Oscars Predictions: Best Director - Sounding the Alarms, It Could Be Just One Woman in Directing
Oscars Predictions For The Best Director Are Out! (Photo Credit: IMDb & wikipedia)

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Variety’s Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year’s contenders in all categories.

Variety’s Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season.



Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to the revision date.


AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Bad news (or could be just pessism). Multiple female directors in the lineup this year looks to be in jeopardy, at least based on the early conversations with members and other sources. Chlo? Zhao looks to have her nomination sealed for “Nomadland,” and if you ask me frankly, I might even go further, but the nominations for Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) and Regina King (“One Night in Miami”) keep me up at night. The Globes painted a nice picture but the director’s branch is still very much a “boys club” and with this many “first-time” filmmakers in the running, they may hold back and go with more familiar faces like Paul Greengrass (“News of the World”) or David Fincher (“Mank”). Shaka King is also catching on for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and could go the way of Benh Zeitlin from “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” His presence in the race feels reminiscent of John Singleton for “Boyz N the Hood,” and not just based on race, but the emerging of an exciting filmmaker with a movie that may really catch the attention of Academy members. The problem, as always is the case with voters, have enough seen it yet? Worse yet, are they open to it? March 15 can’t come soon enough.

WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS BEFORE VOTING: Sofia Coppola (“On the Rocks”), Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”), Kirsten Johnson (“Dick Johnson Is Dead”), Shaka King (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Chung Mong-Hong (“A Sun”), Harry Macqueen (“Supernova”), Ekwa Msangi (“Farewell Amor”), Leigh Whannell (“The Invisible Man”)

PRECURSORS LEADER: Chlo? Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021) 2021 Awards Season Calendar


Chlo? Zhao “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chlo? Zhao SYNOPSIS: After losing everything in the Great Recession, an old woman embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. STARRING: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie, Bob Wells

Aaron Sorkin “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win (2010’s “The Social Network” in adapted screenplay) – PRODUCERS: Stuart M. Besser, Matt Jackson, Marc Platt, Tyler Thompson SYNOPSIS: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. STARRING: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong

Lee Isaac Chung “Minari” (A24)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh SYNOPSIS: A Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s. STARRING: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan S. Kim, Yuh-jung Youn, Will Patton

Paul Greengrass “News of the World” (Universal Pictures)

OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination (2006’s “United 93”) – PRODUCERS: Gary Goetzman, Gregory Goodman, Gail Mutrux SYNOPSIS: A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home. STARRING: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Elizabeth Marvel, Mare Winningham, Michael Angelo Covino, Ray McKinnon

Regina King “One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)

OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win (2018’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” in supporting actress) – PRODUCERS: Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein SYNOPSIS: A fictional account of one incredible night in 1964, where four icons of activism, sports and music – Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke – gathered, discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the ’60s. STARRING: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom, Jr.


Shaka King “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Charles D. King, Ryan Coogler, Shaka King SYNOPSIS: The story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O’Neal. STARRING: Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen, Dominique Thorne, Algee Smith, Lil Rel Howery, Jermaine Fowler

Emerald Fennell “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Ben Browning, Emerald Fennell, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara, Ashley Fox SYNOPSIS: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path. STARRING: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Alison Brie, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Connie Britton, Chris Lowell, Adam Brody, Sam Richardson

David Fincher “Mank” (Netflix)

OSCAR HISTORY: 2 nominations (2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and 2010’s “The Social Network”) – PRODUCERS: David Fincher, Ce?n Chaffin, Eric Roth, Douglas Urbanski SYNOPSIS: 1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane for Orson Welles. STARRING: Tom Burke, Lily Collins, Joseph Cross, Charles Dance, Monika Gossman, Ferdinand Kingsley, Jamie McShane, Tuppence Middleton, Toby Leonard Moore, Gary Oldman, Tom Pelphrey, Amanda Seyfried, Sam Troughton

Florian Zeller “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Philippe Carcassonne, Simon Friend, Jean-Louis Livi, David Parfitt, Christophe Spadone SYNOPSIS: A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality. STARRING: Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Anthony Hopkins, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams

Spike Lee “Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)

OSCAR HISTORY: 5 nominations, 1 win (2018’s “BlacKkKlansman” in adapted screenplay, plus an honorary Oscar in 2016) – PRODUCERS: Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Beatriz Levin, Lloyd Levin SYNOPSIS: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide. STARRING: Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Jonathan Majors, Chadwick Boseman, Isiah Witlock, Jr,, Norm Lewis


Darius Marder “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bill Benz, Cathy Benz SYNOPSIS: A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing. STARRING: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Mathieu Almaric, Lauren Ridloff

