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2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Director

READ MORE: Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight 

Following in the footsteps of their DGA nominations, Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight"), Adam McKay ("The Big Short"), George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road") and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("The Revenant") all repeated with the Academy.

Leading the race is 70-year-old veteran George Miller, whose nomination this year marks his first nom ever. In one of this year’s most shocking turn of events, "The Martian" director Ridley Scott was left off this list in favor of Lenny Abrahamson, whose contained direction of "Room" has been critically acclaimed but was hardly considered a real threat by most insiders.

Below is Anne Thompson’s take on how things might shake down in the race for best director. Check out Thompson on Hollywood’s Oscar predictions page for more awards season analysis. Click here for more category breakdowns on Indiewire.

Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight")
Adam McKay ("The Big Short")
George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road")
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("The Revenant")

Lenny Abrahamson, "Room"

Predicted Winner: George Miller
Potential Spoiler: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

WINNER: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

For more insight into the 2016 awards season, visit the Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight homepage here.

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ray devey

Alejandro Gonzalez will win this


Still predicting Miller for the win? I would love to hear the logic behind this. He is hopelessly out of the game as far as I can tell.


I’d love to see Miller win, he deserves it. Mad Max was such an unexpected movie that it blew me away when I watched it. The directing and cinematography was superb.


Actually, this year marks George Miller’s 5th and 6th nominations. Miller HAS won an Oscar before, for "Happy Feet."


Mad Max is quite likely the favorite here.


Should win: George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Shoulda been here: Todd Haynes (Carol)

Eder G.Toledo

Alejandro G.Iñarritu deserves that prize.

thomas kurt petersen

The directing Oscar used to always match up with best picture and screenplay ( yeas there is a formula!) but not so much in the last ten years or so. Best picture will definitely be one that shares the screenplay award. Best director has been all over but this year George Miller is as close to a lock as you’ll get. The academy will not choose Mad Max but will feel that Justice is done by giving it to Miller, he’ll win…take it to the bank!

Dex Ancel

Inarritu should win

Tomas Zelenka

Wow, it’s race between 4 different directors, I don’t think I have ever seen that. Mad Max was absolutely snubbed at Baftas, so I am not sure if these kind of voters like it as much as everybody else. Adam McKay managed to do drama with comedy style of directing and therefore did something new, so he shouldn’t be counted out. Inarritu won last time and while Revenant is beautiful, last two directors were awarded for "long shot" directing, so they probably would like a change. McCarthy’s direction is not distinctive, so he probably won’t win. They all deserve it in their own way, so I am not going to be dissapointed either way.

Ken the Magnificient

but what about the DIVERSITY!?!?


This competition is between ALEJANDRO INARRITU for The Revenant vs. GOERGE MILLER for Mad Max: Fury Road. Both are great directors! and I hope both of them will win. lol.


My Final Choices for Best Director: In Alphabetical Order: 1.PETE DOCTER for Inside Out, 2.TODD HAYNES for Carol, 3.ALEJANDRO INARRITU for The Revenant, 4.GEORGE MILLER for Mad Max: Fury Road, 5.RIDLEY SCOTT for the Martian. and the Best Director goes to GEORGE MILLER for MAD MAX: FURY ROAD!!!!!


"and for Miller, not even a nomination" Umm, I’m pretty sure he won an Oscar in 2007.


Who wrote this article? George Miller was nominated for plenty of Oscars before. In face he won one for Happy Feet!


So far in the front runner list I have watched Martian and Mad Max, it is clear to me that Scott do not have any chance against Miller. Innaritu can spoil the party though who is basking on his recent Globe victory.


Todd Haynes for Carol deserves to be put on this list.


Just saying, Steven Spielberg is missing from this list. I wouldn’t mind a snub of him in favor of Todd Haynes, but I’m sure it was just an oversight.


No Spielberg?


Yorgos Lanthimos – The Lobster


Quentin Tarantino is criminally overlooked.


In my opinion Tarantino has a much better chance than JJ Abrams, but then again I never really liked Abrams so who knows…

Dan M.

I’d be shocked if Todd Haynes isn’t in the final five nominees. His work in Carol already took several of the critics’ year-end awards. It’s rare, but I predict an exact copy of the Golden Globe director noms: Haynes, Innaritu, McCarthy, Miller, Scott.


George Miller won an Oscar for Happy Feet.


I think George Miller is gonna win. His directing style on Fury Road is superb


Hate Iñarritu. Last year it was for Linklater


I love Ridley Scott but the Martian was a a cute and entertaining film but not Oscar worthy in my opinion. Todd Haynes "Carol", Alejandro González Iñárritu, "The Revenant" and David O. Russell’s "Joy" seems like sure bets to me.


