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2013 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

2013 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

Indiewire will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 85th Academy Awards through February 24th, when the winners are announced.

After shocking snubs for Kathryn Bigelow and Ben “I would have won this if I’d been nominated” Affleck, we are left with Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, David O. Russell, and — most surprisingly — Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin in a race with no frontrunner. Spielberg, Lee and even Russell could take this, but we give Spielberg a very slight edge.

Nominees and predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the categories here, and this list of all the Oscar-nominated films available ON DEMAND right now.

The nominees:
“Amour” Michael Haneke
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi” Ang Lee
“Lincoln” Steven Spielberg
“Silver Linings Playbook” David O. Russell

Will win: Steven Spielberg
Could win: Ang Lee
Should win: Michael Haneke

Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

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Look out for my cousin
RYAN COOGLER Best director 2014 ::: Fruitvale Station


How I think it should have been:

1. Ben Affleck, "Argo"*(Runner-up)
2. Tom Hooper, "Les Miserables"
3. Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
4. Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
5. Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"*(WINNER)


Ang Lee should get it. He did a great job with Life of Pi.


I am confident ANG LEE will be the BEST DIRECTOR. I am hoping LIFE OF PI will be the BEST PICTURE as well. @laurelhero


I am confident ANG LEE will be the BEST DIRECTOR. I am hoping LIFE OF PI will be the BEST PICTURE. @laurelhero


Will win: Spielberg
Could win: Russell
Should win: AFFLECK!!!!!!! (for any jokers out there, I do know who is and who is not nominated)


I agree, it would be amazing to see Zeitlin win – he's got my vote

Film Fan

It is very sad to see Afleck and Bigelow not score nominations because they are so deserving (and I am sure if they had been nominated one of them, probably Afleck, would have won). However it does give higher chances to directors that would have been left out. It was very nice to Haneke make and even nicer to see Zeitlin. Benh was a big surprise but it was great to see the academy award someone for such an original and lesser known piece of work. It would be amazing to see Zeitlin win for Beasts & at the same time show a different newer side of the academy. But sadly that won't happen. But whoever does end up winning here deserves it fully, because all of them created great films. It will probably end up coming down between Speilberg & Lee, but I could easily see Haneke coming into the mix as well.

Ryan Lindauer

i disagree on the "should win" (bigelow) but agree on the rest. well done


Life of Pi deserves most of the awards. Most of the movies nominated were nothing special in my opinion. Zero Dark Whatever, Lincoln,Les Mis.
All seem like typical oscar bait movies. Not to mention nearly all the people involved in those movies are campaiging for their awards. How pathetic. I don't see anyone from Pi doing non-stop rounds like those other garbage movies. I am looking at Speilberg, Hatheway,Chastain,Lawrence.


You gotta watch LIFE OF PI at least once [and then THINK about it even more], and you would realize that this film has to be the BEST PICTURE. It has all the great ingredients to win this accolade [hope The Academy get it right this time].

Art, Technology, Storytelling, All perfectly and beautifully blended together. It has such Great depth that makes you want to watch it over and over and over and over again, in a long, long, long, long time to come.

It's like listening to John Lennon. It's like slowly peeling an onion to find out what's in the core, whilst tears slowly trickle down.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter to me whether it wins any Oscars. @laurelhero


How does Speilberg have a"slight edge?" No one has given him an award for directing Lincoln.


IF race/ethnicity of its nominees is one of the influencing factors in determining the Winners, then sadly The Academy will lose its meaning and its place/role as the ultimate representation of GLOBAL films recognition. @laurelhero

Honor The True Winner

IF race/ethnicity of its nominees is one of the influencing factors in determining the Winners, then sadly The Academy will lose its meaning and its place/role as the ultimate representation of GLOBAL films recognition.


Ang Lee. Why not another for him? His movie was well done unlike Lincoln which was nothing special. Typical Oscar bait movie and it was like watching an HBO special. Infact it should have gone straight to HBO on TV,where it belongs. That was the quality of it.


The Academy Awards will vote for Steven because he's been in the business for a long time, he understand the political system and most of the voters are probably his friends. "NO WAY", absolutely NO WAY the Academy Awards will give it to Ang Lee, an Asian cannot win twice. Ben Zeithlin and Michael Haneke can pull a HUGE SURPRISE. David should just try again next year.


