“The hardest thing to predict is a surprise Best Director nominee,” Zach Laws tells three fellow Gold Derby contributors in an Oscar slugfest (watch the video above). “It happens a lot,” Rob Licuria alludes to how Gold Derby has never collectively predicted all five nominees in a given year; sixth-ranked Alexander Payne (“Nebraska”) upsetting fourth-ranked Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”) five years ago was the last time that there was not a major surprise in the nominations. Paul Thomas Anderson (2017’s “Phantom Thread”), Mel Gibson (2016’s “Hacksaw Ridge”), Lenny Abrahamson (2015’s “Room”), Bennett Miller (2014’s “Foxcatcher”), Michael Haneke (2012’s “Amour”) and Benh Zeitlin (2012’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”) were each nominated with 89/1 odds at best.
“The one I can’t figure out is Adam McKay versus Pawel Pawlikowski,” I pipe in before adding, “It’s not actually a decision that any individual directors’ branch member is going to be making, but I don’t know which camp has more support.” Amanda Spears comments, “It’s hard to go with the DGA five this year when the BAFTA threw a wrench into this,” referring to how BAFTA snubbed DGA nominees Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”) and McKay (“Vice”) for Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”) and Pawlikowski (“Cold War”). I retort about BAFTA, “In the last six years, out of their 30 nominees for Best Director, only 16 of them have gone on to Best Director nominations at the Oscars and 15 of those 16 were nominated by DGA anyway, so they never really tell us anything. The only exception is Michael Haneke for ‘Amour’ and there are obviously a lot of parallels with him and Pawel Pawlikowski.” We move on to discuss what contenders are on the cusp of a nomination in three other top races:
What surprises do you think that there will be? Make your Oscar predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until nominations are announced on January 22. And join in the debate taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forum.