George C. Wolfe “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Todd Black, Denzel Washington, Dany Wolf SYNOPSIS: Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable “Mother of the Blues”. Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play.. STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Dusan Brown, Jonny Coyne, Viola Davis, Colman Domingo, Taylour Paige, Michael Potts, Jeremy Shamos, Glynn Turman

Christopher Nolan “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)

OSCAR HISTORY: 5 nominations – PRODUCERS: Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas SYNOPSIS: Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. STARRING: John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, Robert Pattinson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh

Kelly Reichardt “First Cow” (A24)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani SYNOPSIS: A skilled cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune. Soon the two collaborate on a successful business. STARRING: John Magaro, Orion Lee

Kevin Macdonald “The Mauritanian” (STXfilms)

OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win (1999’s “One Day in September” in documentary feature) – PRODUCERS: Adam Ackland, Leah Clarke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lloyd Levin, Beatriz Levin, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Branwen Prestwood Smith, Michael Bronner SYNOPSIS: A detainee at the U.S military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center is held without charges for over a decade and seeks help from a defense attorney for his release. STARRING: Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley

George Clooney “The Midnight Sky” (Netflix)

OSCAR HISTORY: 8 nominations, 2 wins (2005’s “Syriana” in supporting actor and 2012’s “Argo” in best picture) – PRODUCERS: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Bard Dorros, Keith Redmon, Cliff Roberts SYNOPSIS: This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe. STARRING: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demi?n Bichir, Tiffany Boone, Caoilinn Springall

Sofia Coppola “On the Rocks” (A24/Apple TV Plus)

OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win (2003’s “Lost in Translation” in original screenplay) – PRODUCERS: Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley SYNOPSIS: A young mother reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York. STARRING: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick, Jenny Slate

Thomas Vinterberg “Another Round” (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated ROLE: Martin – PRODUCERS: Sisse Graum Jorgensen, Kasper Dissing SYNOPSIS: Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood. STARRING: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang

Korn?l Mundrucz? “Pieces of a Woman” (Netflix)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Ashley Levinson, Aaron Ryder, Kevin Turen SYNOPSIS: When a young mother’s home birth ends in unfathomable tragedy, she begins a year-long odyssey of mourning that fractures relationships with loved ones in this deeply personal story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss. STARRING: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, Sarah Snook, Molly Parker

Sam Levinson “Malcolm & Marie” (Netflix)

OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated – PRODUCERS: Zendaya, Kevin Turen, Ashley Levinson, Sam Levinson, John David Washington SYNOPSIS: Sam Levinson teams up with Zendaya and John David Washington for an achingly romantic drama in which a filmmaker (Washington) and his girlfriend (Zendaya) return home following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what’s sure to be imminent critical and financial success. STARRING: Zendaya, John David Washington

+ = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible ++ = could be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY 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 biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. John Ford has the most wins in this category with four, with Frank Capra and William Wyler behind with three. Wyler has the most nominations of any director with 12, with Martin Scorsese next in line with nine. Clint Eastwood is the oldest winner in Oscar history at 74 when he won for “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), while the oldest nominee ever is John Huston at 79 when he was nominated for “Prizzi’s Honor.” The youngest winner in history is Damien Chazelle for “La La Land” (2016) at 32, while John Singleton was the youngest nominee of all-time at 24 when he was shortlisted for “Boyz N in the Hood.” (1991)

Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)

2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Director 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actor 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Feature 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Production Design 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Cinematography 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Costume Design 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Film Editing 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Makeup and Hairstyling 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Sound 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Visual Effects 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Score 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Song 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Feature 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best International Feature 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Short 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Short 2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Live-Action Short

2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)

Best Motion Picture – Drama Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language Best Motion Picture – Animated Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Director – Motion Picture

2021 SAG Awards Predictions (Film)

Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Best Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

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 are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 17 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 Oscars are scheduled for Sunday, April 25, 2021.

About the Golden Globes The Golden Globes Awards, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is held annually with 93 members since 1944. The group recognizes excellence in film and television across drama and comedy or musical categories. Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” holds the record for the most awards won by a single film with seven. Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express” are next in line with six each. Robert Altman’s “Nashville” has the record for most nominations received by a film with 11 while Colin Higgins’ “Foul Play,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” share the record for receiving the most nominations and not winning a single award at seven.

The Golden Globes are scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021.

About the SAG Awards The Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by SAG-AFTRA, is an annual award show that has become one of the most important and key indicators for the Oscars. Four films have won the most SAG awards with three: 1999’s “American Beauty,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2011’s “The Help” and 2017’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Three movies have been nominated for the most SAG awards with five: 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and 2008’s “Doubt.”

The SAG Awards are scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 4, 2021

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