The chances are :
Steven Spielberg the highest (He surely the best director ever, unless the Academy is tired of him but they won't)
Ang Lee take the second place (I don't know if the Academy has any Asian member to vote for him, but you know what he seems to be James Cameron with Avatar because like Cameron, he's done the impossible)
The third place is either Michael Haneke or David O. Russell. In my opinion the Benh Zeitlin guy didn't have a single chance to beat the great Steven Spielberg or even just Ang Lee but if the Academy is crazy enough to have him win, it will be weird


Ang Lee won't win it. If anybody is going to pull a surprise win, it will be David O. Russell.

Oscar Specialist

Since Kathryn Bigelow was not nominated under this category the clear front-runner is the great Steven Spielberg


Well I was very disappointed in the directing category this year! The academy missed some huge contenders…Ben Afleck (Argo), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Quentin Tarintino (Django Unchained). They all deserve to be recognized. Ben Afleck has hit the peek of his career and Argo will take Best Picture on Oscar night (He deserves it). Tom Hooper's creativity in Les Miserables was defiantly over looked, bringing the classic play to life with a modern take was breathtaking (Anne's take on "I Dreamed A Dream…she's going to take home Best Supporting Actress). Kathryn Bigelow who took Best Director in 2010 for The Hurt Locker deserved to be nominated for her historic and intense film, Zero Dark Thirty. She has truly broken the "glass ceiling" for women in the industry and she should have been reconized for that yet again. And Quentin Tarintino, who just makes a bada** action film with heart and AMAZING dialogue (which he has in all of his films, brilliant writer) he will take Best Original Screenplay on Oscar night for Django Unchained. Considering the contenders in the category for Best Achievement in Directing Steven Spielberg will probably take the Oscar home because he created a historic movie based on one of the most loved presidents of the United States. He will win because of the history he modernized and brought to life and because well he's Steven Speilberg one of the greatest filmmakers ever in Hollywood. But of all the contenders I think David O. Russell should win Best Director, Silver Linings Playbook was simply a masterpiece and a movie everyone can relate too. Unconventional family, people who don't know where they belong and haven't found a place in life yet. Well all I have to say is that Silver Linings Playbook has found a place and that place is being nominated on Oscar night and should be recognized for being an unforgettable and brilliant film.


Mr. Steven Spielberg. Is going to win, you know why , its all about politics …


Life of Pi was brilliant. Ang Lee will win Best Director and Best Picture.


I will go for Ang Lee as the Best director


In our opinion, the best Director award will go to Steven Spielberg for making the film Lincoln, 2013.


The Academy is tire of Kathryn Bigelow trying hard to compete amongst men. More than 90% of the Academy Awards voters are males. Which means "Male Dominance" tend to be the theme of the Academy. Then there is Ben Affleck who thinks that he can just wake up one morning and decides he wants to direct a film and get nominated for it. Great Director study the art and execution of films for years so as to make near perfect pictures even Kevin Costner did so. Ben is still an "AMATUER IN TRAINING." Cant you people get that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ignatius Albert

Now if we hold a poll on the biggest snubs in Oscars' 85-year history, 2012's Kathryn Bigelow & Ben Affleck would rank up there; they didn't even get nominated! How outrageous is that, especially when both were largely seen as locks by most observers. Quentin Tarantino also has a very strong case with his work in Django Unchained.
What a hugely shocking field of nominees. No one, really no one, could have predicted the 5 directing nominees. Spielberg and Lee were considered near-locks, while David O. Russell was considered a strong contender. But Haneke was a surprise, and Benh Zeitlin simply came out of nowhere to snatch a nomination.
At this moment, I don't see anyone stopping Spielberg from winning, especially when Golden Globe winner Affleck will not be his competitor in the Oscars race.


Wouldn't it be great for Benh Zeitlin to win for best Director… I love surprises at the Academy Awards and I some how belief this guy can take home the big win for achievement in direction.

Juha Hovilainen

I must be the only one who is tired even seeing Mr.Spielber`s name on the list and seems he will win. What a pity…Kathryn Bigelow should have won this….
Michael Haneke`s victory would be great, but that won`t happen. Pity tough…





A Tuuua

Who is familiary with academy history that's no suprise to Michael Haneke get nod, since Fellini, various foreign directors get a nod, like Teshigahara, Gravas, Bergman, Kurusowa, Kieslowski and most recently Lee and Schnabel(that's American). I would love to see Lee win this year, such a wonderful movie, films like that are the reason I love the movies:)


You were wrong about Zeltin ha


Check out my final predictions for this categorie at


My top choices for best director include Bigelow, Affleck, and Ang Lee. The best choice for win would be Lee through his effective direction of music in combination with image, action, and story. Spielberg's genius in directing has been on the decline since his work with "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan." In fine dining, a top chef would look at "Lincoln" and know immediately that it lacks something to enhance the all-around flavor of the dish. Spielberg's direction lacked uniformity and was rather weak at points, especially in the final scenes of the film. The film lagged and was rushed along in the wrong places. The ending was anticlimactic and failed to provide DDL the foundation to truly bring the film to a closing. Instead of ending in a whirlwind, "Lincoln" ended like a deflating balloon. Hooper and Tarantino should also get nods.

