The 2018 Directors Guild Award nominees were Guillermo Del Toro (“The Shape of Water”), Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”), and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”). Those also happen to be the five we’re predicting for Best Director nominations at the Oscars. If we’re right and that is the lineup, they would actually make history as the first group of directing nominees that all directed their own scripts.
Having already won both the Critics’ Choice Award and the Golden Globe, and having the second most regional critics’ honors, Del Toro is the Oscar frontrunner with 9/5 odds. This would be his first nomination for Best Director, and the film is poised to be one of the nominations leaders. He was previously nominated solo for Best Original Screenplay for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006), but he co-wrote the “Shape of Water” script with Vanessa Taylor, and they’re currently ranked fourth with 15/2 odds in this year’s Original Screenplay race. The pair have already been honored with nominations from Critics’ Choice, the Golden Globes, the Writers Guild, and the BAFTAs.
Nolan has had a tough time getting a directing nomination from his industry peers. Already a three-time Oscar nominee — for Original Screenplay for “Memento” (2001) and “Inception” (2010), and Best Picture for “Inception” — he helmed an epic World War II drama, “Dunkirk,” that offers the directors branch an opportunity to correct that glaring wrong. He was shockingly snubbed for “The Dark Knight” (2008) and “Inception.”
But this time around Nolan has won the most regional critics awards and has been nominated for all of the important precursors (Globes, Critics’ Choice, Directors Guild, and BAFTA). Currently ranked second with 4/1 odds, he’s looking good to finally get in this year. However, his chances of getting a third Original Screenplay nomination are not as strong since the directing has been the most praised aspect of “Dunkirk” and the film has limited dialogue. He’s ranked 10th in that race with 100/1 odds.
The trio of Gerwig, McDonagh, and Peele are the likeliest of the five to receive dual nominations for directing and writing. They’ll also be competing for Original Screenplay where Peele has been the runaway favorite all season. Winning the majority of the critics prizes for his horror satire “Get Out,” he’s ranked second for the writing award with 3/1 odds. For directing he places fifth with 11/1 odds.
Gerwig is in the lead for Original Screenplay for her coming-of-age dramedy “Lady Bird” with 13/5 odds. In the directing race, she’s ranked third with 5/1 odds. Gerwig and Peele’s potential directing nods would be milestones. Both are up for their solo directorial debuts. In addition, Peele would be just the fifth black nominee and Gerwig would be the fifth female nominee.
McDonagh’s crime drama “Three Billboards” positioned itself as the front-runner for Best Picture after its sweep of the Golden Globes earlier this month. One of its four wins was for McDonagh’s screenplay, and one of its additional nominations was for his direction. The script was ineligible at the WGA Awards, but the film scored nine nominations at the BAFTAs including writing and directing. In our current Oscar predictions McDonagh is ranked third with 10/3 odds for Original Screenplay and fourth with 15/2 odds for Best Director.
And even if any of these five Oscar frontrunners are left out when nominations are announced, there are other writer-directors waiting in the wings to take their place, like Dee Rees (“Mudbound”), Sean Baker (“The Florida Project”), and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”). Do you think this year’s Oscar directing race will be full of writers?
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.