The coronavirus pandemic has upended the movie industry as well as ticket sales at theater chains while the fall film festivals that usually kick off awards season in Telluride, Venice and Toronto as hopefuls vie for the spotlight will likely be more virtual affairs than physical. But the Oscars will carry on, even if the 93rd ceremony has been pushed to April 25 next year.
The good news that some of Oscar’s favorite filmmakers who were previously nominated as a helmer will likely be in the running again this fall — unless their latest picture gets pulled back from opening this year on the big screen. One director who doesn’t have to worry is Spike Lee, who earned his first bid in the category for 2018’s “BlacKkKlansman.” His saga of four veterans who return to Vietnam to honor a fellow soldier, “Da 5 Bloods,” premiered on Netflix this month.
Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan, who previously was up for the prize for his 2017 World War II epic “Dunkirk,” may repeat in the category for “Tenet,” which focuses on an operative who must prevent World War III. It is expected to be opening in theaters on August 12. David Fincher, who was nominated previously for helming 2008’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and 2010’s “The Social Network,” is back with a biopic, “Mank,” about script writer Herman J. Mankiewicz who tussles with director Orson Welles over the authorship of the screenplay for “Citizen Kane.”
Wes Anderson, who was in the running for 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” could make the cut for his “The French Dispatch,” another ensemble piece about American newspaper journalists who set up a bureau in France to cover stories. Paul Greengrass, who found a perch in the lineup with 2006’s “United 93,” could take one of the five spots with “News of the World,” about a man who must return an orphaned girl to her living relatives after the end of the American Civil War.
Denis Villeneuve, who was up for the honor for 2017’s “Arrival,” is behind a new version of “Dune,” about the son of an upper-class family who must protect the most vital element in the galaxy. George Clooney, who sneaked into the category with 2005’s “Good Night, and Good Luck,” will go the Netflix route with “The Midnight Sun,” in which he stars as a lonely scientist in the Arctic who tries to save the lives of astronauts returning home in the midst of a global catastrophe.
Sofia Coppola, who is one of just of five women ever nominated for a directing Oscar for her work on 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” could get a second chance with “On the Rocks,” about a young mom who joins her estranged playboy father on an adventure in New York City. And Tom McCarthy, who was up for a trophy for 2015’s “Spotlight,” has “Stillwater,” about a father in Oklahoma who heads to France when his daughter is arrested for murder.
Which previously nominated filmmaker is most overdue to win a directing Oscar? Take the poll below and share your thoughts about which director is most deserving to get recognition in the 2021 race.