Ignatius Albert

The 3 locks for nomination are Spielberg, Bigelow & Affleck; and rightly so as their 3 movies are arguably the best of this year's Oscars. Tom Hooper might just miss out as his directing has not received much praise for "Les Mis".
The 2 slots left up for grabs, in my opinion, shall go to any two of Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino & Michael Haneke. As for Paul Thomas Anderson & David O Russell, not really for me.
My 5 nominess would be: Spielberg – Bigelow – Affleck – Lee – Tarantino with Haneke very close behind and threatening to snatch a slot, especially considering his Palme d'Or for 'Amour'


"Life of Pi" is the Oscar worthy effort this year. For nominations, I would say:
Lee, Affleck, Spielberg are locked. Other possibilities: Tarantino, Zeitlin, Hooper, Bigelow, Mendes, Nolan.

James K

Top 10 (I know it's only 5, but the other 5 are possible spoilers) for Best Director.
01. Katheryn Bigalow, 02. Steven Spielberg, 03. Ben Affleck, 04. Quentin Tarantino, 05. Ang Lee 06. Tom Hooper, 07. Michael Hanek, 08. David O. Russell, 09. Paul Thomas Anderson, 10. Sam Mendes.

I think it's Bigalow's year again, but I would not be shocked if either Spielberg or Affleck win it this year. If any possible spoilers not in my top 10, I'd say depending on how they like Looper, may be Rian Johnson.


Too much VIOLENCE!!

"Life of Pi" , has it's fantastic book as well, Ang Lee Hit PERFECTION with his choices, your heart he captured to see the face all WET of a BENGAL TIGER holding on the side of a lifeboat for dear life, how those 2 managed 227 days at sea is alot to learn for us.
Thank You Ang Lee


Affleck, Spielberg, Bigelow, Hooper, and PTA.

Captain Ron Was Brilliant!

Please…everyone…please take your heads out of Tarantino's ass. He IS a great director, don't get me wrong. But he is capable of making bad movies, and Django was just that: BAD. An empty, soulless exercise in self-indulgence. The film had no point, no subtext, nothing at all to say except that "Slavery was bad, but look how cool I can make it all look." I simply can't believe I'm the minority in this opinion. It started out so well too…just sad… Now, please, everyone go and tell me how stupid I am.

Movie Critic Dave

2012 was a remarkable year for film and this crowded Best Director category only validates it. I too think Bigelow, Affleck and Spielberg are "sure-things". Of the rest, I'd go in this order Ang Lee (although I felt that Life of Pi was a little overrated), Tom Hooper (it was a daring attempt even if it lacked the necessary punch). O.Russell's film is too much of a comedy and Tarantino's is a little edgey for the Academy, even though I have Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained in my top ten of the year (over Les Mis and Life of Pi).


My guess is that Russell is gonna take a nom over Quentin.


It's funny how the fanboys on here keep pushing for TDKR and the Hobbit. Well guess what, there were other movies made last year, so perhaps you should watch those before judging (although most of these movies will probably go over their heads).

As for Best Director, my favorite would probably be Ang Lee. I don't know why Spielberg would get it…I loved Lincoln, but I don't feel any part of that movie was due to groundbreaking directing choices….it was simply good dialogue with a great performance by DDL.

Life of Pi wasn't a great movie, but sequences and shots were beautiful.


Joss Whedon not getting consideration for The Avengers is ridiculous.


And Jacques Audiard…


I actually really doubt Amour will get a director nom but it would be cool if it did.


Ben? Ang? Really indiewire? Skyfall?!
This is Indiewire, not TMZ. I used to think this was a cerebral place to go for information. Based on quality, not a popularity contest. Leave that to the lame hollywood voters. Have some conviction for the true artists.


Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty have the best advantage at best picture and best director.


Argo sucks ! I dont like oscar get involve with politic, Lincoln and django were wonderful,But the oscar goes to Argo for political stuff! martin scorssese didnt make a movie thats no good ! He is my favourite

Film fan

The directing in Django was utterly brilliant. One of the best directed films I have seen in quite a long time.


