Oscars Predictions: Best Director – Will the Academy Nominate Two Women Directors Again?

Other directing contenders include Paul Thomas Anderson, Kenneth Branagh, Jane Campion, Steven Spielberg and Denis Villeneuve

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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar and Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of 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. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST DIRECTOR

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2022

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: The directing race still looks to have two sure bets with Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”) and Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”). Both films are considered the frontrunners and have done extraordinarily well on the awards circuit thus far, with very minor stumbles. As long as “Dune” continues to look like a dominating technical presence, director Denis Villeneuve should factor into the race without a hitch.

That leaves two other spots between a multitude of filmmakers. Paul Thomas Anderson is popular with the branch, surprisingly making the lineup for “Phantom Thread” (2017) and Siân Heder could be a benefactor of the huge response and popularity for “CODA” with awards and guild voters.

After the robust showing for “House of Gucci,” and the prospect of Ridley Scott becoming the oldest directing nominee in history, perhaps he has more of a chance than initially believed.

Oscar nominations voting begins on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and will end on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. The official Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022.

Precursor Awards Leader: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2021-2022) – coming soon
Awards Season Calendar


The Power of the Dog

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:
RANK DIRECTOR FILM DISTRIBUTOR
1 Jane Campion “The Power of the Dog” Netflix
2 Kenneth Branagh “Belfast” Focus Features
3 Denis Villeneuve “Dune” Warner Bros
4 Paul Thomas Anderson “Licorice Pizza” MGM/United Artists Releasing
5 Siân Heder “CODA” Apple Original Films
NEXT IN LINE
6 Steven Spielberg “West Side Story” 20th Century Studios
7 Joel Coen “The Tragedy of Macbeth” Apple Original Films/A24
8 Reinaldo Marcus Green “King Richard” Warner Bros
9 Ryûsuke Hamaguchi “Drive My Car” Janus Films/Sideshow
10 Adam McKay “Don’t Look Up” Netflix
OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS
11 Guillermo del Toro “Nightmare Alley” Searchlight Pictures
12 Paolo Sorrentino “The Hand of God” Netflix
13 Ridley Scott “House of Gucci” MGM/United Artists Releasing
14 Lin-Manuel Miranda “Tick, Tick … Boom!” Netflix
15 Pedro Almodóvar “Parallel Mothers” Sony Pictures Classics
16 Maggie Gyllenhaal “The Lost Daughter” Netflix
17 Aaron Sorkin “Being the Ricardos” Amazon Studios
18 Wes Anderson “The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun” Searchlight Pictures
19 Asghar Farhadi “A Hero” Amazon Studios
20 Julia Ducournau “Titane” Neon
ALSO IN CONTENTION
21 Mike Mills “C’mon C’mon” A24
22 Pablo Larrain “Spencer” Neon/Topic Studios
23 Jeymes Samuel “The Harder They Fall” Netflix
24 Joe Wright “Cyrano” MGM/United Artists Releasing
25 Cary Joji Fukunaga “No Time to Die” MGM/United Artists Releasing
26 Ridley Scott “The Last Duel” 20th Century Studios
27 Jon Watts “Spider-Man: No Way Home” Sony Pictures
28 George Clooney “The Tender Bar” Amazon Studios
29 Rebecca Hall “Passing” Netflix
30 Sean Baker “Red Rocket” A24
