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Matthew Liedke column: Damien Chazelle a lock for Best Director

Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) in "La La Land." (Photo Credit: Dale Robinette)

In the next few weeks, we are previewing the Oscars. This week it’s Best Director. Last week it was the acting awards.

Matthew Liedke

Possibly the easiest prediction for this year’s Academy Awards is the Achievement in Directing category.

For this award, the nominees are:

  • Damien Chazelle for “La La Land.”
  • Barry Jenkins for “Moonlight.”
  • Kenneth Lonergan for “Manchester by the Sea.”
  • Mel Gibson for “Hacksaw Ridge.”
  • Denis Villeneuve for “Arrival.”

Who Will Win:

Simply put, “La La Land” Director Damien Chazelle has the Oscar locked. So far, he has earned Best Director accolades from the Critics’ Choice and the Golden Globes.

More importantly, though, was his win last weekend when Chazelle took the Director’s Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. In 2010-2011 and 2013-2015, the individual who took the DGA award also went on to earn the Oscar for the directing category.

Who Could Win:

Chazelle is such a frontrunner that it’s difficult to see any other director coming close. With that in mind, both Barry Jenkins and Kenneth Lonergan had films that were extremely well received by critics and if there was an upset either of their names could be called.

Who Should Win:

This is a category with five very talented directors and all of them put in their best work. With that said, though, I’d lean toward giving the directing honors to Chazelle, who did a masterful job in bringing “La La Land” together.

The movie will likely sweep multiple categories on Oscar night, from music to production design. The person behind much of complex love-letter to Hollywood was Chazelle, though, and he will get the recognition.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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