Academy Award Previews - Best Director

Today I continue my Academy Award previews with the first category -- the Directors. This is a loaded category, as it is every year, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

Best Director Nominees:
The Revenant: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Spotlight: Tom McCarthy
Mad Max: Fury Road: George Miller
Room: Lenny Abrahamson
The Big Short: Adam McKay

Thoughts: This is a tough field, with directors who offered five very different but very intriguing films. The only previous winner is Iñárritu, who won last year for "Birdman." On the flip side, the other four are all enjoying their first nomination as Best Director. So will it be back-to-back for Iñárritu, or will a first timer take it home? I think I would rule out Abrahamson as a long shot. In fact, his inclusion among the nominees was somewhat of a surprise. Ditto for McKay, who is best known for directing broad Will Ferrell comedies. He did a great job with "The Big Short," but I don't see him going home with the award. I think it's really a two-horse race with McCarthy looming as the Dark Horse. It might come down to what wins Best Picture, and if Academy members want to spread the love. I think "The Revenant" and "Spotlight" are more likely Best Picture choices, and Miller might be the favorite here because of how loved and admired he is among his peers. I'm not ready to make a final pick, but at this point I'm leaning toward Miller.


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