The nominations for the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Director has just been released and despite the few familiar names, the list is not short on surprises as not one but two directors have managed to secure a place on it on their directorial debut. However, in a year that saw the film industry grappling with s*x abuse scandals and widespread criticism, it is certainly heartening to see the likes of Greta Gerwig, The Lady Bird filmmaker become the fifth female director ever nominated and Jordan Peele become the fifth black director to make the cut. But winning the award is a tall order, as Guillermo del Toro's Shape of Water, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread are all strong contenders to receive the Oscar nod. To find out who gets the Academy's final approval, the nominees must wait until The 90th Academy Awards event which is set to take place on the 4th of March 2018. But until then, who do you think is going to end up winning the Oscar for Best Director? Rank this list from most likely to least likely and lets see how the averaged wisdom of the public stacks up against the opinions of the Oscar Academy.
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Christopher Edward Nolan is an English–American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is one of the highest-grossing directors in history, and among the most acclaimed filmmakers of the 21st century. Having made his directorial debut with Following (1998), Nolan gained considerable attention for his second feature, Memento (2000), for which he was nominated for numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The acclaim garnered by his independent films gave Nolan the opportunity to make the big-budget thriller Insomnia (2002) and the mystery drama The Prestige (2006). He found further popular and critical success with The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–2012); Inception (2010), which received eight Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay and Interstellar (2014). The war film Dunkirk (2017) earned him his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. Dunkirk is written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan that depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. Its ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D'Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. The film is a British, American, French, and Dutch co-production, and was distributed by Warner Bros. Dunkirk portrays the evacuation from three perspectives: land, sea, and air. It has little dialogue, as Nolan sought instead to create suspense from cinematography and music. Filming began in May 2016 in Dunkirk and ended that September in Los Angeles, when post-production began. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot the film on IMAX 65 mm and 65 mm large-format film stock. Dunkirk has extensive practical effects, and employed thousands of extras as well as historic boats from the evacuation, and period aeroplanes. The film premiered on 13 July 2017 at Odeon Leicester Square in London, and was released in the United Kingdom and the United States on 21 July in IMAX, 70 mm, and 35 mm film formats. It is the highest-grossing World War II film of all time, taking $525 million worldwide. Dunkirk received praise for its screenplay, direction, musical score, and cinematography; some critics called it Nolan's best work, and one of the greatest war films. It received the Best Editing award at the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards, eight nominations at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, three at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, and eight at the 90th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Nolan.
Guillermo del Toro Gómez is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. In his filmmaking career, del Toro has alternated between Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces, such as the gothic horror films The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), and more mainstream American action films, such as the vampire superhero action film Blade II (2002), the supernatural superhero film Hellboy (2004), its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), and the science fiction monster film Pacific Rim (2013). Under his direction, the fantasy drama film The Shape of Water (2017) received critical acclaim and won a Golden Lion at the 74th Venice International Film Festival. The Shape of Water is directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. The film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer. Set in Baltimore in 1962, the plot follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured humanoid-amphibian creature. The film was screened in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival, where it premiered on August 31, 2017, and was awarded the Golden Lion for best film in the competition. It also screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Many critics declared The Shape of Water del Toro's best film since Pan's Labyrinth, praising in particular Hawkins's performance. The Shape of Water began a limited release in two theaters in New York City on December 1, 2017, before expanding on December 8, 2017, and has grossed $34 million. A novelized adaptation of the film, written by del Toro and Daniel Kraus, will be released on February 27, 2018. The American Film Institute selected it as one of the top 10 films of the year. At the 90th Academy Awards, the film received a leading 13 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for del Toro, Best Original Screenplay for del Toro and Taylor, Best Actress for Hawkins, Best Supporting Actor for Jenkins and Best Supporting Actress for Spencer. It also won for Best Director and Best Original Score at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, on top of five other nominations. At the 71st British Academy Film Awards, the film received 12 nominations, including Best Film.
