By EW Staff
January 15, 2019 at 12:42 PM EST
Matt Kennedy/Annapurna Pictures

This year’s Oscar race for Best Director is shaping up with an eclectic group of filmmakers whose greatest — and perhaps only — similarity might be their wild ambition. Those vying for nominations include Bradley Cooper, with his music-driven romance A Star Is Born; Alfonso Caurón, with his evocative semi-autobiographical drama Roma; Spike Lee, with his urgent true-life tale BlacKkKlansman; Yorgos Lanthimos, with his wicked 18th-century dramedy The Favourite; Ryan Coogler, with his dazzling superhero hit Black Panther; and Adam McKay, with his biting Dick Cheney biopic Vice.

Here to break down the Best Director race is a new episode of EW’s The Awardist podcast, hosted by EW digital director Shana Naomi Krochmal and featuring senior film editor Katie Hasty and senior writer Piya Sinha-Roy. This week they discuss who’s the director to beat, who’s getting caught up in controversy, and what’s up with women getting shut out of many major nominations this year.

Also in the episode, McKay calls in to discuss making an incisive, genre-bending film about the elusive figure who was arguably the most powerful vice president in U.S. history.

“We’re in such unparalleled times right now, staring down a bunch of epic, insane situations, from Trump to global warming on and on, that we really wanted to create a hybrid style,” McKay says of Vice’s unconventional approach. “We really felt like we didn’t want to be comfortable in a genre. So we purposely tried to just break genre throughout the movie and make it uncomfortable to watch, so you never settled into that three-act structure, Syd Field kind of cruising speed of a movie. We’re knocking the audience out of the movie, pulling them back in, doing absurdist comedy, sometimes going very dark. We really wanted to shock and remind and be uncomfortable and then sometimes entertaining, so this story never gets lost in just traditional filmmaking, which sometimes can happen.”

The Awardist podcast is part of EW’s comprehensive awards coverage, online and in the magazine. And of course, it wouldn’t be award season without some bold predictions about who will get the nod and who will go home empty-handed on Hollywood’s biggest night.

Listen to the longer discussion below, or on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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