A Titanic Shakeup is Experienced by the Best Director Race

A Titanic Shakeup is Experienced by the Best Director Race ...

IndieWire's previous Best Director predictions for the 2023 Oscars are updated regularly throughout the season, and we republish previous versions (like this one) to keep readers updated on the progress of the Oscar race.

All of our 2023 Oscar predictions are updated throughout the awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all of our Oscar picks. Nominations voting will run from January 12 to January 17, 2023, and official Oscar nominations will be announced on January 24, 2023. The 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

Marcus Jones, our Award Editor for TV and film, discusses the latest Oscars predictions from Anne Thompson. See their previous thoughts on what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards here.

The Race's State

The Best Director competition appears poised to reverse a few recent trends. Despite a spike in awards for women and international directors in the last five years, the current frontrunners are veterans who have won the Oscar in this category previously.

James Cameron, the long-awaited sequel to Oscar-winning "Avatar," is wowing early audiences with a stunning and intense mix of family drama, peaceful underwater worlds, and war movie fare. In a year of big swings, the follow-up to the most successful film of all time might soar to the top of a stacked category, knocking "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," Ryan Coogler's worldwide blockbuster for Marvel Studios.

Cameron's main competitor is Steven Spielberg, the master of American filmmaking. "The Fabelmans," his auto-fictional account of his busy home life that shaped him into an artist, won the People's Choice Award at TIFF, one of the more reliable Best Picture predictors, and brought down the house at its U.S. premiere at AFI Fest in Los Angeles.

Though directors James Gray, Sam Mendes, and Alejandro G. Iárritu have all won Oscar nominations for their respective investigations into their personal lives, including "Armageddon Time," "Empire of Light," and "Bardo," they are less likely to enter the category.

Todd Field's "TR" and Martin McDonagh's "The Banshees of Inisherin," two fall film festival favorites, have been rewarded with a lot of box office buzz and praise from critics, winning both Best Picture and Best Actress at the recent New York Film Critics Circle Awards. McDonagh and Field have both been nominated in the writing category many times, but have been left out of the Best Picture categories this year.

During the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, Claire Foy, Sarah Polley, Jessie Buckley, and Rooney Mara will perform the premiere of "Women Talking."

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Sarah Polley, another Best Adapted Screenplay nominee, has the greatest chance of continuing the unprecedented streak of female Best Director nominees with her film 'Women Talking,' which recently won the category, as well as Chloe Zhao's 'Nomadland,' which won Best Director in 2021.

With "Babylon," Damien Chazelle might have gotten too close to the sun in the craft categories. It will be an uphill battle for the most recent winner to win Best Director for the second time in a year where even more recent past winners have delivered more distinguished work.

Except for recent winners like Guillermo del Toro ("Pinocchio"), international directors have often broken into the Best Director category, according to Academy members. S.S. Rajamouli might be the newcomer who has the best chance of keeping that streak going right now, who just received a boost from the NYFCC, and whose film "RRR" (Variance Films) is a must-see in Academy circles.

Ruben stlund's chances are now slim because, while his film "Triangle of Sadness" did well at the box office, some Academy members, even if they like his previous films "Force Majeure" and "The Square," consider the Palme d'Or winner's comedy to be a gross-out comedy. For MUBI's "Decision to Leave," Seoul filmmaker Park Chan-wook received the Cannes directing award, but the film's stylized film noir

Gina Prince-Bythewood and the Daniels, both of whom were among the few films that were nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, are more popular than any other nominee.

Ke Huy Quan, who formerly occupied the position of Best Supporting Actor in the Best Actress category, has since been elevated to the same position as Michelle Yeoh, who has no familial connection. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert may not have overcome their prejudice, but their accomplishment might have persuaded those voters to reconsider their position.

Below, the contenders are listed in alphabetical order. No director will be considered a frontrunner until we have seen the film.

James Cameron ("Avatar: The Way of Water"), Todd Field ("TR"), Martin McDonagh ("The Banshees of Inisherin"), Sarah Polley ("Women Talking"), Steven Spielberg ("The Fabelmans"),

Damien Chazelle (“Babylon”) Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) Guillermo del Toro (“Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio”) Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) Gina Prince-Bythewood ("The Woman King") S.S. Rajamouli ("RRR")

Long Shots: Darren Aronofsky ("The Whale") Noah Baumbach ("White Noise") Edward Berger ("All Quiet on the Western Front") Antoine Fuqua ("Emancipation") Oliver Hermanus ("Living") Sam Mendes ("Empire of Light") Ruben stlund ("Decision to Leave") Jordan Peele ("Nope") Charlotte Wells ("Aftersun")