82nd Oscars - Best Director

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12175
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:47 pm

Oh, I've accepted that it won. I disagree with the choice, as I have so many others at the Oscars this decade. I had been predicting the win for quite some time.

My problems with it will always be my problems with it. I don't like The Pianist like many others do and I don't care for the Coens at all. That's my personal taste and I reserve the right to criticize those for making that decision. And, for once, no one can say I don't have a fully informed perspective on the race. I saw all the nominees. I looked at what there was to offer and by rolo's definition, James Cameron was the best "conductor" of the bunch, even though I think Reitman and Tarantino were better directors.

So, my opinion on the matter comes from frustration over the win because I disagree with it. And when I read people discussing that they voted Bigelow Best Director because she was a woman, I can't help but see that as an indefensible reason to vote for her.

And, while we're on rolo's definition of a film director as merely a conductor...sure, I can buy that, but only to a limited extent. Film has always been a director's medium. The director shapes the narrative, shapes the performances, shapes the music, the cinemstography, etc.

They have nearly ultimate creative control (though, if you're working for a studio, you have significantly less). They are the voice of the film. It is their decisions and their understanding and conveying of the subject matter that makes the film great.

I'll use two examples that should convey how the same (or similar subject matters) can result in completely different pictures and, in terms of quality, end up with one significantly better than the other.

The first example isn't terribly great, but I think it emphasizes how similar projects with differing plots can be handled differently. Armageddon, directed by Michael Bay, was a crass, underdeveloped action film targeted at tweaking the male demographic. We all know his style quite well and that's what we got out of Armageddon, nothing new or different. Deep Impact, on the other hand, directed by Mimi Leder, a director who's not necessarily that great, but certainly understood the subject better, took a relatively similar premise, a few of the same notions and turned it into a character study where the audience reveled in the events going on in the background, but became involved intimately with the people in the story. That Deep Impact was directed by a woman is not even remotely my point. My point was how directorial style can separate like movies into standard films and above average films.

A better example would be to compare Infamous and Capote. The former directed by Douglas McGrath, the latter by Bennett Miller. The two screenplays covered almost the exact same territory and situations surrounding the events of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Yet, stylistically, the films are different as night and day and, based on quality, Infamous wins out. The director is responsible for taking a weaker screenplay and working it into something better. So whether Capote's script was worse than the one for Infamous shouldn't have mattered, because int he end, those directors were responsible for bringing it effectively to the big screen.

You can blame problems on the script and you can blame problems on the performances, but the director does have some impact on that. So, to say they are nothing more than a conductor is a bit demeaning of a director.

Now, I'm also not saying that it is exclusively the director that can make a good film. I'm sure there are examples of great films that had crappy directors at the helm who brought nothing new to them while featuring great performances and a literate, intelligent script, but they are few and far between.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
rolotomasi99
Associate
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:13 pm
Location: n/a
Contact:

Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:32 pm

OscarGuy wrote:It has nothing to do with her making a war movie. It has to do with her making a war movie that's no different, exceptional or original than another war movie. So, let's give her a prize because she toes the line and does nothing new original. That's a grand idea.

You keep saying THE HURT LOCKER is exactly like every other war movie, but never give any examples of what war movies it is exactly like. That would really help all of us understand what you are talking about.

From my perspective, THE HURT LOCKER is nothing like PATTON, APOCALYPSE NOW, THE DEER HUNTER, PLATOON, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE THIN RED LINE, THREE KINGS, BLACK HAWK DOWN, or GREEN ZONE. So if it is not exactly like those movies, what movies is it exactly like?

I think one of the reasons THE HURT LOCKER is different from most war movies celebrated by Hollywood is that it is not about soldiers who kill. This movie focuses on three soldiers who diffuse bombs. They save lives. They save the lives of their fellow soldiers and they save the lives of the innocent civilians who are in harms way. Other than the long desert stand-off scene, gun fighting is almost non-existent in this movie. This is not an action movie war film. This is more comparable to a tense thriller. This movie is not edge-of-your-seat exciting, but edge-of-your-seat nerve wracking.

It never had a chance to do well at the box-office because Bigelow rejected every opportunity to make it into a butt-kicking, hero-worshipping, action film. If that is not outside of this "line" you keep accusing her of toeing, than I have no idea what you are talking about.

AVATAR and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS on the other hand certainly did not give audiences what they expect from action war movies. There were no gun fights, explosions, chase scenes, or hand-to-hand combat in either one of those films. Nope, nothing but character development and men talking about their fear of dying and desire to start families. They certainly broke new ground there. :p




Edited By rolotomasi99 on 1268246090
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Laureate
Posts: 7233
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:04 pm

But I do think there is a gleam of a point Oscar Guy is making, but he's not focusing it in the right direction. This is the first time a woman has won Best Director the Academy Awards' 82 years, and there are some legitimate questions as to why it's for THIS particular film. Why has the Academy passed on honoring other female directors who have made films in more "feminine" genres? The first film to win Best Director to a female filmmaker is a war drama, a very male-oriented genre, and that is a very interesting, and likely unintentional, statement. (I can't comment on the film itself yet.)

