2023 Oscars Best Director Predictions

The Best Director Oscar race between the Daniels and Steven Spielberg continues, after the DGA Awards and a surprise at the BAFTAs.

We will update these predictions throughout awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2023 Oscar picks. Final voting is March 2 through 7, 2023.  The 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

Our Awards Editor, TV & Film Marcus Jones joins Editor at Large Anne Thompson on the latest Oscars Predictions updates. See their previous thoughts on what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards here.

The State of the Race

Being an Oscar frontrunner is not all that it’s cracked up to be. While Steven Spielberg has already won two Best Director Oscars (“Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”), his work on the deeply personal “The Fabelmans” felt like a significant enough benchmark in an unprecedented filmmaking career to allow him to collect trophies throughout awards season. So far though, he has only won big at the Golden Globes.

At the 2023 Directors Guild of America Awards, after all the fellow nominees had sung Spielberg’s praises in their medallion acceptance speeches, the eventual winners for Outstanding Directing of a Theatrical Feature Film were Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Though they had bested “The Fabelmans” director in the same category at this year’s Critics Choice Awards, the DGA Award win is more significant to the Oscar race, as the DGA and Academy Award voting bodies have some overlap.

There’s no question that with PGA and four SAG Awards wins in their sails, the Daniels are looking strong. But “Everything Everywhere All at Once” did not score at the BAFTAs, where another supposed frontrunner, homegrown Martin McDonagh’s “Banshees of Inisherin,” was expected to take home more than Best British Film, Original Screenplay, and two acting prizes. The film lost Best Director and Film to German Oscar entry “All Quiet on the Western Front,” whose director Edward Berger did not score a directing Oscar nomination.

This means that the Best Director race is still between éminence grise Spielberg, who commands respect with the older Academy for his body of work and for making himself vulnerable with “The Fabelmans,” and rising stars the Daniels, for throwing caution to the winds and reinventing cinema.

Nominees are listed below in order of likelihood they will win.

Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)
Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Todd Field (“TÁR”)
Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

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