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2022 Oscars Awards Best Director nominees: who are the candidates?

Once again there is a raft of excellent nominations for this prize at the Academy Awards, but one in particular appears favourite to take the statuette home.

2022 Oscars Awards Best Director nominees: who are the candidates?

It's almost time. The final preparations are being made for the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony and those that played their part in each of the movies nominated will be excitedly pondering how to react when the winners are announced. For the movie directors, this is especially true and what a line up we have this year. Let's have a look at the nominees...

Who are the Best Director nominees for Oscars 2022?

There are five directors shortlisted for the award and each of them has their merits for justification of taking how the much-heralded statuette. Who is your favourite?

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

She is favourite for the award with many and if she succeeds she would become the third woman in the Oscars' 94-year-history to win best director. Campion is already in the record books as the only woman to have been nominated in the category twice. The first time was for the 1993 film The Piano, but she lost out to Steven Spielberg for his Schindler's List. Guess who else is on this year's shortlist...

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Even the great Spielberg is seen as an underdog (in other words, below the power of the dog!) at this year’s Oscars. But few will count him out of contention. He remains one of the greatest in cinematic history and has impressed again with this second film adaptation of the famous 1957 musical. As well as the aforementioned Schindler's List, Spielberg also previously won Best Director for Saving Private Ryan in 1998. It's no surprise to see him at the top table again after the positive public reception of his new and spectacular version of the fights between the Jets and Sharks in 1950s New York.

Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza

Anderson chronicles the transition from adolescence to adulthood of two young lovers in California's San Fernando Valley in 1973. The film is nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and, of course, Best Director, for which Anderson was also nominated in 2008 for Avenues of Ambition and in 2018 for The Invisible Thread. As a cult filmmaker, admired by many and who gives a twist to his work in each project, but who has always come up against strong rivals at the Oscars.

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

This is a very personal film for the multi-talented Branagh. A semi-autobiographical account of a nine-year-old boy (himself) raised in a working-class Northern Irish family who sees his community change to violence from the late 1960s. This moving drama has seven nominations and is well placed in the Oscar race in the Best Original Screenplay category, also by Branagh. He already has a Best Director statuette from his win in 1990 for Henry V, but is not expected to repeat that this time around.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive my car

Hamaguchi surprised many with this Oscar nomination, sliding into the shortlist ahead of names that had been taken for granted, such as Guillermo del Toro (for Alley of Lost Souls) and Adam McKay (for Don't Look Up). The Japanese filmmaker seeks to establish himself in Hollywood with this drama adapted from a story by Haruki Murakami, which tells the story of Yusuke Kafuku, a theatre actor with personal problems who agrees to go with a new play and who shares deep conversations with his chauffeur. It's a worthy nominee, but Hamaguchi's is unlikely to follow in the golden footsteps of South Korea's Bong Joon Ho for Parasites.

Of course, four of these directors are going to have to make do with being 'just' a nominee in this year's Acadamy Awards, but did you know that even the greats end can end their career without a Best Director gong? Their works may be considered among the pantheon of cinematic masterpieces, but that doesn't always guarantee a win.

The best film directors without an Oscar

Alfred Hitchcock

To fans of horror, it may be surprising that Sir Alfred Hitchcock, whose films defined the genre for a generation, never won an Oscar for his work. Throughout the course of his career, Hitchcock was nominated for Best Director on five occasions, for Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Rear Window (1954) and Psycho (1960). The only Hitchcock film to take home the prize for Best Picture was Rebecca. Some believe that while today many of Hitchcock’s films are considered classics, in his day, they were not afforded the prestige required to win an Oscar.

Many directors, and the movies that won them the top prize, will go on to be nothing more than a footnote in Hollywood history. However, Hitchcock will be remembered as a director whose films remained relevant and riveting to audiences decades after their release and inspired filmmakers for generations.

Tarantino, Anderson, Lee

More contemporary directors who have never won the award include names such as Quentin Tarantino, who has been nominated three times, Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman.

More from the 2022 Oscars:

White male domination

The Academy has received criticism for lacking diversity in the nomination process. Ahead of last year's awards, Insider, the online media company, surveyed nominations over the previous decade and found 89% had gone to white nominees. Hollywood, in general, is overwhelmingly white, and the challenges that creates for minority actors and filmmakers are well documented. One example comes from an interview with Academy Award winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o, and Daily Show Host, Trevor Noah, where Nyong’o expressed her frustration with Hollywood’s hesitancy to cast her in movies that are not just period pieces.

Directors from minority backgrounds encounter many of the same challenges. In all of Oscar history, only six Black directors have been nominated but none have won and no directors from the United States of Latin American descent have ever been nominated.

Three directors from Latin America have won the award, including two who have picked up a Best Director Oscar twice, Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman and The Revenant, Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity and Roma, with Guillermo del Toro winning for The Shape of Water.

Thirty directors of non-English films have been nominated and only two have won, Cuarón for Roma and last year’s win, Bong Joon-ho for Parasite. This year, Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi has been nominated for his film, Drive My Car.

Jane Campion shows the power of the woman

Women, especially female directors of color, have often been ignored by the Academy. Of the ninety-two winners for Best Director, ninety-one have been men. Only five women have been nominated for the award and only one has won, Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker.

When Barbara Streisand, another woman whose works never garnered her a nomination for Best Director, announced Bigelow’s win she said “well, the time has come,” which was followed by a standing ovation by the audience. This year, Jane Campion is widely expected to become the second female winner of the Best Director award for The Power of the Dog.

Nominees are voted on by the members of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is made up of all those who are involved in film-making, from actors to costume designers, directors to casting directors, and more. All in all, the Academy has over 8,000 voting members.

Oscars 2022: when do the Academy Awards start?

The 94th Academy Awards take place on 27 March, 2022, with the ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood scheduled to start at 8.30 p.m. ET / 5.30 p.m. PT.

ABC’s coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT on the ABC TV channel, and the ABC App.

Follow the latest updates on the 2022 Oscars in "stories"


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