Two Directors Can Achieve An Oscars Accomplishment In 2024 Last Done 12 Years Ago

Summary

  • Bradley Cooper and Emerald Fennell have the potential to achieve a rare feat by having their first two movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
  • Bennett Miller was the last director to achieve this accomplishment with his films Capote and Moneyball.
  • Maestro and Saltburn face tough competition for Best Picture nominations at the 2024 Oscars, but both films are strong contenders.


Actors-turned-directors Bradley Cooper and Emerald Fennell both stand to achieve a rare feat if their 2023 movies are nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. The nominations for the 96th Academy Awards will be announced on January 23, 2024. As the date gets closer, predictions for 2024 Oscar nominees in all categories abound, but two potential 2024 Oscar nominations for Best Picture would be a very big deal for the directors of the films in question.

Following up his 2018 feature directorial debut, A Star Is Born, Cooper directed 2023’s Maestro and starred in the movie as conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein. Maestro chronicles the love story between Bernstein and his wife, actress Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan). Fennell made her feature directorial debut in 2020 with Promising Young Woman and released her second directorial feature, Saltburn, this year. Saltburn is a black comedy thriller starring Barry Keoghan as an Oxford student who becomes obsessed with a wealthy classmate (Jacob Elordi). Both Maestro and Saltburn are contenders for Best Picture nominations, which would earn them each an exciting achievement.

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Bradley Cooper & Emerald Fennell Could Have Their First Two Movies Earn Best Picture Nominations

Cooper & Fennell both previously saw their feature directorial debuts nominated for Best Picture

If Bradley Cooper’s Maestro or Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn are nominated for the top award at the 2024 Oscars, these directors will achieve the impressive feat of having their first two films be nominated for Best Picture. A Star Is Born was nominated for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars, but it lost to Green Book. Now, Cooper’s sophomore directorial effort, Maestro, is a strong contender for a Best Picture nomination, too. If Maestro is nominated, this would mean that the first two films Cooper ever directed were both nominated for Best Picture.

Fennell could also join this exclusive club of directors whose first two films have been nominated for Best Picture. Her feature directorial debut, Promising Young Woman, was nominated for Best Picture at the 2021 Oscars. Like Cooper, Fennell’s first film also lost the Best Picture award, this time to Nomadland. Fennell also lost the Best Director award to Nomadland’s Chloe Zao, but she did win for Best Original Screenplay. Fennell followed up her directorial debut with 2023’s Saltburn, which is also a strong contender for a Best Picture nomination.

Bennett Miller Was The Last Director To Get Best Picture Nominations For His First Two Movies

Bennett Miller directed the Best Picture winners Capote in 2005 and Moneyball in 2011

A director landing Best Picture nominations for the first two films they ever directed is no small feat, but Cooper and Fennell wouldn’t be the first to do it. A few iconic filmmakers whose first two directorial features were nominated include Mike Nichols for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Graduate, Warren Beatty for Heaven Can Wait and Reds, and James L. Brooks for Terms of Endearment — which won — and Broadcast News. The most recent director to achieve this accomplishment was Bennett Miller in 2011.

Technically, Miller’s feature directorial debut was his 1998 documentary, The Cruise. While they are officially eligible for Best Picture, a documentary has never been nominated in this category. Therefore, when considering only his narrative feature films, Miller made his debut with the 2005 biographical drama Capote, about the titular American writer. Capote was nominated for Best Picture at the 2006 Oscars but lost to Crash.

After Capote, Miller didn’t direct another film for six years. In 2011, he made his second narrative feature, Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. Moneyball was nominated for Best Picture at the 2012 Oscars but lost to The Artist. Still, this nomination alone made Miller the first director in decades to have his first two narrative films nominated for Best Picture.

Before Miller, the other most recent filmmaker to achieve this feat was Frank Darabont for his theatrical feature debut, The Shawshank Redemption, and his directorial follow-up, The Green Mile. However, Darabont’s qualification is also debatable, since technically his directorial feature debut was the made-for-TV movie Buried Alive in 1990.

Maestro & Saltburn’s Best Picture Nomination Odds Explained

There are a ton of strong contenders for Best Picture nominees at the 2024 Oscars. Among the likes of Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, Poor Things, and May December, just to name a few, Maestro and Saltburn are up against some heavy hitters. With its historical figure basis, Maestro is more of a traditional Oscar nominee type and seems to have a bit more of a chance of being nominated for Best Picture than the twisted and salacious Saltburn. However, Saltburn is still in the conversation for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars, and it could very well be nominated if the Academy voters are feeling adventurous.