The 2022 Oscars race for Best Director is one of the most packed in recent memory, where Oscar-winners like Steven Spielberg, Jane Campion, Clint Eastwood, Adam McKay, Joel Coen, Pedro Almodovar, and Guillermo Del Toro, plus acclaimed filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve, Ridley Scott, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kenneth Branagh, Wes Anderson, George Clooney, are all in competition for the top prize.
According to the combined Gold Derby odds, the leader of the Oscars 2022 Best Director predictions at the moment is Campion, one of only seven women to ever receive a Best Director nomination from the Academy Awards. Her film, “The Power of the Dog,” has been a top contender since its debut at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year. (Campion won the Silver Lion award for directing at Venice, just the second woman to take that honor and the first since 2009.) Should Campion receive her expected nomination at the 2022 Oscars, she’d make history as the first woman to ever earn two Best Director nominations from the academy.
Villeneuve, a previous nominee in 2017 for “Arrival,” is the strongest runner-up pick at the moment thanks to his science-fiction epic “Dune.” The rest of the top-five is rounded out by Branagh, whose autobiographical drama “Belfast” is a top Best Picture contender, and then two films yet to widely screen for critics and awards experts: Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” and Del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley.” The expert odds tell a slightly different story: the same top-five, but with Branagh running just behind Campion.
But as noted, the list of contenders here runs deep. Coen, without his brother Ethan for the first time, is highly ranked for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Breakout filmmakers Reinaldo Marcus Green for “King Richard” and Sian Heder for “CODA” are holding their own for two movies with broad Best Picture appeal and aspirations, Almodovar for “Parallel Mothers” and Pablo Larrain for “Spencer” are popular art-house selections. Scott, who has somehow never won an Oscar and gone more than two decades without even a nomination, is a contender for two movies: “The Last Duel” and perhaps his better shot, “House of Gucci.” Further down the line: Spielberg for “West Side Story,” McKay for “Don’t Look Up,” and Cannes Film Festival winner Julia Ducournau for “Titane.”
Last year’s Best Director race was dominated by Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland.” Zhao steamrolled through awards season and became just the second woman and first non-white woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director. Zhao is technically back in the race this year thanks to the Marvel blockbuster “Eternals,” but the film’s poor critical response and the academy’s general disinterest in superhero films likely make Zhao an incredible longshot for a repeat nomination.
My Oscars 2022 Best Director predictions as of Monday, November 1 (updated weekly)
- Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
- Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”
- Denis Villeneuve, “Dune”
- Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza”
- Reinaldo Marcus Green, “King Richard”
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