By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 16, 2014 at 12:22PM
Alejandro González Iñárritu and Richard Linklater are as close to locks in this category as they come. And, really, they should be. "Birdman" and "Boyhood" are each remarkable achievements in their own right, and it's hard to imagine the director's branch of the Academy not feeling strongly inclined to reward them. It would mark Iñárritu's second nomination in the category (he got in for directing "Babel," though he's also received four other nominations in other categories), and Linklater's very first (he has two nominations for writing, but none for directing).
The most likely person to join them -- in a quite momentous fashion -- is Ava DuVernay for "Selma." DuVernay got Best Director nominations from both the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice, and seems poised to become the first woman of color to ever be nominated for a Best Director Oscar, and only the fifth woman ever.
Beyond those three, it's much more of a guessing game. The director's branch has historically done a pretty reasonable job at going their own way, as made clear by nominations for Terrence Malick, Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin in recent years. That means that just because "The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything" seem like surefire bets for Best Picture doesn't necessarily guarantee nominations for their directors. A more likely scenario -- at this point, at least -- sees Wes Anderson getting his very first nomination in this category for "Budapest Hotel," with "Game" and "Theory" directors Morten Tyldum and James Marsh battling it out with Damien Chazelle ("Whiplash"), David Fincher ("Gone Girl"), Angelina Jolie ("Unbroken") and Bennett Miller ("Foxcatcher") for that final slot.
Check out our predictions in other categories here.
The Best Bets:
1. Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
2. Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
3. Ava DuVernay, "Selma"
Fighting It Out For The Last Two Slots:
4. Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"
5. Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
6. David Fincher, "Gone Girl"
7. Damien Chazelle, "Whiplash"
8. Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
9. Mike Leigh, "Mr. Turner"
10. Angelina Jolie, "Unbroken"
11. James Marsh, "Theory of Everything"
12. Christopher Nolan, "Interstellar"
13. Rob Marshall, "Into The Woods"
14. Clint Eastwood, "American Sniper"
15. JC Chandor, "A Most Violent Year"
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