Adam McKay over Alejandro G. Iñárritu? Other guy went to the wild nature for eight f*cking months to shoot with natural light in the cold. The other one hired good actors, put bad wigs on them and made a Wolf of Wall Street pastiche that looks like an SNL joke. I predict: Iñarritu for "The Revenant", McCarthy for "Spotlight", Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road", Haynes for "Carol" and Abrahamson for "Room". The winner would be George Miller for "Mad Max".


George Miller already won an Oscar for Happy Feet (not in the directing category, but I’d say it counts as Happy Feet was his project, much like Mad Max).

That being said, my choice is George Miller.

George Lucas

My List is
1. George Miller
2. Ridley Scott
3. Lenny Abrahamson
4. Tom McCarthy
5. Cary Fukunaga

George Lucas

It should be Miller vs Scott for this award. McCarthy did a great job but nothing unique or special was brought to the table by him.


I’m rooting for Iñárritu, Abrahamson or Fukunaga. Those guys are the stars of this year!






Give it to George Miller!!!! HE DESERVES IT!


I’m rooting for Ridley Scott since The Martian was brilliant and went again all odds this award season. Thomas McCarthy should not win here but in original screenplay instead. Alejandro G Iñarritu is most likely going to take the Win become the third back to back best director winner. Although George Miller accomplished my favorite achievement in directing this year for Mad Max


Adam, you might not realize this, but Indiewire is not the Academy Awards… they don’t create the Academy narrative that the voters have to follow.

There are big name directors that make consistently great films with big stars. It’s content…


Ridley will win this. Over due? Yes. Sentiments (especially for "Gladiator")? Yes


David O. Russell is probably the most overrated director ever.I don’t understand why Oscar’s make such a big fuss about him and his mediocre movies.Except Fighter that was a very good movie.
I can’t wait for the Ravenant,i don’t think Inarritu will get it after last years win but still the movie looks great.


By the Sea has got really, really bad reviews( 38% on RT) so I think Jolie doesn’t have a chance this year at all.

Lautaro Fuentes

Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu (The Revenant)
Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
David O. Russell (Joy)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Laszlo Nemes (Son of Saul=


Going by the checklist again. The boring gets nominated, and the real cinema will be ignored. "Mad Max" should be at the top, but it’s already being dismissed, just like "The Martian". This is Hollywood now.


After being snubbed of ANY nominations for the excellent Prisoners, I think Denis Villeneuve is due.


Sicario was easily the best directed film I have seen so far this year, followed by Ex Machina.


What about J.J. Abrams and Star Wars 7

AS Alfred

10 DIRECTORS WHOM POSSESS HIGH CHANCES TO PLACE THEMSELVES ON THE LIST OF TOP 5: Steven Spielberg FOR Bridge Of Spies, Danny Boyle FOR Steve Jobs, Quentin Tarantino FOR The Hateful Eight, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu FOR The Revenant, David O.Russell FOR Joy, Tom McCarthy FOR Spotlight, Todd Haynes FOR Carol, Denis Villeneuve FOR Sicario, Ridley Scoot FOR The Martian, Tom Hooper FOR The Danish Girl.


Angelina Jolie for directing? LOL! She has proven she can’t direct by messing up Unbroken. I doubt her skills have improved much then.




I somehow doubt that In the Heart of the Sea and By the Sea are going to be good movies. Nevertheless I would be pleased if they were.


Why is everyone saying The Danish Girl is getting terrible reviews? It’s currently sitting at an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 65 on metacritic. Not GREAT scores by any means, but TERRIBLE scores?


Angelina jolie for director really loon?


The Danis Girl has terrible reviews. I don’t think it will get major Oscars. Black Mass on the other hand has rave reviews and the director will probably be nominated for it. Maybe you should switch the spots of the Danish Girl and Black Mass


@ Aria
Natalie Portman’s " A Tale of Love and Darkness" got okay reviews at TIFF and at Venice. If any woman director as a shot at this, its proboably Portman. Jolie ‘s directing was serverly panned when Unbroken came out. i don’t think By the Sea looks good and it will be another failure. Jolie should be put at the bottem of the list or taken out. I do find it weird how By the Sea is absent from all of the major film festivals and an embargo has been put on it too. I think that movie will end up being another stinker from Jolie.


Jolie is a talentless director. I mean, did anybody watch Unbroken? By the Sea looks like a parody for gods sake.
Maybe you should take out AJ and put in Natalie Portman. She has been getting good reviews for her directing venture.


