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The 2023 Oscars Best Director Nominees - Who Will Win & Who Should Win

The 2023 Oscar nominations are finally here with plenty of snubs and surprises to leave even casual viewers' heads spinning. From the legendary Angela Basset's first acting nomination for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the overwhelming support for "Everything Everywhere All at Once," the official announcement was jam-packed with exciting historical moments for cinema. On March 12, Hollywood stars will glisten the red carpet for the prestigious honor of accepting the coveted award, but who will be taking home the gold?

The best director category is particularly competitive with five strong contenders. Ruben Östlund receives his first nomination for the biting comedy "Triangle of Sadness." He'll compete against several Oscar veterans including filmmaking icon Steven Spielberg for his revealing retrospective "The Fabelmans." Martin McDonagh's comedic tale of friendship "The Banshees of Inisherin" breaks into the nominees alongside Todd Field's impeccable "Tár." Last but certainly not least is Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — also known as The Daniels — bewildering "Everything Everywhere All at Once," which leads the charge with an astounding 11 nominations (via Oscars.org). 

While everyone has their favorites, this race is going to boil down to rewarding the director who can tell the best story both behind and in front of the camera. After a dazzling and touching Golden Globe speech, we have a good idea of who will probably win the honorable award. However, we're still holding out hope for an underdog.

Steven Spielberg will win the 2023 Oscar for Best Director

Spielberg's heartfelt film captures his journey as a young Jewish boy navigating adolescence while tirelessly pursuing his undying passion for filmmaking. In his heartwarming 2023 Golden Globes acceptance speech, he reveals what prompted him to make "The Fabelmans." After years behind the camera, the esteemed director felt an undeniable urge to finally tell his story. Following the uncertain times in the early days of the pandemic, he realized he may never have the chance to do so. This, coupled with the death of his parents, drove him to finally make the spellbinding film.

This powerful experience makes a compelling case for Spielberg's film which creates Oscar bait so appetizing, it's nearly impossible for voters to resist. On top of that, Hollywood loves movies about filmmaking. In 2017, The Academy awarded best director to Damien Chazelle for glitzy "La La Land" over Barry Jenkins for his moving breakout film "Moonlight" (from Oscars.org). Although, they subverted this in 2020 by selecting Bong-Joon Ho's gripping "Parasite" over Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood," proving we can't always count on this trend. While "The Fabelmans" is certainly deserving of acclaim, we're hoping the award goes to a more unique film.

The Daniels should win the 2023 Oscar for Best Director

While "The Fabelmans" is incredibly moving, eye-opening, and perfectly nostalgic, one film is simply loved in every universe. "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is an explosive tour-de-force that throws a beautiful, chaotic wrench into what could've been a dull and predictable award show. Up until the nominations, the reputable and tested Gold Derby predicted Spielberg to be the Best Director winner. Now, in a thrilling adjustment, they have The Daniels' "Everything Everywhere All at Once" as the projected champion.

The complex layers of the film's multiverse adventure results in an emotional and unforgettable final sequence that astonishes its audience. The Daniels exceptionally highlight Michelle Yeoh's prowess in martial arts alongside the ridiculous chaos of Jamie Lee Curtis' hot dog fingers and Ke Huy Quan's lethal fanny pack. Additionally, they capture Stephanie Hsu's gleeful massacre with beauty, grace, and pizazz, which balances the film's heavy emotional themes with riveting action sequences. 

If there's anything Hollywood loves more than stories about itself, it's a comeback story. Quan's tearful acceptance at the Golden Globes captured the internet by storm as the beloved actor finally received the recognition he deserved. In a film about acknowledging and working through a difficult past, this narrative tiers up "Everything Everywhere All at Once" as the definitive should-be winner that may even take the cake in an unexpected but welcome upset.