I do not think that NOlan will win an Oscar, much less a nomination. The dark knight rises was good but it was not as amazing as the dark knight and since that movie was shamefully overlooked, I believe it willbe another dry knight for NOlan. This year there are many stong contenders but my money is certainly on Ben and Steven and ANg.

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Oscar is politicaly…argo not really.aflek is political.anti is iran..but ang lee_spilberg_hanke is good good director..ang lee by life of pi want make good film..

Stuart O'Connor

SERIOUSLY????…….do you guys watch movies……David Ayers…….End of Watch… shots and direction never before seen….puts you in the movie………not just a spectator……come on

Juha Hovilainen

Kathryn Bigelow all the way please. I must be the only person who is tired and bored Mr.Spielberg. His best work will always be "Schindler`s List". Ben Afflick…Is it just me or was the movie just average….Nothing special or extra-ordinary.
Rather would like to see a nomination for Sam Mendes "Skyfall", but that won`t happen.


The very long shots except Affleck & Lee far more credible as superior directing efforts. Skyfall & Dark Knight Rises are major directing achievements. Lincoln way overrated direction. This is directing not ensemble acting, not social commentary of cinema, directing. The Master should fall to bottom of list of long shots along with Moonrise Kingdom and Amour. Jackson the real sleeper.


I, too, believe Haneke will be nominated, but think Paul Thomas Anderson will take Ang Lee's spot.


Seeing that I have seen all of these movies I can judge whether they can be here or not. Speilberg, while his best movie in years doesnt deserve 1 spot he might get in there but I dont see him winning for Lincoin. Bigelow, deserves to be nominated it is better then the Hurt Locker but I dont see her wining b/c she only won this two years ago. Affleck, deserves a spot for Argo, got snubed for the Town and I think Argo is better then the Town. Lee, I dont see him getting nominated because he has already won and Life of Pie is not nearly as good as his previous work. Haneke, he should get nominated but I dont see it happening becuase its from a different countrie and is in a different language and while a movie like that can be nominated I dont see Amour being a movie good enough to be from different countrie and getting nominated. Hooper, first off this movie is not good enough to be nominated for anything but Hooper just won it a year ago so I dont see him nominated. Russel, this movie is to sappy and uniteresting and he was just nominated a year ago. Anderson, this is his best movie to date he definity deserves to be nominated and win. Tarantino, deserves it to not his best Pulp Fiction and Bastards are better but it still better then 95% of the movies this year. Zeitlin, good movie but I think it is to independent to get nominated. Mendes, good James Bond movie not good enough for Bond to go to the oscars. Anderson, deserves to win but the acadamy has yet to see the true art that is in Andersons work he should have got a best director award many years ago. Nolan, deserves a best director award just not for this movie he should have got it for the Dark Knight or maybe Inception. Zemeckis, average movie and a average director people still are on his Forrest Gump kick. Jackson, good movie not as good as LOTR and I think the acadamy thinks they have given Jackson his due with how they awarded LOTR


you have both Nolan and Jackson as 'very long shots'? are you actually being fucking serious?

Stephen Earnest

Steve Spielberg simply does not deserve the Oscar. "Lincoln" is not even close to one of his best films and the fact that it is being so talked about as a serious awards contender is just mind-blowing. Aside from Daniel Day-Lewis' performance, it's a generic biopic that promises much and accomplishes little. The photography is muddled and the supporting performances (minus James Spader, who I quite liked) are nothing special. Directors like Ben Affleck and Paul Thomas Anderson deserve more recognition for their feats than Spielberg for they have both created something that is unlike the rest. We've all seen "Lincoln" a thousand times before. Hell, if it up were up to me, I'd make sure that directors like William Friedkin and Rian Johnson got the credit they deserved. It just seems like the Academy is giving it to Spielberg because he's Spielberg.


I don't believe Michael Haneke will get nominated, and Amour is not likely to get a best picture nom, although a Foreign Language slot is assured for it (and it can probably win it). The first four seem to be very likely, with Tarantino, Russell and Hooper duking it out for the last spot.


Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, The Dark Knight Rises, and maybe Moonrise Kingdom, The Master, Silver Linings Playbook.
Newly updated No Les Miserables, Hobbit, Django Unchained, and no Amour.
Amour is foreign language, the rest don't have high enough ratings.