UNRANKED LISTING
Alan Taylor “The Many Saints of Newark” Warner Bros
Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin “American Underdog” Lionsgate
Andy Serkis “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” Sony Pictures
Antoine Fuqua “The Guilty” Netflix
Apichatpong Weerasethakul “Memoria” Neon
Bassam Tariq “Mogul Mowgli” Strand Releasing
Ben Lewin “Falling for Fagaro” IFC Films
Benjamin Cleary “Swan Song” Apple Original Films
Bill Benz “The Nowhere Inn” IFC Films
Blerta Basholli “Hive” Kino Lorber
Burhan Qurbani “Berlin Alexanderplatz” Kino Lorber
Cate Shortland “Black Widow” Marvel Studios
Celine Sciamma “Petite Maman” Neon
Charlène Favier “Slalom” Kino Lorber
Chloé Zhao “Eternals” Marvel Studios
Chris McKay “The Tomorrow War” Amazon Studios
Christian Petzold “Undine” IFC Films
Christoph Waltz “Georgetown” Vertical Entertainment
Claire McCarthy “The Colour Room” Sky Cinema
Clint Bentley “Jockey” Sony Pictures Classics
Clint Eastwood “Cry Macho” Warner Bros
Craig Brewer “Coming 2 America” Amazon Studios
Craig Gillespie “Cruella” Disney Plus
David Lowery “The Green Knight” A24
Denzel Washington “A Journal for Jordan” Sony Pictures
Destin Daniel Cretton “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” Marvel Studios
Dominic Cooke “The Courier” Lionsgate
Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada “Raya and the Last Dragon” Walt Disney Pictures
Drew Xanthopoulos “Fathom” Apple Original Films
Edgar Wright “Last Night in Soho” Focus Features
Edgar Wright “The Sparks Brothers” Focus Features
Edson Oda “Nine Days” Sony Pictures Classics
Elaine Bogan “Spirit Untamed” Dreamworks Animation
Emma Seligman “Shiva Baby” Utopia
Enrico Casarosa “Luca” Pixar
Euros Lyn “Dream Horse” Bleecker Street
Eva Husson “Mothering Sunday” Sony Pictures Classics
Fran Kranz “Mass” Bleecker Street
François Ozon “Summer of 85” Music Box Films
Garth Jennings “Sing 2” Illumination Animation
Geeta Malik “India Sweets and Spices” Bleecker Street
Gia Coppola “Mainstream” IFC Films
Haifaa Al Mansour “The Perfect Candidate” Music Box Films
Halle Berry “Bruised” Netflix
James Gunn “The Suicide Squad” Warner Bros
Jamila Wignot “Ailey” Neon
Janicza Bravo “Zola” A24
Jared Bush, Byron Howard “Encanto” Walt Disney Pictures
Jason Reitman “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” Sony Pictures
Jaume Collet-Serra “Jungle Cruise” Walt Disney Pictures
Jim Cummings & PJ McCabe “The Beta Test” IFC Films
Joanna Hogg “The Souvenir Part II” A24
John Krasinski “A Quiet Place Part II” Paramount Pictures
John Lee “False Positive” A24
Jon M. Chu “In the Heights” Warner Bros
Jonas Poher Rasmussen “Flee” Neon
Jonathan Butterell “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” Amazon Studios
Josh Ruben “Werewolves Within” IFC Films
Julie Cohen, Betsy West “Julia” Sony Pictures Classics
Justin Chon “Blue Bayou” Focus Features
Lana Wachowski “The Matrix: Resurrections” Warner Bros
Lauren Hadaway “The Novice” IFC Films
Leos Carax “Annette” Amazon Studios
Liesl Tommy “Respect” MGM/United Artists Releasing
M. Night Shyamalan “Old” Universal Pictures
Mia Hansen-Løve “Bergman Island” IFC Films
Michael Sarnoski “Pig” Neon
Michael Showalter “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” Searchlight Pictures
Michel Franco “New Order” Neon
Miguel Sapochnik “Finch” Apple Original Films
Mike Rianda “The Mitchells vs The Machines” Netflix
Natalie Morales “Language Lessons” Shout! Studios
Neill Blomkamp “Demonic” IFC Midnight
Nia DaCosta “Candyman” Universal Pictures
Ninja Thyberg “Pleasure” Neon
Paul Schrader “The Card Counter” Focus Features
