Categories One-by-One: Director

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Director

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:03 pm

I don't know if anyone has articulated this, but it seems to me that Cuaron is the front-runner because he is considered the most owed of the nominees. Scorsese is a former winner. Russell and Payne have had previous nominations. Cuaron should have been in the running twice before for Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men, but wasn't. McQueen is a relative newcomer. If Cuaron had won an Oscar for either Y Tu Mama Tambien or Children of Men we'd be talking about previous nominees Russell and Payne vs. current hotshot McQueen with the quality of the work the only issue as it should be. Cuaron also gets pickup from many who thought Stanley Kubrick should have won for the definitive outer space film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Bottom line: should be McQueen; will be Cuaron who should have won for Y Tu Mama Tambien or Children of Men.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Director

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:38 pm

Precedents were made to be broken. Just ask The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Director

Postby rolotomasi99 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:29 pm

I have heard many, particularly Sasha Stone, saying GRAVITY winning Director in a split year is odd. It is true that the big crowdpleaser does not usually beat the smaller, art house film for Director but losing Best Picture. The only recent example I can think of would be SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Spielberg did not just win because he made such a strongly dramatic picture and artistic film like other split-year directors. As I recall, when most people talked about the film they specifically referenced the thrilling, technically accomplished long opening sequence. Most people loved the whole film, but it was the storming of Normandy that everyone kept singling out for praise.

The same with GRAVITY, and its opening quiet moments along with the first debris strike. People who love the film praise the entire thing, but everyone (even those less impressed) sight that one-take opening.

While SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was a very serious film, it was also a crowd-pleaser that beat out some huge hits to be the number one film of 1998.

I am still thinking Best Picture goes to AMERICAN HUSTLE, which would make a better comparison to SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE than 12 YEARS A SLAVE does. I know all the precursors point to 12 YEARS A SLAVE winning over AMERICAN HUSTLE, but I can think of no precedent where the feel-bad movie wins Best Picture over the feel-good movie without winning Director. Then again, the past five years or so have seen precedent after precedent being knocked down. This year may go down as one of the strangest Oscar years in its entire history.
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Categories One-by-One: Director

Postby Okri » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:01 pm

Tee's mentioned a couple times that Gravity doesn't quite fit the mold of best director in AMPAS history - the big crowdpleaser can win best picture, but director will often go to a more personal film. I think there's one general exception, though, and I think Cuaron wins on that exception.

This was and will remain a fascinating race, right up until the final announcement though. Scorsese and Payne are more interesting for the "Will they return thread" so we'll save them for then.

According to the narrative, 12 Years a Slave was going to stomp all over this Oscar race. It got laudatory reviews, won the audience award at TIFF and seemed to be well on its way. I know people here have reacted negatively to the way the bloggers tried to cement the narrative in September but I have to admit listening to the genuine excitement at TIFF was pretty amazing (I didn't see it, but everyone I talked to in line for other movies that had seen it were just raving about it. While festival audiences are different then regular audiences, I don't blame people for thinking it would be a really big success). But, while mainstream audiences have actually made it a fairly considerable success, the critics awards, in both the big races and the smaller ones, have left it out in favour of a broader spectrum. The oddity of this oscar race means he can win, but I'd place him third.

I wonder if the debate regarding American Hustle as Scorsese-lite has hurt it at all, given the presence of the real thing this year. If you love the film, isn't O. Russel the main reason - with his handling of the film's tone, the groove the glorious razzle-dazzle of it all. He's gotten a lot of actors nominations over the past few years (11 nominations. To give you an idea of how high that is, Steven Spielberg has only directed 12 nominated performances) so there is probably a lot of love within that branch for him and the type of work he does. If I'm not predicting him, it's only because I equally suspect his reputation amongst some of the voters is pretty negative (the fist fight from Three Kings; the Huckabees debacle) and I can't tell how much credit HE'S getting for it.

Best picture "crowdpleasers" fall into two categories. On the one hand, you've got the "right film, right place, right time." To me, films like Gladiator, Chicago and Shakespeare in Love* fall into this category. Critically speaking, elements are certainly singled out (Crowe's performance, the screenplay from Stoppard/Norman), but the overall enthusiasm doesn't seem to stem from a single guiding mind. On the other hand, you've got films like Slumdog Millionaire, Return of the King, or even Titanic, where one person is largely seen as the reason for the film's massive successes. This isn't that other elements are downplayed, but that the director has been given the lions' share of the credit for the film's success. This isn't earth-shattering - winning any category comes down to this. We see writer-driven films underrated in the director's categories all the time (which is why Payne's nomination haul is particularly impressive). But it's the reason, ultimately, why Cuaron has been coming on very strong. Even if you're an agnostic on the film, he's credited with it's profound technical accomplishments. And a lot of people were taken with the film. Given Cuaron's fascination with the long take and his preoccupation with the weightless camera, it still feels like a Cuaron film even if it is at the behest of a major studio blockbuster. And for that, I think he's winning.


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