2024 Oscars: Best Director Predictions

With final voting complete, the 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.

The State of the Race

As always, big-name directors with big-budget projects get a marketing and awareness lift on the road to the Oscars. But festivals offer a crucial leg up in the prestige department.

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Christopher Nolan, director of the summer blockbuster “Oppenheimer” (Universal), a biopic starring Cillian Murphy, has never won the Oscar for Best Directing and is front and center in the Oscar race. He also landed Globe, CCA, DGA, and BAFTA directing wins.

Cannes launched “The Departed” Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese into the race with his three-and-a-half-hour epic “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films), a critics’ favorite starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar nominees Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone. Scorsese landed a DGA slot, but no BAFTA directing nod.

Never-nominated British director Jonathan Glazer won the Cannes Grand Prix for the UK’s German-language Best International Feature Film nominee “The Zone of Interest” (A24), a hard-hitting Holocaust movie starring Sandra Hüller, who also toplines French director Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winning courtroom thriller “Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon), which is about 50 percent in English. Both films scored five Oscar nominations and landed BAFTA Directing nominations. The increasingly international Academy voters pushed these films into contention in multiple categories, as they did “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Parasite,” and “Drive My Car.”

POOR THINGS, Emma Stone, 2023. © Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
“Poor Things”©Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”) rejoins Emma Stone in the surreal sci-fi odyssey “Poor Things” (Searchlight), which made a big splash in Venice, Telluride, and New York. Right now, “Poor Things” is the biggest challenger to “Oppenheimer,” landing a DGA nomination but no directing BAFTA.

But Nolan is long overdue. This is his time.

Nominees are listed in order of likelihood to win.

Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)
Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

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