Greta Celeste Gerwig is an American actress, writer, and director who gained attention after working on and appearing in several mumblecore films. Between 2006 and 2009, she appeared in a number of films by Joe Swanberg, some of which she co-wrote and co-directed. She has collaborated with Noah Baumbach on several films, including Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination, and Mistress America (2015). Gerwig has also had starring roles in the films such as Damsels in Distress (2011), To Rome with Love (2012), Jackie (2016), and 20th Century Women (2016), the latter of which earned her a nomination for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress. Gerwig wrote and made her solo directorial debut with the critically acclaimed comedy-drama film Lady Bird (2017), which won the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 75th Golden Globe Awards. She also received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, as well as Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Screenplay. In so doing, she became the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. Lady Bird (2017), set in Sacramento, California, is a coming-of-age story of a high-school senior (Ronan) and her turbulent relationship with her mother (Metcalf). The movie premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2017, was theatrically released in the United States on November 3, 2017 by A24, and has grossed $39.1 million (United States) against its $10 million budget. It was chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute, and Time as one of the top 10 films of the year. At the 90th Academy Awards the film earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress for Ronan, Best Supporting Actress for Metcalf, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, with Gerwig becoming the fifth female to earn a Best Director nomination. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Lady Bird won for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Ronan), and also received nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Metcalf) and Best Screenplay. At the 71st British Academy Film Awards, the film earned three nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Ronan, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Metcalf and Best Original Screenplay.
Paul Thomas "P. T." Anderson is an American filmmaker who first received critical and commercial success for his film Boogie Nights (1997), set during the Golden Age of Porn in the 1970s and 1980s. However, it was the epic drama There Will Be Blood (2007) that garnered the widest acclaim from critics and earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Director. His eighth feature film, Phantom Thread reunited Anderson with Academy Award winning There Will Be Blood star Daniel Day-Lewis. This 2017 American historical drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson is set in London's couture world in the 1950s. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a dressmaker who falls in love with a waitress, played by Vicky Krieps. The couple's relationship vacillates between affectionate and distant until they finally learn to live with one another's differences. It is reportedly Day-Lewis's last film role. The film is Anderson's first filmed outside the United States, with principal photography beginning in January 2017 in Lythe in England. It is his second collaboration with Day-Lewis, following There Will Be Blood (2007), and his fourth with composer Jonny Greenwood. The film premiered in New York City on December 11, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 25, 2017. Phantom Thread received critical acclaim, with praise for Day-Lewis' performance, Anderson's screenplay and direction, musical score, and production values, and was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017. At the 90th Academy Awards, the film earned six nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Day-Lewis and Supporting Actress for Manville. It also received two Golden Globe nominations, Best Actor – Drama (Day-Lewis) and Best Original Score, as well as three at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role for Day-Lewis and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Manville.
Jordan Haworth Peele is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director who initially became known for starring in the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele and for his five seasons as a cast member on Mad TV. In 2014, he also had a recurring role in the first season of the FX anthology series Fargo, based on the 1996 film of the same name. Peele had a career breakthrough in 2017 with his solo directorial debut, the horror film Get Out, which earned critical acclaim and became one of the most profitable films of 2017. He received numerous accolades, including Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay, becoming just the third person (after Warren Beatty and James L. Brooks) to receive the three nominations for a debut film. He also earned the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at the 2017 Gotham Independent Film Awards and nominations for a DGA Award and BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay. Get Out was written and directed by Jordan Peele and stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black man who visits the family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams); at their home, the housekeeper and groundskeeper are black and act strangely. Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, and Catherine Keener costar. The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on February 24, 2017, by Universal Pictures. The film received praise for Peele's screenplay and direction, as well as Kaluuya's performance, and was chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute, and Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of the year. The film was also a box office success, grossing $254 million worldwide on a $4.5 million budget. Get Out received numerous accolades. At the 90th Academy Awards, the film earned four nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor for Kaluuya. Peele became just the third person (after Warren Beatty and James L. Brooks) to earn Best Picture, Director and Screenplay nominations for a debut film. It also earned five nominations at the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards, two at the 75th Golden Globe Awards (Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Comedy or Musical for Kaluuya) and two at the 71st British Academy Film Awards (Best Actor in a Leading Role for Kaluuya and Best Original Screenplay).