Oscars Predictions: Best Director – Denis Villeneuve and ‘Dune’ Looking Stronger With Each Awards Screening

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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar and Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST DIRECTOR

UPDATED: Nov 26, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: In-person awards screenings have been underway for a few weeks now and the ones held for Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” have been packed at almost every turn. With the film also coming off the HBO Max platform and making a return to IMAX theaters, more will make the trip out to see it, which has been the messaging of the campaign since its Venice debut. That love and respect will continue to grow.

Villeneuve will face stiff competition coming from Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” both of which are feasible winners. Will the Academy fall old Hollywood with Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” or old Los Angeles with Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza?” Will box office matter for either Reinaldo Marcus Green for “King Richard,” Pablo Larrain for “Spencer” or Ridley Scott for “The Last Duel?” Scott has two horses in the race, along with a more financially successful “House of Gucci.”

There are also some of their default, multiple-nominated picks that could be made, such as Joel Coen for “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” Guillermo del Toro for “Nightmare Alley” and Steven Spielberg for “West Side Story.”

Oscar nominations voting begins on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and will end on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. The official Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, with the ceremony taking place on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022.

Awards Season Calendar (2021-2022)

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ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

RANK

DIRECTOR

FILM

STUDIO

1

Kenneth Branagh

“Belfast”

Focus Features

2

Jane Campion

“The Power of the Dog”

Netflix

3

Denis Villeneuve

“Dune”

Warner Bros

4

Reinaldo Marcus Green

“King Richard”

Warner Bros

5

Aaron Sorkin

“Being the Ricardos”

Amazon Studios

NEXT IN LINE

6

Paul Thomas Anderson

“Licorice Pizza”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

7

Joel Coen

“The Tragedy of Macbeth”

Apple Original Films/A24

8

Pablo Larrain

“Spencer”

Neon/Topic Studios

9

Adam McKay

“Don’t Look Up”

Netflix

10

Steven Spielberg

“West Side Story”

20th Century Studios

OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS

11

Asghar Farhadi

“A Hero”

Amazon Studios

12

Guillermo del Toro

“Nightmare Alley”

Searchlight Pictures

13

Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Tick, Tick … Boom!”

Netflix

14

Ridley Scott

“The Last Duel”

20th Century Studios

15

Maggie Gyllenhaal

“The Lost Daughter”

Netflix

16

Siân Heder

“CODA”

Apple Original Films

17

Ridley Scott

“House of Gucci”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

18

Mike Mills

“C’mon C’mon”

A24

19

Pedro Almodóvar

“Parallel Mothers”

Sony Pictures Classics

20

Jeymes Samuel

“The Harder They Fall”

Netflix

ALSO IN CONTENTION

21

Joe Wright

“Cyrano”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

22

Julia Ducournau

“Titane”

Neon

23

Sean Baker

“Red Rocket”

A24

24

Wes Anderson

“The French Dispatch”

Searchlight Pictures

25

George Clooney

“The Tender Bar”

Amazon Studios

26

Roger Michell

“The Duke”

Sony Pictures Classics

27

Paolo Sorrentino

“The Hand of God”

Netflix

28

Ryusuke Hamaguchi

“Drive My Car”

Sideshow/Janus Films

29

Rebecca Hall

“Passing”

Netflix

30

Jonas Poher Rasmussen

“Flee”

Neon

UNRANKED LISTING

Ahmir “Quest Love” Thompson

“Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”

Searchlight Pictures

Alan Taylor

“The Many Saints of Newark”

Warner Bros

Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin

“American Underdog”

Lionsgate

Andy Serkis

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

Sony Pictures

Antoine Fuqua

“The Guilty”

Netflix

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

“Memoria”

Neon

Bassam Tariq

“Mogul Mowgli”

Strand Releasing

Ben Lewin

“Falling for Fagaro”

IFC Films

Benjamin Cleary

“Swan Song”

Apple Original Films

Bill Benz

“The Nowhere Inn”

IFC Films

Burhan Qurbani

“Berlin Alexanderplatz”

Kino Lorber

Cary Joji Fukunaga

“No Time to Die”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

Cate Shortland

“Black Widow”

Marvel Studios

Celine Sciamma

“Petite Maman”

Neon

Charlène Favier

“Slalom”

Kino Lorber

Chloe Zhao

“Eternals”

Marvel Studios

Chris McKay

“The Tomorrow War”

Amazon Studios

Christian Petzold

“Undine”

IFC Films

Christoph Waltz

“Georgetown”

Vertical Entertainment

Claire McCarthy

“The Colour Room”

Sky Cinema

Clint Bentley

“Jockey”

Sony Pictures Classics

Clint Eastwood

“Cry Macho”

Warner Bros

Craig Brewer

“Coming 2 America”

Amazon Studios

Craig Gillespie

“Cruella”

