazanavicius - The Search
    10. Todd Haynes - Carol

    Tommy Lee Jones (The Homesman) has a better shot than Angelina Jolie (Unbroken).

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/absiddique/ AB Siddique

      Reason I didn't include Alejandro González Iñárritu is because I think the Academy will reserve his place for "The Revenant" next year starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

  • Guthrie

    Unbroken is my most anticipated of 2014 so I hope all the hype doesn't let me down.

  • JAB

    Nolan is WAAAY overdue (I'd buy tix to "Interstellar" today), but it's gonna be cosmic & very serious & that doesn't bode well for serious consideration.. Fincher is always strong. I love Cronenberg but the trailer makes this movie look too edgy for a nom. I'm really looking forward to "Foxcatcher"'s for a number of reasons --Miller & his cast-- , but that story is really dark. Jolie has a terrific story & protagonist & I hope she pulls it off. Inarritu is always interesting. Wouldn't it be fascinating if "Rosewater" is among the best & my favorite (fake) news anchor gets a nom?

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3769949/ thatpj

    PT Anderson

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/ghislaine/ ghislaine

    Also in the discussion of the top 30?

    Werner Herzog: Queen of the Desert
    Jim Jarmusch: Only Lovers Left Alive
    Todd Haynes: Carol
    Suzanne Bier: Serena

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

      I think Queen of the Desert is slotted for 2015.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JohnDoeSnow/ John Doe Snow


    1. Angelina Jolie - UNBROKEN
    2. Christopher Nolan - INTERSTELLAR
    3. Bennett Miller - FOXCATCHER
    4. Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu - BIRDMAN
    5. Wes Anderson - THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

    Wes is a long shot, probably. PTA is just not gonna happen...

  • blake011

    PTA is not Oscar friendly. hes not getting nominated.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Except for when he was nominated for There Will be Blood... right?

      • blake011

        once but I got the sense that was an exception as far as director goes hes not that well liked in the Academy. Also I don't think Vice will be more mainstream compared to The Master and we all saw how The Master worked out at the Oscars

  • TomNewYorker

    my predictions are
    Angelina Jolie-Unbroke
    Bennett Miller-Foxcatcher
    Christopher Nolan-Interstellar
    David Fincher-Gone Girl
    Paul Thomas Anderson-Inherent Vice
    other directors i think has a shot are
    Jason Reitman-Men, Women & Children
    Zach Braff-Wish I Was Here
    Rob Marshall-Into The woods
    Tim Burton-Big Eyes
    Tom McCarthy-The Cobbler

  • Pierre V. Wilson

    I add SIR RIDLEY SCOTT and DARREN ARONOFSKI to this list.