Paul Verhoeven “Benedetta” IFC Films
Potsy Ponciroli “Old Henry” Shout! Studios
Questlove “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” Searchlight Pictures
Roger Michell “The Duke” Sony Pictures Classics
Rose Glass “The Souvenir Part II” A24
Sara Colangelo “Worth” Netflix
Scott Cooper “Antlers” Searchlight Pictures
Shawn Levy “Free Guy” 20th Century Studios
Stephen Daldry “Together” Bleecker Street
Stephen Karam “The Humans” A24/Showtime
Steven Soderbergh “No Sudden Move” Warner Bros
Theo Anthony “All Light Everywhere” Super LTD
Theodore Melfi “The Starling” Netflix
Ting Poo, Leo Scott “Val” Amazon Studios
Todd Haynes “The Velvet Underground” Apple Original Films
Todd Stephens “Swan Song” Magnolia Pictures
Tom McCarthy “Stillwater” Focus Features
Ty Roberts “12 Mighty Orphans” Sony Pictures Classics
Will Sharpe “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” Amazon Studios
Zack Snyder “Army of the Dead” Netflix
AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:
RANK DIRECTOR FILM DISTRIBUTOR
1 Jane Campion “The Power of the Dog” Netflix
2 Kenneth Branagh “Belfast” Focus Features
3 Denis Villeneuve “Dune” Warner Bros
4 Paul Thomas Anderson “Licorice Pizza” MGM/United Artists Releasing
5 Siân Heder “CODA” Apple Original Films
NEXT IN LINE
6 Steven Spielberg “West Side Story” 20th Century Studios
7 Joel Coen “The Tragedy of Macbeth” Apple Original Films/A24
8 Reinaldo Marcus Green “King Richard” Warner Bros
9 Ryûsuke Hamaguchi “Drive My Car” Janus Films/Sideshow
10 Adam McKay “Don’t Look Up” Netflix
OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS
11 Guillermo del Toro “Nightmare Alley” Searchlight Pictures
12 Paolo Sorrentino “The Hand of God” Netflix
13 Ridley Scott “House of Gucci” MGM/United Artists Releasing
14 Lin-Manuel Miranda “Tick, Tick … Boom!” Netflix
15 Pedro Almodóvar “Parallel Mothers” Sony Pictures Classics
16 Maggie Gyllenhaal “The Lost Daughter” Netflix
17 Aaron Sorkin “Being the Ricardos” Amazon Studios
18 Wes Anderson “The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun” Searchlight Pictures
19 Asghar Farhadi “A Hero” Amazon Studios
20 Julia Ducournau “Titane” Neon
ALSO IN CONTENTION
21 Mike Mills “C’mon C’mon” A24
22 Pablo Larrain “Spencer” Neon/Topic Studios
23 Jeymes Samuel “The Harder They Fall” Netflix
24 Joe Wright “Cyrano” MGM/United Artists Releasing
25 Cary Joji Fukunaga “No Time to Die” MGM/United Artists Releasing
26 Ridley Scott “The Last Duel” 20th Century Studios
27 Jon Watts “Spider-Man: No Way Home” Sony Pictures
28 George Clooney “The Tender Bar” Amazon Studios
29 Rebecca Hall “Passing” Netflix
30 Sean Baker “Red Rocket” A24
UNRANKED LISTING
Alan Taylor “The Many Saints of Newark” Warner Bros
Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin “American Underdog” Lionsgate
Andy Serkis “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” Sony Pictures
Antoine Fuqua “The Guilty” Netflix
Apichatpong Weerasethakul “Memoria” Neon
Bassam Tariq “Mogul Mowgli” Strand Releasing
Ben Lewin “Falling for Fagaro” IFC Films
Benjamin Cleary “Swan Song” Apple Original Films
Bill Benz “The Nowhere Inn” IFC Films
Blerta Basholli “Hive” Kino Lorber
Burhan Qurbani “Berlin Alexanderplatz” Kino Lorber
Cate Shortland “Black Widow” Marvel Studios
Celine Sciamma “Petite Maman” Neon
Charlène Favier “Slalom” Kino Lorber
Chloé Zhao “Eternals” Marvel Studios
Chris McKay “The Tomorrow War” Amazon Studios
Christian Petzold “Undine” IFC Films
Christoph Waltz “Georgetown” Vertical Entertainment
Claire McCarthy “The Colour Room” Sky Cinema
Clint Bentley “Jockey” Sony Pictures Classics
Clint Eastwood “Cry Macho” Warner Bros
