Oscars 2012: Best Director Prediction

Last year, being a veteran filmmaker meant nothing, as Tom Hooper walked away with an Oscar for what was his third major project (and second film) ever. That looks to be the case again this year despite even more veterans.

Best Achievement in Directing

  • (10%) Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
  • (50%) Michel Hazanavicius – ”The Artist”
  • (15%) Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”
  • (5%) Alexander Payne  – “The Descendants”
  • (20%) Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”

Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius


Last year I battled back and forth between David Fincher, the respected veteran with a 20-year filmmaking career, and Tom Hooper, the kid, the amateur. I went with Fincher, even though Hooper won the pivotal Directors Guild Award. I was wrong. Even if the race were close this year, I learned my lesson. Michel Hazanavicius will win an Oscar despite “The Artist” being only his first “Hollywood” film.

Hazanavicius made the French period spy movies “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies” and “OSS 117: Lost in Rio” before trying his hand at a true art film with his friend Jean Dujardin and now wife Bérénice Bejo, both of whom starred in “Nest of Spies.” It’s a big jump to the Academy Awards, but a deserving one.

Golden Globe winner Martin Scorsese broke his Oscar drought with “The Departed” at the 2007 ceremony, but had he not, perhaps “Hugo” would have gotten it done. It’s one of his best films from a visual standpoint, but it took no one by surprise. That’s what can be said about all the other nominees, frankly.

Sure, Woody Allen hasn’t made a film as praised as “Midnight in Paris” in a long time, but it didn’t shock anyone to learn that he put out an Oscar-worthy effort. And even though we haven’t seen anything from Terrence Malick in a number of years didn’t mean his film would be less poetic and visually stunning than the rest of his résumé. Alexander Payne had also disappeared for a good deal of time (since multiple Oscar nominee “Sideways”), but he came roaring back too albeit with the film boasting the toughest subject matter (okay, maybe that was “Tree of Life”).

I think all these directors will get a great deal of votes, but Hazanavicius will have the clear majority. If anyone manages to beat him it will likely be Scorsese given how technically admirable “Hugo” is. Even Malick wouldn’t shock me for the same reason (and given that many old L.A. folks loved “Tree of Life”).

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