Nolan will be snubbed as usual. He deserved it for Inception but was snubbed. I think Rian Johnson should get a nomination for Looper. Very well directed


It will be Spielberg for "Lincoln"

Ignatius J Reilly

I vote Affleck only because of the five here, 3 have one it previously (Spielberg twice), which leads me to believe they won't win again. Only because the films they are nominated for seem minor compared to their previous work. Except for Bigelow; not sure why she is even taken seriously. I don't care to see another film about our military conflicts in the Middle East. Anderson shouldn't be discounted. The Academy has been kind to him in the past.


Peter Jackson for The Hobbit not being anywhere on this list as a possible spoiler, or even a long shot its absolute insanity.

Dave Traverso

I think there's currently only two stone-cold locks in this category, Affleck and Spielberg. Assuming ZD30 and Les Mis are as good as we anticipate, I see one odd man out in the collection of Bigelow, Hooper, Lee and Paul Thomas Anderson. The academy LOVES Anderson, which could lead to a snub for Lee. But until ZD30 and Les Mis get screened a little more, it's too early to tell.


my nominees list: (in alphabetical order by movie)

1. Ben Affleck, "Argo"
2. Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
3. Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
4. Tom Hooper, "Les Miserables"
5. Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"


Where the hell's Christopher Nolan?!


Christopher Nolan should be nominated for The Dark Knight Rises. Ben Affleck for Agro, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. Upcoming guesses Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty. These four at least


Christopher Nolan should be nominated for The Dark Knight Rises. Ben Affleck for Agro, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. Upcoming guesses Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty. These four at least


Christopher Nolan should be nominated for The Dark Knight Rises. Ben Affleck for Agro, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. Upcoming guesses Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty. These four at least


Christopher Nolan is the best director ever..!!

Kyle D.

Understand that the pictures you might consider the most entertaining films and what will be considered by the academy as "best" films are often greatly misaligned. i.e. TDKR, The Avengers, Prometheus, etc.


nolan for batman? nolan fanboys are too funny. Peter jackson will probably get the nod since the hobbit is this year.


Argo will most definitely NOT get a nod for Directing. Maybe picture, I definitely see it sneaking in there with the new rules, but not a chance for director, not while there are far better talented filmmakers in the running this year. I say the locks are PTA, Hooper, Speilburg, David O'Russel (although that film looks so mediocre) and the fifth will be determined depending how well Life of Pi, Django and Zero Dark Thirty are recieved. I still can't believe you all explicitly left out Peter Jackson for The Hobbit, you really tink it has NO chance of getting a nod? At all? I definitely think it contends more than Moonrise Kingdom, which I believe by the time Oscar's come around, everyone will have forgotten about.

The only person that we ALREADY know deserves a nod for director is Behn Zeitlin but we can all expect the Academy to snub him (then again Terrence Malick got the nod last year so… who knows?).


Christopher Nolan should be nominated for The Dark Knight Rises, Ben Affleck should also get nominated for Argo. There both Great Films


Definitely thinking Hooper will get a nomination instead of Lee. The other four seem like locks so far.

As for those complaining about Nolan. I agree, he deserves it, but sadly the Academy just doesn't seem to like him. He's deserved it for Memento, The Dark Knight, and Inception, and has been snubbed every time which leads me to doubt he'll get it this year.


I think that christopher nolan will get the nomination for TDKR becuase it is the end of the trilogy and he got snubbed three times before


Will they split the director and picture awards this year for the first time since 2005? That would be great if it was PTA's year but I kind of doubt it.


Pardon me, but where is PETER JACKSON!?!?!?!?!? The man's practically a legend!

Les Grossman

i'll giv my oscar to Quentin Tarantino


kinda stupid predction; Argo won't get it. PTA will + Lee & Spielberg are Oscar's fave. Hooper has a good chance too (after robing it from Fincher ;) ).
Oscar's matter ain't the best direction, it's a kinda lobby :P


And Nolan is not getting nominated. Calm down and get over it. Probably for his best movie, which is a biopic.


I'm gonna predict that Argo will not get the nomination. It will probably be as good as The Town and get less nominations than this site is predicting.




1. Paul Thomas Anderson РThe Master, 2. Tom Hooper РLes Mis̩rables, 3. Ben Affleck РArgo, 4. Michael Haneke РLove, 5. Kathryn Bigelow РZero Dark Thirty / Steven Spielberg РLincoln


Oscars: always predictable, always boring. Not watcing it whatsoever.

Gorgeous George


pharmach power

my point is Nolan may not get for direction , but for the adapted screenplay there is a chance..


1. PT Anderson- The Master
2. Steven Spielberg- Lincoln
3. Tom Hooper- Les Miserables
4. Ben Affleck- Argo
5. Ang Lee- Life of Pi

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