The Ten Contenders [Updated] — World of Reel

Never won a directing Oscar: Kubrick, Hitchcock, Godard, Welles, Kurosawa, Lynch, PTA, Chaplin, Tarantino, Cronenberg, Malick, Fellini, Bergman, Varda, Leone, Fincher, Altman, Hawks, Lumet, Campion, Herzog, Scott , Gilliam, Preminger, Cassavetes, Lang – It’s all meaningless, folks.

And yet it’s always fun to speculate well in advance when it comes to the Best Director category. Why? Because we want the best filmmakers to win so they have more freedom to make more films. As simple as that.

Upon request, I have decided to update my list of contenders for best director. Obviously things have changed since my initial release back in June.

David Fincher (The Killer) is now most likely a candidate for 2023. Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) may or may not submit his film at the last minute. Andrew Dominik (Blonde) has a movie I just heard about yesterday from someone who is a totally fascinating MESS (still looking forward to it). George C. Wolfe (Rustin) is not ready.

Suffice it to say that 2022 may very well be known as the year that marquee filmmakers delayed their films by a year. It’s really unprecedented what we’re seeing, the likes of Lanthimos, Scorsese, Fincher, Aster, Glazer, Anderson have all been kicked to the curb in 2023.

I also can’t help but get sucked into the rumors that Damien Chazelle’s Babylon is being postponed, I heard this “rumor” from a seasoned Oscars pundit in June and the fact that still no trailer or picture has been released was affecting me. However, let’s count it as 2022 for now.

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I’m tempted to think Todd Field is our frontrunner. As mentioned two days ago, I’ve only heard great things about “Tar” from anyone comparing the frame to Kubrick. A “swirling and meticulously crafted epic about obsession,” one person told me.

Getting back to the Oscar race, I’ve been struggling to decipher many of the question marks surrounding this year’s fall crop of contenders. The result, to keep a close eye on these ten filmmakers:

  • Steven Spielberg (The Fablemans)

  • Damien Chazelle (Babylon)

  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (bardo)

  • Todd Field (TAR)

  • Sarah Poley (women talk)

  • Sam Mendes (kingdom of light)

  • Kwan/Scheinert (everything everywhere…)

  • Noah Baumbach (White noise)

  • Darren Aronofsky (The whale)

  • Florian Zeller (The son)

For now I’m sticking with these. This list will likely change once the films are actually shown in Venice/Telluride/Toronto.

I’d be thrilled if Audrey Diwan (Happening) could muster some Oscar enthusiasm. Your film is now the latest on the US 2022 release calendar. I’ll be talking more about that film later this week.

Then there is the “Cannes Slot” which takes place every few years. This year, Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave) could be creeping in there, although I’m very skeptical his intricately linked film will go anywhere. More realistically, Palme d’Or winner Ruben Ostlund (Triangle Sadness) is gaining traction – he could be the one.

Lukas Dhont (Close) might have the second best shot, having directed a film that fully adheres to the Academy’s film sensibilities. And yet it’s all about Telluride?

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