Hollywood Contenders – Looking again at filmmakers this year due their first win

Ridley Scott
A few months ago, I took a look at writers and directors in the 2015 Oscar race who have previously been nominated for Academy Awards but yet to take home the gold. It was a fairly speculative piece, but now that the season is beginning to separate the contenders from the pretenders, I wanted to look again at some of the more realistic names in the running for Oscar gold. These are all filmmakers who have been nominated previously but yet to win anything, so if they were to emerge victorious this year, it would be their first times on the big stage.

As a reminder, here are the 11 names (ten picks and one honorable mention) that I cited the last time out. They were Stephen Daldry, Guillermo del Toro, Stephen Frears, Todd Haynes, Nick Hornby, Tom McCarthy, Oren Moverman, Billy Ray, Ridley Scott, David O. Russell, and Paul Weitz. Obviously, some of these folks are still in the thick of it while some are decidedly out, so whittling things down to just five wasn’t particularly hard. The ones I’m narrowing it down to are Todd Haynes, Nick Hornby, Tom McCarthy, Ridley Scott, and David O. Russell, which probably wasn’t much of a surprise. Below I’ll be discussing them a bit more, hoping to see how their chances now stack up for a first Academy Award…

First up is Haynes, who directs Carol and is certainly in the thick of the Oscar race. I have a hunch that Carol will struggle to really make it in Best Director, though it’s hardly a long shot. Director is a field very much up in the air right now, so until it crystalizes, you have to consider Haynes still in it. As for a win though? That might be a long shot. We shall see…

Next we have Hornby, who penned the adaptation of Brooklyn and will almost definitely have another Academy Award nomination under his belt for it. Not only is he likely scoring another nod in Best Adapted Screenplay, I think he has a strong chance to turn that nom into his first win. It depends on how some of his competition does, but Hornby isn’t far from frontrunner status right now.

McCarthy is up now and he’s our most likely winner, by far. The co-writer/director of Spotlight has multiple opportunities to win statues, provided he’s nominated in all of the potential fields. I think he’s the odds on favorite in Best Original Screenplay, with potentially the same being said for Best Director. Honestly, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t end up with a statue when all is said and done, but as we all know…anything is possible. McCarthy’s candidacy is definitely in the pole position in both categories though right now (along with Spotlight in Best Picture), no doubt about that.

Next up is Scott, who has two shots for producing and directing The Martian. He seems poised to get nominated in Best Picture as a producer, with a citation in Best Director shaping up as a strong possibility as well. I’ve recently mentioned a potential situation where Scott wins in Director, so he’s hardly out of it. Frankly, he’s perhaps the most interesting of this group, so following along with how he/The Martian winds up doing will be downright fascinating to witness.

Finally, we have Russell, who always seems to be a bridesmaid of sorts these days. The co-writer/director of Joy has been consistently cited by the Academy, but only with nominations to date. His latest is still an unseen X factor right now, though that could change soon. If Joy is another big Oscar player, this may very well turn out to finally be Russell’s year…

Stay tuned to see if it happens for anyone here!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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