Going into the Oscar nominations this was the toughest category to pick out. There were six clear contenders who all had a claim to Best Director of the year with tremendous work done by Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino, And Lee, David O. Russell, and Steven Spielberg. It was near impossible to carve out the best five because someone was going to get left out. So instead what they decided to do was take out the best directors entirely to make the decision a little easier. Here is a look at the best director nominations.
Michael Haneke – “Amour”
Ang Lee – Life of Pi”
David O. Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”
Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
And almost immediately Oscar realized what it had done as Ben Affleck’s terrifically made movie Argo won all of the major awards for, you guessed it, achievement in directing. While leaving off Affleck was difficult to understand had he made the list and Bigelow been left off for her tension generating work in Zero Dark Thirty we’d be crying foul just as much. So instead with the biggest contenders out of the race it looks like it could be anyone’s to win (you know except Beasts of the Southern Wild, just remember to say it was an honor to be nominated).
To me Amour and Silver Lining Playbook are more performance based than anything to do with the director. I mean Silver Lining has all of their main actors nominated and Amour is more or less a character study.
If there was an over direction award I’d probably give that to Spielberg for his work in Lincoln. Usually he is much more heavy handed with the music and close ups and dictating to the audience – OK now be sad. The opening scene and ending seem so needlessly done that if he had any kind of control over the story he could have left the Gettysburg Address and the (SPOILER) assassination out of the movie. He is still overbearing just not nearly as much as he has been in the past. Luckily someone told John Williams to turn his score of the movie down. The content and his lead actor were better than anything that Spielberg contributed.
To me Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was the definition of beautifully done. It is well executed, well planned, and he took content that should be unfilmable due to the limited setting in the story and creates a visual feast. He does it all without a well-known actor to helm the project and rests the burden of the movie’s success on his shoulders. He challenges the viewer to look inward and while some people may have problems with the religious undertone there is no reason that should disqualify him from winning the award.
The problem is without Argo all the hype around Lincoln seems to almost lock in Spielberg for the win, he has been campaigning hard for this movie and with more nominations than any other movie Lincoln has a serious advantage. This one should be close but I hope the award goes to the right director.
What do you think? Do you think Spielberg should win the award? Amour has been getting a lot of late Oscar love. Think that gives the movie the edge? Let me know. And tomorrow we tackle the grand daddy of them all: who will win the Best Picture of the year.