Oscar Nominees 2012: Best Director

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It’s that time of year again, as Hollywood’s finest find themselves, with alarming regularity, donning outfits that cost more than your house and jewellery worth more than you will earn in a lifetime. But awards season is all building to one supreme event, the Empire Awards Oscars on February 26. Ahead of that milestone, we assess the chances of each nominee in the major categories, and see who’s looking good ahead of the big night…

Why He Will Win

He couldn’t have more momentum behind him going into February 26 if he’d been shot from a cannon, thanks to a raft of wins for his films and himself. The single best predictor of the Best Director prize, the Directors Guild Award, is already on
Hazanavicius’s mantelpiece. He’s French, and charming (check out his wife!) and wears adorably oversized glasses. Who wouldn’t vote for him?


Why He Won't Win

There may be an Artist backlash coming, simply because the film seems so obvious a frontrunner. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarloss.jpg%29 The Academy might spread the love if The Artist takes Best Picture, awarding – say – Alexander Payne the Best Director consolation prize. He’s French. Cheese-eating surrender monkeys, the lot of them! (in the eyes of some American voters at least).

Why He Will Win

He's a well-respected American director who hasn’t directed a bad film yet, and has built up a respectable crop of Oscar nominations relatively quickly. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarwin.jpg%29 They’ve already given him a Screenplay prize, so it’d be rude to restrict him to that once again. The film is none-more traditionally Oscar-friendly: a family drama, a major star, a fresh take on same.


Why He Won't Win

Payne may still be a little too quirky – or worse, clever – for Oscar voters. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarloss.jpg%29 The stars seem to be aligned in favour of the French dude with the silent movie. Payne’s film features talking – like, how last year. He just got to work with George Clooney. That’s reward enough.

Why He Will Win

He’s Martin freakin’ Scorsese! He needs to own more Oscars. It’s just embarrassing. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarwin.jpg%29 Hugo sees Scorsese master a new format with 3D, and use it brilliantly first time out. The Academy should reward him to encourage others to use 3D well. The film is none-more traditionally Oscar-friendly: a family drama, a major star, a fresh take on same.


Why He Won't Win

It’s a kid’s film. They don’t win Oscars. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarloss.jpg%29 While it has a funny bit with a dog, the dog’s a Doberman and they scare people more than Jack Russells. He’s got an Oscar now, so the Academy is no longer quite so ashamed.

Why He Will Win

He’s Woody freakin’ Allen! He needs more Oscars. He’s only got one for Directing and that’s a little embarrassing. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarwin.jpg%29 Midnight In Paris was his best film in ages, touring various literary golden ages and telling a compelling story at the same time. Like The Artist and Hugo, it also deals with the cultural history of the US and comments on its current practice at the same time. What’s not to love?


Why He Won't Win

Comedies don’t win the big Oscars – a writing award, at most. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarloss.jpg%29 He hasn’t landed any significant prizes in the pre-season in the Directing category. Where he has done well, it’s been for the film’s screenplay. Come on! He’s not even in the top three this year!

Why He Will Win

He’s Terrence freakin’ Malick! He doesn’t have any Oscars. People, 360 Mafia has an Oscar! Terrence freakin’ Malick does not. This must be rectified. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarwin.jpg%29 The Tree Of Life deals with life, the universe and everything. If that isn’t a big enough theme and a big enough achievement to merit an Oscar, what in the name of Zeus is? Academy voters may vote for him just to cover up the fact that they’re not entirely sure what the film meant. Like, dinosaurs? Huh?


Why He Won't Win

He’s never been sufficiently mainstream for actual Oscar wins. Even in these times, when the Coens can be frontrunners, Malick’s still out in left field. ![]%28/images/uploaded/oscarloss.jpg%29 The film didn’t get the sort of universal rave reviews you usually need to win Best Picture. Academy voters may avoid the film just to cover up the fact that they’re not entirely sure what it all meant. Like, dinosaurs? Huh?