The one category at this years Academy Awards that I really find the most interesting is for best director. The reasons I’m so intrigued are because four of the nominees have never been nominated before for directing, the fifth director could be the first director to win best director two years in a row and finally it’s the names that weren’t nominated. The category is so filled with great work this year that even critically acclaimed and best picture nominee films by legendary directors Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg and they are not up for the award. The other director that could have easily been nominated was newcomer Ryan Coogler for the astonishing new installment in the historic Rocky franchise, Creed. Unfortunately, only five can be nominated and those are the three that didn’t make the cut. Here are the ones who did make it.
Adam McKay The Big Short
McKay has been primarily known for his great collaboration with the always hysterical, Will Ferrell. Taking a step away from the extreme comedy, he has become accustomed to, is one of the biggest transformations for a director since Jonathan Demme went from semi trashy comedies to the terrifying and brilliant, Silence Of The Lambs. McKay most likely won’t complete the transition the way Demme did, with a win, but he has definitely expanded his range and has shown he can hang with the best of them.
George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller is a legend and you probably don’t even know it. He created an entire genre with the post apocalyptic style when he created the first Mad Max movie over 35 years ago. He has returned to his roots and made it better than ever. The thing you might not know about Miller is his softer side. He has made some great family films as well, including the huge hit Happy Feet and its sequel. This is his first nomination for directing, but he is no stranger to the Oscar experience. He’s been nominated for writing and even picture of the year. He’s the dark horse in this category, but not completely out of it.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu The Revenant
Inarritu is the front runner as of right now and is poised to become the first director to win the award in back to back. It’s an extremely hard feat due to the fact that great directors rarely put out work at that high quality so quickly back to back. The Revenant is once again a perfect storm just like Birdman was last year. Career performances by the whole cast just prove Inarritu’s talent and ability. If I was asked immediately after the Golden Globes I would have almost guaranteed his win, but as more awards have been handed out the tide is slowly turning. He is still the favorite, but only slightly.
Lenny Abrahamson Room
The newcomer to the group has really caught everyone’s attention with the heart wrenching and difficult story, Room. Tasked with shooting half his movie in a small, cramped room and making you feel the little comfort Brie Larson’s character has tried to create for her son, yet maintaining the horrifying feeling that needs to be felt. He also did a wonderful job showing their life on the outside while they have the challenge of adapting and trying to feel free and no longer contained. He is the longest shot to win, but look for him to do well at the independent spirit awards.
Tom McCarthy Spotlight
Character actor turned director finds himself at the helm of one of the most powerful and important movies of the last few years. Most recognizable as Dr. Bob from the Meet The Parents films, he has directed five feature films and had much critical acclaim with four of them and now has an Oscar nomination to show for his good if yet brief work. He is the closest threat to Inarritu’s chance at two in a row. As award season has gone on, Spotlight Hamas gained more and more momentum and could very well be the winner of quite a few major awards including this one.