This post was updated January 23rd and these predictions are FINAL.
The Predicted Nominees
The DGA helped clear the race up a bit. Only twice in the last ten years has the DGA not lined up with Oscar on at least four directing nominees. Damien Chazelle is the clear frontrunner for his Tinseltown love story La La Land. Maybe fatigue of a film that’s been called the likely winner for months now will arise, but even then, it’s hard to see anyone else winning. Chazelle, at 31, would be the youngest winner here ever. Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) should be safe for a nom and has picked up numerous awards throughout the season. The DGA nom seems huge for Denis Villeneuve. He’s been knocking on the door for a few years now and it appears as if the intimate sci-fi film Arrival will finally get him through. I’m a bit worried about Kenneth Lonergan. Manchester by the Sea is a likely best picture nom that’ll receive at least two acting noms and a screenplay nom as well. By that evidence, he SHOULD be a lock, generally. But the film isn’t exactly showy on the directorial front. I could see him surprisingly being shut out. I have the legendary Martin Scorsese getting a lone director nom without Silence getting in best picture. That *can* happen. Scorsese’s name hasn’t shown up much of anywhere yet but Silence wasn’t finished on time to run the usual campaign. It’s a late player, and a passion project for its esteemed director. Maybe the branch recognizes. The fifth spot is wide open though.
1) Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
2) Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
3) Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
4) Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
5) Martin Scorsese (Silence)
On The Bubble
First time feature director Garth Davis (Lion) surprised most by scoring a DGA nom. Is The Weinstein Company working that magic that got Morten Tyldum a directing nom a couple years back for The Imitation Game. I still believe he’s too much of a newcomer to ultimately get in here, but he’s right there. It feels like both Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge) and David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water) really needed the DGA. But someone has to get that fifth spot and they’re right there at the helm of two films set for multiple nominations. Both would be deserving. The others are all a bit longer of reaches, but hey, we always get a few major shockers on Oscar morning.
6) Garth Davis (Lion)
7) Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
8) David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water)
9) Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)
10) Denzel Washington (Fences)
11) Clint Eastwood (Sully)
12) Jeff Nichols (Loving)