Craig Brewer “Coming 2 America” Amazon Studios
Craig Gillespie “Cruella” Disney Plus
David Lowery “The Green Knight” A24
Denzel Washington “A Journal for Jordan” Sony Pictures
Destin Daniel Cretton “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” Marvel Studios
Dominic Cooke “The Courier” Lionsgate
Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada “Raya and the Last Dragon” Walt Disney Pictures
Drew Xanthopoulos “Fathom” Apple Original Films
Edgar Wright “Last Night in Soho” Focus Features
Edgar Wright “The Sparks Brothers” Focus Features
Edson Oda “Nine Days” Sony Pictures Classics
Elaine Bogan “Spirit Untamed” Dreamworks Animation
Emma Seligman “Shiva Baby” Utopia
Enrico Casarosa “Luca” Pixar
Euros Lyn “Dream Horse” Bleecker Street
Eva Husson “Mothering Sunday” Sony Pictures Classics
Fran Kranz “Mass” Bleecker Street
François Ozon “Summer of 85” Music Box Films
Garth Jennings “Sing 2” Illumination Animation
Geeta Malik “India Sweets and Spices” Bleecker Street
Gia Coppola “Mainstream” IFC Films
Haifaa Al Mansour “The Perfect Candidate” Music Box Films
Halle Berry “Bruised” Netflix
James Gunn “The Suicide Squad” Warner Bros
Jamila Wignot “Ailey” Neon
Janicza Bravo “Zola” A24
Jared Bush, Byron Howard “Encanto” Walt Disney Pictures
Jason Reitman “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” Sony Pictures
Jaume Collet-Serra “Jungle Cruise” Walt Disney Pictures
Jim Cummings & PJ McCabe “The Beta Test” IFC Films
Joanna Hogg “The Souvenir Part II” A24
John Krasinski “A Quiet Place Part II” Paramount Pictures
John Lee “False Positive” A24
Jon M. Chu “In the Heights” Warner Bros
Jonas Poher Rasmussen “Flee” Neon
Jonathan Butterell “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” Amazon Studios
Josh Ruben “Werewolves Within” IFC Films
Julie Cohen, Betsy West “Julia” Sony Pictures Classics
Justin Chon “Blue Bayou” Focus Features
Lana Wachowski “The Matrix: Resurrections” Warner Bros
Lauren Hadaway “The Novice” IFC Films
Leos Carax “Annette” Amazon Studios
Liesl Tommy “Respect” MGM/United Artists Releasing
M. Night Shyamalan “Old” Universal Pictures
Mia Hansen-Løve “Bergman Island” IFC Films
Michael Sarnoski “Pig” Neon
Michael Showalter “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” Searchlight Pictures
Michel Franco “New Order” Neon
Miguel Sapochnik “Finch” Apple Original Films
Mike Rianda “The Mitchells vs The Machines” Netflix
Natalie Morales “Language Lessons” Shout! Studios
Neill Blomkamp “Demonic” IFC Midnight
Nia DaCosta “Candyman” Universal Pictures
Ninja Thyberg “Pleasure” Neon
Paul Schrader “The Card Counter” Focus Features
Paul Verhoeven “Benedetta” IFC Films
Potsy Ponciroli “Old Henry” Shout! Studios
Questlove “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” Searchlight Pictures
Roger Michell “The Duke” Sony Pictures Classics
Rose Glass “The Souvenir Part II” A24
Sara Colangelo “Worth” Netflix
Scott Cooper “Antlers” Searchlight Pictures
Shawn Levy “Free Guy” 20th Century Studios
Stephen Daldry “Together” Bleecker Street
Stephen Karam “The Humans” A24/Showtime
Steven Soderbergh “No Sudden Move” Warner Bros
Theo Anthony “All Light Everywhere” Super LTD
Theodore Melfi “The Starling” Netflix
Ting Poo, Leo Scott “Val” Amazon Studios
Todd Haynes “The Velvet Underground” Apple Original Films
Todd Stephens “Swan Song” Magnolia Pictures
Tom McCarthy “Stillwater” Focus Features
Ty Roberts “12 Mighty Orphans” Sony Pictures Classics
Will Sharpe “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” Amazon Studios
Zack Snyder “Army of the Dead” Netflix

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