Oscar Watch 2015: The Best Director Race

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Pop-Break’s Film Editor and Resident Oscar Guru Daniel Cohen Breaks Down the 2015 Best Director Race

Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

It’s about damn time. While Wes Anderson has been to the dance a couple times as a screenwriter, it’s good to see him finally get the recognition he deserves as director. It’s amazing that a film released back in March is actually gaining momentum, but The Grand Budapest Hotel is no slouch in this year’s Oscar race, and that includes Best Director. It’s going to be really tough for Anderson to pull off the upset, but the fact this movie is his most complex in terms of structure should give him a glimmer of hope. I would imagine the best chance of him walking away with a statue come Oscar night though is in the screenwriting category.

Chances of Winning: Mid-Tier

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Is the Direction Worthy of an Oscar? Yes

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)

In any other year, Inarritu would be the front runner for this category, but unfortunately he ran into the freight train that is Richard Linklater’s twelve year journey known as Boyhood. Despite all that though, Inarritu has a legit puncher’s chance. There’s going to be a lot of voters who will admire greatly the way Birdman was filmed and edited, and that can be credited to the director. This is a very stylish film, but it’s not overly flashy. Add in the plethora of stellar performances, and you have to make Inarritu the best chance at an upset.

Chances of Winning: High

Is the Direction Worthy of an Oscar: Yes

Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Based on the genesis of Boyhood alone, Linklater is going to be an absolute goliath to take down in this category. The twelve year factor may be too strong to deny, but I think there’s a couple chinks in the armor that may be his undoing. Despite the great performances of Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, there is a sentiment out there that the main character himself played by Ellar Coltrane was just okay. This could really hurt Linklater’s chances, as he wasn’t able to get a great performance out of his leading man. And even though Linklater will get a ton of votes for filming this over twelve years, there will be some who feel that’s overrated. Will it be enough to cost him the Oscar? We’ll see.

Chances of Winning: High

Is the Direction Worthy of an Oscar: YesTheImitationGame-BC

Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

If I were picking the winner, Bennett Miller would get the Oscar. The atmosphere and performances he’s able to get out of Foxcatcher is nothing short of amazing. He creates such a tense environment, I can’t imagine anybody else helming this film. For my full gushing over Foxcatcher, feel free to read my review. He’s got no chance of winning this award, especially with his own movie not even getting a Best Picture nomination. I’m just glad to see him in the race, but it’s not his year.

Chances of Winning: Low

Is the Direction Worthy of an Oscar: Yes

Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Out of all the nominations at this year’s Oscars, this is probably my least favorite. To nominate Morten Tyldum over David Fincher (Gone Girl), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), and Clint Eastwood (American Sniper) sickens me. This is Tom Hooper and The King’s Speech all over again. The Imitation Game is the most safe, generic, paint by numbers Oscar nominee there is. I’m sure Mr. Tyldum is a very nice man, but if he wins this award, I’m never watching the Oscars again.

Chances of Winning: Low

Is the Direction Worthy of an Oscar: No
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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.
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Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.