This could be a historic year for women at the Oscars. For the first time ever, there could be two female nominees for Best Director, as opposed to the occasional one or the usual none. It’s a bit dispiriting in 2014 to still be waiting for plural women to be recognized for their work behind the camera, but it would still be a marked improvement for the male-dominated academy.
Two women currently rank in the top 10 in our experts’ racetrack odds: Angelina Jolie in fourth place with 15/2 odds for the World War II drama “Unbroken,” and Ava DuVernay in ninth with 50/1 odds for “Selma,” about Martin Luther King Jr.‘s fight for voting rights. DuVernay, it’s also worth noting, would be the first black woman ever nominated for a directing Oscar.
A full-length trailer for “Unbroken” was released back in July, but neither it nor “Selma” has screened for critics yet, and neither open until Christmas Day, so it’s possible we could see both projects take off in the weeks and months ahead. On paper, they’re both textbook Oscar projects – period pieces telling true stories of great historical import – though, of course, there have been plenty of films in the past that looked like they would be Oscar darlings but didn’t turn out that way.
Only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director before: Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties,” 1976), Jane Campion (“The Piano,” 1993), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” 2003), and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker,” 2009). Bigelow made history as the first woman ever to win the award, but the glass ceiling seems to be stuck in place as no other woman has been nominated since.
Take a look at some of our experts’ Best Director predictions below (click the chart to see more experts’ picks):
Do you think Jolie and DuVernay can both break through? Use the drag-and-drop menu below to make or edit your predictions.