Barry Jenkins expected to join tiny group of double directing champs at Spirit Awards

Barry Jenkins took home his first Independent Spirit Award for Best Director two years ago for “Moonlight,” but it looks like he’ll have to clear some room for another: The “If Beale Street Could Talk” helmer is predicted to win the same prize at Saturday’s show, which would make him just the fifth person to win the category twice.

In the Spirit Awards’ 33-year history, four people have earned a record two Best Director Awards: Joel Coen (1985’s “Blood Simple,” in a tie with Martin Scorsese for “After Hours”; 1996’s “Fargo”); Alexander Payne (1999’s “Election”; 2004’s “Sideways”); Ang Lee (2000’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”; 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain”); and Tom McCarthy (2008’s “The Visitor”; 2015’s “Spotlight”). This means, should Jenkins prevail, he’d had the shortest span — two years — between his two wins.

SEE Barry Jenkins may join Coppola, Payne and more as double Oscar winners for Best Adapted Screenplay

Jenkins has 71/20 odds, but many of our pundits are split between him and No. 2 Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”). Granik has the support of six Experts compared to three for Jenkins, but Jenkins has the edge with our Editors (five to two) and our top 24 Users (10 to seven). Unlike Jenkins, Granik has won a top directing prize this season, from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Paul Schrader (“First Reformed”), who’s in third place, is the only other nominee who has a vote from our pundits, with one each from our Experts and Editors, and three from our top 24 users. Lynne Ramsay (“You Were Never Really Here”) and Tamara Jenkins (“Private Life”) round out the top five.

If Granik, Ramsay or Jenkins wins, she’d be the fourth woman to claim the award, following Martha Coolidge (1991’s “Rambling Rose”), Sofia Coppola (2003’s “Lost in Translation”) and Valerie Faris (2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” shared with Jonathan Dayton).

PREDICT the Independent Spirit Awards now; change them until Feb. 23

Be sure to make your Indie Spirit predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on Feb. 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2019 Spirit Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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