In thinking about this upcoming years Academy Awards, and specifically the directors race, I've wondered if over the past 10 years if the Academy Award nominations have skewed towards new directors or previously nominated directors.
Of course Steven Soderbergh's double nomination in 2001 as a first time nominee sort of throws off the numbers a little bit, but over the past 10 years, it is undeniable that over half the nominees were first time nominees, as represented by the blue bars on the chart above, while the red portion of the chart indicates return nominees.
Obviously, some years skewed towards return directors, like 2003 when Rob Marshall was the only first time director nod. But in general it seems like the directors guild is interested in bringing new directors in to the fold (Bennett Miller, Paul Greengrass, or Shephen Daldry the first time around), as well as recognizing those who have been around for awhile but never honored...like Ron Howard and the Coen Brothers.
Although it seems like the Oscars director race has skewed towards old favorites and new blood.
This information gives me some freedom in my best director predictions to mix previous nominees, but not feel pressured or fearful about including some new blood and first time nominees in the mix.
Below is the list of first time nominees from the past ten years. It's interesting list that defines some of the most interesting projects to hit the Academies radar over the past ten years.
2000 - Sam Mendes, Spike Jonze, Michael Mann, M. Night Shymalan
2001 - Steven Soderbergh (2 noms), Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee
2002 - Ron Howard, Peter Jackson
2003 - Rob Marshall
2004 - Fernando Meirelles, Sofia Coppola
2005 - Taylor Hackford, Alexander Payne,
2006 - Bennett Miller, Paul Haggis, George Clooney
2007 - Alejandro Gonzalez Inaratu, Paul Greengrass
2008 - Joel/Ethan Coen, Jason Reitman, Julian Schnabel, Tony Gilroy, Paul Thomas Anderson
2009 - Danny Boyle, David Fincher