Disney Plus

David Lowery

“The Green Knight”

A24

Denzel Washington

“A Journal for Jordan”

Sony Pictures

Destin Daniel Cretton

“Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Marvel Studios

Dominic Cooke

“The Courier”

Lionsgate

Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada

“Raya and the Last Dragon”

Walt Disney Pictures

Drew Xanthopoulos

“Fathom”

Apple Original Films

Edgar Wright

“Last Night in Soho”

Focus Features

Edgar Wright

“The Sparks Brothers”

Focus Features

Edson Oda

“Nine Days”

Sony Pictures Classics

Elaine Bogan

“Spirit Untamed”

Dreamworks Animation

Emma Seligman

“Shiva Baby”

Utopia

Enrico Casarosa

“Luca”

Pixar

Euros Lyn

“Dream Horse”

Bleecker Street

Eva Husson

“Mothering Sunday”

Sony Pictures Classics

Fran Kranz

“Mass”

Bleecker Street

François Ozon

“Summer of 85”

Music Box Films

Garth Jennings

“Sing 2”

Illumination Animation

Geeta Malik

“India Sweets and Spices”

Bleecker Street

Gia Coppola

“Mainstream”

IFC Films

Haifaa Al Mansour

“The Perfect Candidate”

Music Box Films

Halle Berry

“Bruised”

Netflix

James Gunn

“The Suicide Squad”

Warner Bros

Jamila Wignot

“Ailey”

Neon

Janicza Bravo

“Zola”

A24

Jared Bush, Byron Howard

“Encanto”

Walt Disney Pictures

Jason Reitman

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”

Sony Pictures

Jaume Collet-Serra

“Jungle Cruise”

Walt Disney Pictures

Jim Cummings & PJ McCabe

“The Beta Test”

IFC Films

Joanna Hogg

“The Souvenir Part II”

A24

John Krasinski

“A Quiet Place Part II”

Paramount Pictures

John Lee

“False Positive”

A24

Jon M. Chu

“In the Heights”

Warner Bros

Jon Watts

“Spider-Man: No Way Home”

Sony Pictures

Jonathan Butterell

“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”

Amazon Studios

Josh Ruben

“Werewolves Within”

IFC Films

Julie Cohen, Betsy West

“Julia”

Sony Pictures Classics

Justin Chon

“Blue Bayou”

Focus Features

Lana Wachowski

“The Matrix: Resurrections”

Warner Bros

Leos Carax

“Annette”

Amazon Studios

Liesl Tommy

“Respect”

MGM/United Artists Releasing

M. Night Shyamalan

“Old”

Universal Pictures

Mia Hansen-Løve

“Bergman Island”

IFC Films

Michael Sarnoski

“Pig”

Neon

Michael Showalter

“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”

Searchlight Pictures

Michel Franco

“New Order”

Neon

Miguel Sapochnik

“Finch”

Apple Original Films

Mike Rianda

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines”

Netflix

Natalie Morales

“Language Lessons”

Shout! Studios

Neill Blomkamp

“Demonic”

IFC Midnight

Nia DaCosta

“Candyman”

Universal Pictures

Paul Schrader

“The Card Counter”

Focus Features

Paul Verhoeven

“Benedetta”

IFC Films

Potsy Ponciroli

“Old Henry”

Shout! Studios

Rose Glass

“The Souvenir Part II”

A24

Sara Colangelo

“Worth”

Netflix

Scott Cooper

“Antlers”

Searchlight Pictures

Shawn Levy

“Free Guy”

20th Century Studios

Stephen Daldry

“Together”

Bleecker Street

Stephen Karam

“The Humans”

A24 / Showtime

Steven Soderbergh

“No Sudden Move”

HBO Max

Theo Anthony

“All Light Everywhere”

Super LTD

Theodore Melfi

“The Starling”

Netflix

Ting Poo, Leo Scott

“Val”

Amazon Studios

Todd Haynes

“The Velvet Underground”

Apple Original Films

Todd Stephens

“Swan Song”

Magnolia Pictures

Tom McCarthy

“Stillwater”

Focus Features

Ty Roberts

“12 Mighty Orphans”

Sony Pictures Classics

Will Sharpe

“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain”

Amazon Studios

Zack Snyder

“Army of the Dead”

Netflix

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Director)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The most significant Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. John Ford has the most wins in this category with four, with Frank Capra and William Wyler behind with three. Wyler has the most nominations of any director with 12, with Martin Scorsese next in line with nine. Clint Eastwood was the oldest winner in Oscar history at 74 when he won for “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), while the oldest nominee ever is John Huston at 79 when he was nominated for “Prizzi’s Honor.” The youngest winner in history is Damien Chazelle for “La La Land” (2016) at 32, while John Singleton was the youngest nominee of all-time at 24 when he was shortlisted for “Boyz N in the Hood.” (1991).

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022

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