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Oscars: Will there be a surprise nominee in the Best Director race?

Oscars: Will there be a surprise nominee in the Best Director race?

On the morning when the Oscar nominations were announced in 1987, I got a call from David Lynch who said he was astounded that he’d been nominated for directing “Blue Velvet” and equally astounded that I had predicted his nomination in the Los Angeles Times the day before.

“How did you know?” he asked.

The answer, of course, is that I didn’t know. I’d just played an educated hunch. Though he hadn’t been nominated by the DGA, it figured that despite its graphic, inscrutable content, “Blue Velvet’s” daring originality would set well with his peers in the academy.

The academy’s relatively small directors’ branch, unlike the broader-based Directors Guild, had a history of finding room on its ballot for work outside the mainstream that its members appreciated.

The year before, the academy had nominated two of them, Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran” and Hector Babenco’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman,

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