2013 Oscar Predictions: Bigelow Climbs the Ranks, but Spielberg Remains #1

Kathryn Bigelow on the set of Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow on the set of Zero Dark Thirty
Photo: Columbia Pictures

I realized yesterday that I have neglected to update a few categories and in light of recent events it’s time to do some updating… first to Best Director.

Kathryn Bigelow and her film, Zero Dark Thirty, are clearly going to be major players in this race as the New York Film Critics recently dubbed Bigelow the Best Director of 2012 and the film Best Picture. However, winning critical awards may give you a seat at the table, but it doesn’t necessarily move you to the head as Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) remains my #1 for the time being.

The film that seems to be taking the biggest hit from Thirty is Ben Affleck‘s Argo as there only seems to be room for one politically minded thriller in this race and while Argo is sure to stick around and collect nominations, it’s chances of winning are dwindling along with Affleck’s chances for Best Director.

And then we come to the rest of the field…

What will come of directors such as Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) and Robert Zemeckis (Flight)? Right now I have Lee and Hooper rounding out my list of five nominees, but I could just as easily swap in Russell, Anderson, Zemeckis or even Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) for that matter, the latter of which I’ve yet to see his film.

When it comes to the awards race you have to remain part of the conversation and Lee and Life of Pi already feel as if they are on the way out, but Universal is being smart by embargoing reviews on Les Mis, allowing for other films to step into the spotlight for the time being only to hopefully come in a little later and scoop up some of the attention.

Where the category stands at this point, however, you can look at Spielberg, Bigelow and Affleck as your locks for nominations and I see the fight being between Spielberg and Bigelow for the crown. Those final two slots aren’t as easy to predict, but for now here are my top five…

  • Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
  • Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
  • Ben Affleck (Argo)
  • Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
  • Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)

You can browse my full list of Best Director contenders and see where they rank right here.

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