The Oscar races are heating up once again as we get into the fall and winter film season. Several of the films  and performances receiving high praise and buzz have yet to be seen by many audiences. Yet, we are still able to take a look at the front runners in each category and update them on a regular basis as momentum changes. In the Oscar race, momentum is everything and as the season progresses, my predictions will adjust accordingly. Here’s my take on the Best Director race.

This is always a tricky category to call. Last year Ridley Scott seemed like a lock to earn a nomination in this category. Yet, Lenny Abrahamson snuck in for his work on Room. Early, Denis Villeneuve, Damien Chazelle, Martin Scorsese, Ben Affleck and Kenneth Lonergan seem to be favorites. Yet there are others like Denzel Washington and mainstays like Clint Eastwood.

Mel Gibson is in a tricky situation. No doubt he has crafted one of the best films of the year, and in my opinion, his best work ever. But Gibson is an outcast in Hollywood. The likelihood of him being nominated is very slim. Yet, everyone loves a comback story, but I wouldn’t count on this one.

This leads us to the odds on favorites. And, as mentioned in my Best Picture predictions, we have yet to see films like Scorsese’s Silence and Affleck’s Live By Night. It’s tough to make any predictions regarding those at this point.

The picture has become somewhat clearer as awards have been starting to come in. What is clear is Chazelle and Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins seem to be in.

We won’t really have a toatlly clear picture until the annual Director’s Guild Awards are handed out. But until then here is my best stab at the category of Best Director.

My Updated Predicted 5:
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea
Martin Scorsese, Silence
Denzel Washington, Fences

In The Hunt
Clint Eastwood, Sully
Jeff Nichols, Loving
Ben Affleck, Live By Night
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Pablo Larrain, Jackie
Robert Zemeckis, Allied
Peter Berg, Patriot’s Day

Long Shots
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
John Lee Hancock, The Founder
J.A. Bayona, A Monster Calls