Best Director Predictions – IndieWire

Nomination voting will take place January 11-16, 2024, and the official Oscar nominations will be announced on January 23, 2024. The final vote will take place February 22-27, 2024. And finally, the 96th Academy Awards will be televised live on Sunday, March 10 on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. We update our predictions throughout awards season. So keep checking back with IndieWire for all of our 2024 Oscar picks.

The state of the race

As always, big-name directors with big-budget projects get a marketing and exposure boost heading into the Oscars. But festivals offer a decisive advantage in terms of prestige.

The summer blockbusters “Oppenheimer” (Universal), a biopic starring Cillian Murphy, and the Mattel toy-inspired comedy “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) forgo festival releases in favor of intensive marketing; Directing nominees Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) have never won the Oscar for best director and are at the forefront of the Oscar race.

"The Boy and the Heron"

Sofia Coppola, Cord Jefferson, Todd Haynes

Sundance presented this celebrated “Past Lives” (A24) from up-and-coming director Celine Song, a Korean-American playwright who makes an auto-fiction relationship triangle about a married professional (Greta Lee) who meets her childhood sweetheart (Teo Yoo). The film is a special hit and could enter the Oscar competition after A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

It is not unusual for a debut director to be nominated or even win: two stage directors, Delbert Mann (“Marty”, 1955) and Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”, 1999), achieved this feat. The winner, James L. Brooks, came from television with “Terms of Endearment” (1983), and film stars Robert Redford (“Ordinary People”, 1980) and Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves” 1990) won for the first time behind the director’s Oscar camera.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 31: John Magaro, Teo Yoo, Celine Song and Greta Lee attend the
John Magaro, Teo Yoo, Celine Song and Greta Lee attend the New York screening of ‘Past Lives’ at The Metrograph.Theo Wargo/Getty Images

This season, “A Star is Born” director Bradley Cooper has the chance to get his first directing nomination for “Maestro” (Netflix), in which he directs as composer Leonard Bernstein. And Ben Affleck managed to get a directing nomination for best picture winner “Argo,” even though “Air” (Amazon Studios/MGM) wasn’t as popular critically celebrated – It earned as much at the worldwide box office as it cost ($90 million). Nevertheless, older male academy members are a suitable target.

Cannes brought in several veteran directors, including “Departed” Oscar winner Martin Scorsese with his gangster epic “Killers of the Flower Moon” (AppleTV+/Paramount), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone; and Todd Haynes with his bizarre, truer “May December” (Netflix), starring Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman. Haynes has yet to receive a directing Oscar nomination. Emerging from Cannes as a box office hit is Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” (Focus), the auteur’s most accessible (and American) entry since “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which received nine nominations, including picture and directing, and four Oscars won for arts and crafts. Anderson wouldn’t mind winning another directing Oscar.


British director Jonathan Glazer, who was never nominated, won the top prize for the later German-language British entry “Zone of Interest” (A24), a hard-hitting Holocaust film starring Sandra Hülser, which also won the Palme d’Or for French director Justine Triet’s courtroom thriller ” Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon), which is about 50 percent in English. The increasingly international Academy voters could push these films into contention in several categories, such as “All Quiet in the West,” “Parasite” and “Drive My Car.”

Another group of overdue Oscar nominees could be vying for the directing win. After four directing nods, Ridley Scott has yet to take home a statuette; This year’s entry is the combat-heavy bio-epic “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures) starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby. After three directing stints, Alexander Payne is back with the Christmas film “The Holdovers” (Focus) and joins his “Sideways” star Paul Giamatti.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone
Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon.Screenshot/Apple

Three-time directing nominee David Fincher brings an assassin (Michael Fassbender) on the run in “The Killer” (Netflix), which earned a spot at the New York Film Festival after premiering in Venice. Michael Mann (“The Insider”) is playing the fall festival with the Italian racing biopic “Ferrari” (Neon), with Adam Driver in the title role and Penélope Cruz as his wife. “Promising Young Woman” is directed. Emerald Fennell’s portrait of the wealthy aristocracy. “Saltburn” (Amazon Studios) starring Rosamund Pike and Barry Keoghan. Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) cast “Euphoria” star Jacob Elordi as Elvis alongside Cailee Spaeny (“Mare of Easttown”) in the biopic “Priscilla” (A24), and Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite” ) returns to Emma Stone The surrealist science fiction novel “Poor Things” (Searchlight) caused a stir in Venice and Telluride. “Poor Things” is currently the biggest challenger to “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie.”

From Toronto, the coveted, often predictive “Best Film” People’s Choice Award went to “American Fiction” (Orion) by Emmy-winning “Watchmen” author Cord Jefferson.

Potential nominees are listed in alphabetical order; No one will be considered a front runner until we see the film.

Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”)
Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)
Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

Wes Anderson (“Asteroid City”)
Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)
Sofia Coppola (“Priscilla”)
David Fincher (“The Murderer”)
Todd Haynes (“May December”)
Cord Jefferson (“American Fiction”)
Michael Mann (“Ferrari”)
Alexander Payne (“The Holdovers”)
Ridley Scott (“Napoleon”)
Celine Song (“Past Lives”)

Long shots
Ben Affleck (“Air”)
Emerald Fennel (“Saltburn”)
Jeff Nichols (“The Bikeriders”)
Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
Taika Waititi (“The next goal wins”)

Lindsay Lowe

Lindsay Lowe is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Lindsay Lowe joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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