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2019 Oscars: Best Director Predictions

We take an early stab at the field of director contenders.

Ryan Coogler

It’s the battle of the returning Oscar contenders this year, as Barry Jenkins, Damien Chazelle, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Adam McKay, and Alfonso Cuaron are all in the mix. Where they wind up will depend on how well their films balance artful gravitas and mainstream genre elements — that’s also the question for Ryan Coogler. Will he land a nod for historic Marvel entry “Black Panther”?

At this early stage, things are looking promising indeed. CinemaCon revealed that Steve McQueen is adding the thriller genre to his playbook with “Widows” (Fox), and that Felix Van Groeningen’s father-son book adaptation “Beautiful Boy” (Amazon), an addiction drama starring Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet, could go all the way. Two actor-directors showed strong materials. Joel Edgerton’s “Boy Erased ” (Focus Features) stars Lucas Hedges as a gay teen in conversion therapy, while Bradley Cooper makes his directing debut with “A Star Is Born” (Warner Bros.) in which he sings live with Lady Gaga.

Cannes will tell how well Spike Lee’s return after 27 years plays there: he will unveil 1979 drama “BlacKkKlansman” (Focus Features) about a man who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. And David Robert Mitchell is in Competition with film noir “Under the Silver Lake” (A24).


Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”)
Steven Spielberg (“Ready Player One”)

“A Star is Born”

Warner Bros.


Damien Chazelle (“First Man”)
Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”)
Joel Edgerton (“Boy Erased”)
Barry Jenkins (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Mimi Leder (“On the Basis of Sex”)
Adam McKay (“Backseat”)
Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
Felix Van Groeningen (“Beautiful Boy”)
Robert Zemeckis (“The Women of Marwen”)

Long Shots

Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Asghar Farhadi (“Everybody Knows”)
James Gray (“Ad Astra”)
Nicole Holofcener (“The Land of Steady Habits”)
Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”)
Spike Lee (“BlackKKlansman”)
David Lowery (“The Old Man and the Gun”)
Steve McQueen (“Widows”)
David Robert Mitchell (“Under the Silver Lake”)
Lynne Ramsay (“You Were Never Really Here”)
Jason Reitman (“The Front Runner”)

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