There’s a trend that most Best Director Oscar winners will receive more than one nomination throughout their careers. The most recent recipient of the Academy Award for Best Director is Jane Campion for her work on The Power of the Dog and she was previously nominated for The Piano
Whilst some Oscar-winning directors have transitioned to the small screen to battle it out at the Emmys, many of cinema’s biggest names have movies set to release during peak awards season – so it seems likely that these seasoned pros have got their eyes on the prize once more with some huge films on the horizon.
James Cameron – Avatar 2 (2022)
James Cameron’s Titanic dominated the 70th Academy Awards, going home with 11 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for Cameron. The director was nominated again for 2009’s Avatar, an epic sci-fi piece that revolutionized the use of 3D technology in films and went on to claim the highest box office gross of all time.
With this level of success, Avatar was quickly greenlit for not one, not two, but four sequels, the first of which is finally set to release this December – over a decade after the original. Cameron returns to the director’s chair to showcase his innovative work, which is renowned for pushing the boundaries of cinematic technology and Avatar 2 is set to continue this trend with underwater performance capture scenes and extensive world-building of the planet Pandora.
Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans (2022)
Spielberg, one of cinema’s most beloved filmmakers, has gone home with the Best Director Oscar twice, for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. Coming hot off the heels of his eighth nomination for 2021’s West Side Story, Spielberg will likely have another shot at the golden statuette for his upcoming semi-autobiographical piece The Fabelmans, given that the Academy loves rewarding biopics and personal pieces.
The Fabelmans is said to be a coming-of-age flick featuring Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams, and Paul Dano playing fictionalized versions of Spielberg’s uncle, aunt, and father, respectively. Longtime Spielberg collaborator John Williams will compose the film’s score, making this the pair’s 29th project together.
Damien Chazelle – Babylon (2022)
At just 32 years old, Chazelle became the youngest ever recipient of the Best Director Oscar when he won for his musical film La La Land. The writer-director’s work has become known for its originality and so amongst a slew of reboots, sequels, and prequels, audiences have been eagerly awaiting Chazelle’s next work: Babylon.
Babylon is a period piece set during the transitional era in Hollywood when silent movies gave way to the talkies. The film, starring Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, and Tobey Maguire, recently had a test screening and was described by several viewers as a “masterpiece”! (via World of Reel).
Martin Scorsese – Killers Of The Flower Moon (2022)
Martin Scorsese is the second most-nominated filmmaker for the Academy Award for Best Director, having received nine nominations in total and winning in 2006 for the crime thriller The Departed.
His upcoming piece, Killers of the Flower Moon, will see him reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio, marking their sixth collaboration together. The film, based on true events, follows an FBI investigation into the suspicious murders of Native American people in Osage County after precious oil was discovered on their land.
Guillermo Del Toro – Pinocchio (2022)
Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro went home with the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for his fantasy romance piece The Shape of Water. His upcoming film Pinocchio is not a retelling of the Disney classic, but rather will more closely follow the original Italian novel.
The film, long in the works, has been described as a passion project for Del Toro and will be the director’s first true foray into animation. The dark fantasy piece will be done in stop-motion style and feature the voices of Cate Blanchett, Ewan McGregor, and long-time Del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman.
Robert Zemeckis – Pinocchio (2022)
Zemeckis has been the driving force behind many classic hits of the ’80s and ’90s including Back to the Future, Cast Away, and Forrest Gump, the latter of which earned him his first (and only) Best Director gong. Zemeckis’ next project, Pinocchio, is Disney’s latest live-action adaptation, and the second Pinocchio film set to release in 2022.
The film, featuring Tom Hanks as the kind-hearted Gepetto and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the voice of Jiminy Cricket, will blend live-action performances with computer imagery elements in a fantasy musical setting. Pinocchio is due to release on Disney+ this September – three months ahead of Del Toro’s version.
Sam Mendes – Empire Of Light (TBA)
English director Sam Mendes began his career in the world of theatre before making the leap to cinema, going home with the Best Director Oscar for his feature film debut, American Beauty. Mendes received a second nomination for 1917.
The director may have another swing at the gold for his upcoming film Empire of Light, starring Colin Firth and Olivia Colman as well as Roger Deakin’s Oscar-winning cinematography. Empire of Light is a romantic piece set in a coastal English cinema; seeing as critics love films about films, it seems likely that Mendes will get some attention for his latest piece.
Francis Ford Coppola – Megalopolis (TBA)
Despite a decade-long hiatus from the big screen, Coppola – who won the Best Director Oscar for The Godfather Part II – has assured audiences he has at least one more showstopper up his sleeve: his long-in-the-works passion project, Megalopolis.
Megalopolis is said to be an ensemble piece that focuses on a post-disaster New York and an architect’s attempts to transform the city into a utopia. While the cast remains unconfirmed, rumors suggest that Zendaya, Christian Bale, and Cate Blanchett are in talks to star in Coppola’s long-awaited return to cinema.
Steven Soderbergh – Magic Mike’s Last Dance (TBA)
Soderbergh, known for the comedy-heist Ocean’s trilogy, faced off against himself at the 73rd Academy Awards where he was nominated twice for Best Director for Erin Brockovich and Traffic; he won for the latter.
Soderbergh’s next task will be to successfully wrap up the Magic Mike franchise, which focuses on the world of male strippers. Little is known about Magic Mike’s Last Dance, except that it will be the last in the trilogy and see Channing Tatum return as the titular Mike.
Ron Howard – Thirteen Lives (2022)
Howard has directed many hits throughout his career including Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Beautiful Mind, the latter of which earned him a Best Director Oscar.
Howard will next write and direct Thirteen Lives, a survival film based on the real-life rescue of 12 schoolboys and their football coach who became trapped in Thailand’s Tham Luang caves. The film will star Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell as two of the cave divers who volunteered to risk their lives in the rescue mission.
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