Jane Campion vs. Steven Spielberg for the Oscar for Best Director?

The theme for the 94th Academy Awards should simply be, “Well, well, we’ll meet again.” Best actor could see Will smith (“King Richard”) and Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”) clash 20 years later. Same thing in the best actress with Halle berry (“Contused”) and Nicole kidman (“Being the Ricardos”). And Best Supporting Actress could make three nominations for Best Supporting Actress eight years ago: Cate Blanchett (“Alley of nightmares”), Judi Dench (“Belfast”) and Meryl Streep (“Do not look upwards”). But it is not only the categories of actors who can organize meetings. The best director could stage a rematch, 28 years later, between Jane campion (“The power of the dog”) and Steven spielberg (“West Side Story”).

Campion and Spielberg first faced off for the Oscar for Best Director with their 1993 films, “The Piano” and “Schindler’s List”, respectively. Spielberg, then in his fourth production after those of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), “The Adventurers of the Lost Ark” (1981) and “ET the Extraterrestrial” (1982), prevailed for the seminal drama of the Holocaust, which also earned him a statuette for best film. At the time, Campion was only the second woman to be nominated for Best Director, after Lina wertmuller (The Seven Beauties of 1976). She won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “The Piano”.

SEE Oscars: the predictions for the best director and the state of the race

But the roles could be turned this time around. Campion has been the All-Season Best Director’s Favorite for Best Favorite Movie “The Power of the Dog,” which hit Netflix on Wednesday after two weeks of limited release. She would be the first woman to win two nominations for best director, it would be the eighth time a woman has been shortlisted in the category, and she would be the third woman to win the award after Catherine bigelow (2009 “The Hurt Locker”) and defending champion Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland”. Campion, who previously won the Silver Lion for her staging the spellbinding western at the Venice Film Festival, sits comfortably in first place with a 71/20 odds ahead Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”), Kenneth branagh (“Belfast”), Paul thomas anderson (“Licorice Pizza”) and Guillermo del Toro (“Alley of nightmares”).

In sixth place is Spielberg, who has climbed quickly since his refreshing remake of the classic musical and best picture winner of 1961, which premiered on Monday with positive reviews. If it were there, it would be the eighth nomination for Best Director for Spielberg, who won his second statuette for 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan”. He has not been nominated in the category since “Lincoln” (2012), his last collaboration with Tony kushner, who adapted “West Side Story”. Spielberg’s last two Oscar performers, “Bridge of Spies” (2015) and “The Post” (2017), earned him Best Picture nominations, but those films were never really the top main prize contenders. . But the glowing reception of “West Side Story” – it has an 85 on metacritic and 97 percent on Rotten tomatoes at the time of this writing – should launch it in the top five for best film and Spielberg in the chase to direct.

Could Spielberg beat Campion again? Obviously it’s too early to tell now, but if he comes out on top in March, he will join Franck Capra and William wyler as three-time winning directors. Alone John Ford has more with four wins. So if the race is between the two of them, that would be historic no matter who wins.

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