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Final Oscar Predictions: Best Director – Christopher Nolan is Locked and Loaded With ‘Oppenheimer’

Final Oscar Predictions: Best Director – Christopher Nolan is Locked and Loaded With ‘Oppenheimer’

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

Visit the prediction pages for the respective ceremonies via the links below:

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2024 Oscars Predictions:
Best Achievement in Directing

THE ZONE OF INTEREST, 2023. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
THE ZONE OF INTEREST, 2023. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

Weekly Commentary (Updated March 7, 2024): Christopher Nolan… in a walk. It’s not really worth going over any other potential upsets, but if you prefer — Jonathan Glazer for “The Zone of Interest.”

After a year hit with Hollywood strikes and an early buzz positioning Nolan’s drama about the creation of the atomic bomb as a frontrunner, sentiments from more than a dozen Oscar voters on the first day of final voting revealed a strong backing for Nolan. “Nolan fucking deserves it,” an anonymous voter emphasizes to Variety, highlighting the widespread acclaim for Nolan’s direction and billion-dollar blockbuster.

Well deserved.

Will Win: Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
Could Win: Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
Should Win: Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
Should have been here: Cord Jefferson (“American Fiction”) and Ava DuVernay (“Origin”)

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

The 96th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 10.


And the Nominees Are:


  1. Christopher Nolan — “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)

  2. Jonathan Glazer — “The Zone of Interest” (A24)

  3. Martin Scorsese — “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

  4. Justine Triet — “Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon)

  5. Yorgos Lanthimos — “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)


Eligible Titles (Alphabetized by Studio)**


  • Kenneth Branagh – “A Haunting in Venice” (20th Century Studios)

  • Ari Aster – “Beau is Afraid” (A24)

  • Sean Durkin – “The Iron Claw” (A24)

  • Celine Song – “Past Lives” (A24)

  • Sofia Coppola – “Priscilla” (A24)

  • Kelly Reichardt – “Showing Up” (A24)

  • Jesse Eisenberg — “When You Finish Saving the World” (A24)

  • Nicole Holofcener – “You Hurt My Feelings” (A24)

  • Jonathan Glazer – “The Zone of Interest” (A24)

  • Ben Affleck – “Air” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Maggie Betts – “The Burial” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Roger Ross Williams – “Cassandro” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Garth Davis – “Foe” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Alejandra Márquez Abella — “A Million Miles Away” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Emerald Fennell – “Saltburn” (Amazon MGM Studios)

  • Christos Nikou – “Fingernails” (Apple Original Films)

  • John Carney – “Flora and Son” (Apple Original Films)

  • Martin Scorsese – “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

  • Ridley Scott – “Napoleon” (Apple Original Films/Sony Pictures)

  • Guy Nattiv – “Golda” (Bleecker Street)

  • Wes Anderson – “Asteroid City” (Focus Features)

  • Alexander Payne – “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)

  • A.V. Rockwell – “A Thousand and One” (Focus Features)

  • Matt Johnson – “BlackBerry” (IFC Films)

  • Andrea Pallaoro – “Monica” (IFC Films)

  • Trần Anh Hùng – “The Taste of Things” (IFC Films/Sapan Studio)

  • Eva Longoria — “Flamin’ Hot” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures)

  • Ryûsuke Hamaguchi — “Evil Does Not Exist” (Janus Films)

  • Michel Franco — “Memory” (Ketchup Entertainment)

  • Aristotle Torres — “Story Ave” (Kino Lorber)

  • Kelly Fremon Craig — “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” (Lionsgate)

  • Francis Lawrence – “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (Lionsgate)

  • Adele Lim – “Joy Ride” (Lionsgate)

  • Lisa Cortes – “Little Richard: I Am Everything” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • Paul Schrader – “Master Gardener” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • James Gunn – “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (Marvel Studios)

  • Nia DaCosta – “The Marvels” (Marvel Studios)

  • Cord Jefferson – “American Fiction” (MGM)

  • George Clooney – “The Boys in the Boat” (MGM)

  • Michael B. Jordan – “Creed III” (MGM)

  • Guy Ritchie — “Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” (MGM)

  • Emma Seligman — “Bottoms” (MGM/Orion)

  • Zach Braff — “A Good Person” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

  • Christopher Zalla — “Radical” (Miercoles Entertainment)

  • Justin Triet – “Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon)

  • William Oldroyd – “Eileen” (Neon)

  • Daniel Goldhaber – “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” (Neon)

  • Alice Rochwacher – “La Chimera” (Neon)

  • Wim Wenders — “Perfect Days” (Neon)

  • Matthew Heineman — “American Symphony” (Netflix)

  • Pablo Larrain – “El Conde” (Netflix)

  • Chloe Dumont – “Fair Play” (Netflix)

  • David Fincher – “The Killer” (Netflix)

  • Sam Esmail – “Leave the World Behind” (Netflix)

  • Todd Haynes – “May December” (Netflix)

  • Bradley Cooper – “Maestro” (Netflix)

  • Jimmy Chin, Chai Vasarhelyi — “Nyad” (Netflix)

  • David Yates — “Pain Hustlers” (Netflix)

  • Zack Snyder – “Rebel Moon” (Netflix)

  • George C. Wolfe – “Rustin” (Netflix)

  • J.A. Bayona – “Society of the Snow” (Netflix)

  • Ava DuVernay – “Origin” (Neon)

  • Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley — “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (Paramount Pictures)

  • Christopher McQuarrie — “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (Paramount Pictures)

  • Jeff Rowe — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” (Paramount Pictures)

  • Peter Sohn – “Elemental” (Pixar)

  • Ray Romano – “Somewhere in Queens” (Roadside Attractions)

  • Andrew Haigh – “All of Us Strangers” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • Taika Waititi – “Next Goal Wins” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • Yorgos Lanthimos – “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • Craig Gillespie – “Dumb Money” (Sony Pictures)

  • Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson – “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)

  • Matt Brown – “Freud’s Last Session” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • Ilker Çatak – “The Teachers Lounge” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • Michael Mann – “Ferrari” (Neon)

  • Christopher Nolan – “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)

  • Rebecca Miller – “She Came to Me” (Vertical Entertainment)

  • Greta Gerwig – “Barbie” (Warner Bros.)

  • Ángel Manuel Soto – “Blue Beetle” (Warner Bros.)

  • Blitz Bazawule – “The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.)

  • Paul King – “Wonka” (Warner Bros.)

  • Rob Marshall – “The Little Mermaid” (Walt Disney Pictures)

  • Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn – “Wish” (Walt Disney Pictures)

2022 category winner: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)

Oscars Predictions Categories

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | BEST ACTOR | BEST ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

About the Academy Awards

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the nearly 10,000-person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

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