Indie, you guys need to update sometime. I do not believe Sarah Gavron will be nominated this year. It’s a pretty stacked race this year, with industry heavyweights like Hooper and Boyle vying to get in the race. I also expect Tarantino to make some huge waves with his eighth venture ‘The Hateful Eight’. Look’s like its going to be a big one for him, David O. Russell’s ‘Joy’ looks equally formidable.


Bit of a long shot, but I’m hopeful for George Miller, as that seems to be the strongest directorial work of the year so far, he’s the guy to beat.


Please re-read that first sentence…

Zachary Hardy

Here are my nomination predictions:

Olivier Assayas-Clouds of Sils Maria
Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen-Inside Out
Todd Haynes-Carol
George Miller-Mad Max: Fury Road
Abderrahmane Sissako-Timbuktu


To Adam, the point is that the way that the films are marketed (i.e. trailer, budget, festivals) and the talent attached to it (i.e. Alejandro Inarrito has never made a movie that wasn’t nominated while Oliver Stone has more variance in his oeuvere) is by and large a steady predictor of the, yes not 100% based on artistic merit, Academy Awards. My friends and I predicted 80% of the nominations last year bast on Wikipedia info and trailers alone.


Everyone around the world should get behind Sri Rajamouli for Oscar Award for best director this year not just Indians this should be a joint effort to let the academy know how we feel about this effort and film.


The mere fact that most of the names listed up there have never received any director nominations kinda defeats the notion that the academy is ignoring movies YOU PERSONALLY are excited to see in favor of "good ol boys club bullshit"


Can the writer reasonably explain why films like "SouthPaw" and "Dope" are not included in this conversation?? I see Adam’s point; this this stuff reeks of good ol boys clubs bullshit.


1. Todd Haynes (Carol)
2. Tom Hooper (The Danish Girl)
3. Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Reverant)
4. Lazlo Nemes (Son of Saul)
5. Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies)
6. Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs)
7. Sarah Gavron (Suffragate)
8. Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
9. George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
10. Scott Cooper (Black Mass)
11.Denis Villenueve (Sicario)
12. John Crowley (Brooklyn)
13. Oliver Stone (Snowden)
14. Justin Kurzel (MacBeth)
15. Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster)

Benjamin Jones

@Adam You’d be surprised how accurately you can predict how good movies will be based on the director and writer attached. The categories are also very broad, and you’re acting like they’re set in stone. They aren’t, and IndieWire admits it.

It’s hard to believe that a film by Danny Boyle or O’Russell or Inarritu is going to be extremely terrible, or even remotely bad, simply by nature of their craft. But despite these wide predictions, some of the films have been under limited release at festivals and the like, so I wouldn’t say it’s an 100% blind assumption. For example, in the "3 to beat" category, all of those films have been released.


Why is Jolie in this category? I find it insulting to put her in here with real director who have the talent and skills to pull of making great films. Jolie has proven with Unbroken she can’t direct to save her life. mark my words By the Sea will be another oscar-baity flop just like how Unbroken is. Please take her off the list. She doesnt deserve to be amongst these talented directors.


No chance for Cianfrance? Light between Oceans appears to be everywhere in the other categories , but not director…


"Do you think this kind of baseless speculation makes it harder to pretend that the Academy Awards are based on artistic merit at all, and lends credence to the idea that it is 100% about politics?"

Why does this mean it’s based on politics? If anything, all this proves is that the academy has a predictable voting record. They have movies that they tend to like and movies they tend to ignore. You and I are the same way, yet we don’t pick our favorite movies based on politics.

Frankly I’m grateful that the academy doesn’t just nominate the top box office breaking movies, or else Furious 7 and 50 Shades of Grey would all be listed amongst possibilities, instead of the sure to be much superior ones ACTUALLY listed despite them probably having nowhere near the box office return of other movies this year. Does that just not count for anything anymore, or do they need to pick movies YOU like in order to be about "artistic merit"?


I’d love it for Jean-Marc Vallée to win. I wouldn’t be surprised is Alejandro González Iñárritu takes it again though, or if Alfonso Gomez-Rejon wins.


I predict this will be the 3rd year in a row that a Mexicano wins as Best Director.


Isn’t it kinda icky that you’re basing your predictions on nothing? These films haven’t been created yet. Do you think this kind of baseless speculation makes it harder to pretend that the Academy Awards are based on artistic merit at all, and lends credence to the idea that it is 100% about politics? I do. Very disheartening. Academy Award speculation like this makes me feel very, very stupid for believing in the magic of movies. Ah well, I guess you need content.


Great bunch of directors ! Cant wait to see some these !

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