But that's something to take the Academy to task for. Oscar Guy errs in pointing the finger at Bigelow for making the kinds of movies she makes with the directorial voice she has. Hey, she is who she is. For decades, she's had the freedom to choose her projects and film in her own style. She can't be someone she's not. I've never thought of a Bigelow film as having a pedestrian, director-for-hire style, and I'd be surprised if Hurt Locker were the same.

But what I'm really gathering is she's being criticized for making a movie a man could make. I understand the point that if there were a female perspective, it would add an interesting aesthetic. And had she done so, perhaps the movie would have benefitted. (Or, perhaps not.) But, as a top-of-the-head example, was Ang Lee expected to add a male sensibility to "Sense and Sensibility"? And was he praised when he did/criticized when he did not? Of course not, because no one imposed that expectation upon him, because - unless demonstrated otherwise - anyone who is a director is a male director by default. (I do wonder if any extra expectations/penalties were placed upon Lee for being an Asian director working with British material. I do remember Mira Nair was pilloried for inserting an Indian sensibility into the adaptation of Trollope's "Vanity Fair".)

In any event, if they wanted to be self-serving about it and make history, then the Academy would have given Bigelow Best Director and something else Best Picture. But they gave it Picture and Screenplay (written by a man) and a few other things. And some critics gave it Best Film of the Year when they could have stopped with Bigelow. The film itself received excellent reviews. And the Producers Guild Award gave "Hurt Locker" their top prize. They didn't have to do any of this, especially not the Producers Guild. The PGA - in the great and glorious year of "Avatar" - could have awarded something else and let the DGA take care of the Director's prize. No, they did it because they genuinely loved the movie. Her being a woman was mostly a by-product. Did her being a woman have nothing to do with the awards success? Maybe not. But the movie still had to be considered award-worthy in order to make the win feasible.

I still find it impossible to believe that anyone voted "A Beautiful Mind" Best Picture because they actually liked that damn thing, but the objective evidence tells me otherwise. I accept it. You should as well.
"What the hell?"
Win Butler

User avatar
rolotomasi99
Associate
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:13 pm
Location: n/a
Contact:

Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:51 pm

OscarGuy wrote:There's more style and flavor to Cameron's, Reitman's and Tarantino's work than in The Hurt Locker. Even directors like Tyler Perry, Guy Ritchie, Nancy Meyers and Michael Bay, as bad of directors as they may be, infused little pieces of their distinctive style into their films. I want my directors, male or female, to direct outside of the box, not inside of it. So, when I see someone like Bigelow rewarded, it seems more clear in my mind that it has to do with her gender, not with her film.

No more talk about gender! :D


I have to say I strongly disagree with your assesment of why someone should win an Oscar for directing. It seems like this board in general has had the same argument every year about what constitutes great directing.

I always use the analogy of an orchestra conductor. In many cases, the conductor did not write the music, build the instruments, has no control of the accoustics where they are playing, and is definitely not playing the music themselves. The conductor is tasked with taking all these elements in mind and finding the right tone and pace for the musical performance.

I feel a film director has the same task. The director has to take all the elements of cinema -- writing, acting, cinematography, editing, music, etc. -- and make sure everything works well in relation to each other. I am not enamored with the idea that the director is the star of a movie and should make it their singular piece of art. All the real work is done by everyone else, while they are the conductor making sure everyone comes together nicely to make great art.

Bigelow started with a strong screenplay (the sheet music) and brought out the right performances from the right actors (musicians) all while making sure all the other pieces like the cinematography, editing, etc. captured and supported these performances correctly (considering the accoustics and size of the performance space).

THE HURT LOCKER has a very different feel to it than APOCALYPSE NOW, THE DEER HUNTER, PLATOON, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE THIN RED LINE, THREE KINGS, BLACK HAWK DOWN, and (as we will see this weekend) GREEN ZONE. No one else could have made THE HURT LOCKER the way Bigelow did. Her minimalist style is what makes it such a good film. There is nothing wrong with being as over-the-top as the movies I mention above, but those directors would have been horribly wrong for this film with this story about these characters. Bigelow's style complimented the screenplay perfectly. That is what makes her directing so perfect.




Edited By rolotomasi99 on 1268243664
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 3736
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:51 pm

anonymous wrote:Must a woman filmmaker should ALWAYS define herself primarily as a woman filmmaker?

Not as a woman maybe, but as an individual - and I found The Hurt Locker to be a generally well-shot but not very personal movie.

It's not a question of expecting a woman to be "better", of course - but I think we wouldn't be wrong if we expect her to be "different". Historically, in art, women, from Sappho to Artemisia Gentileschi, from the Bronte sisters to Frida Kahlo, have been studied and even celebrated from this point of view - for the personal approach that, being women, they could show in fields traditionally dominated by men, on subjects traditionally treated by men. It wasn't, and it should never be, the ONLY way of looking at them (and there are many reasons why I don't think her movie is a masterpiece) - but it's a perfectly respectable point of view, and it can lead to interesting observations.

The feminist 70s emphasized this aspect of a woman's contribution to the arts and the media, her "difference". It was probably a bit naive, but at least in Europe (interestingly, less so in America) led to women, and women of talent, putting their hands on film cameras, with good results sometimes; and though naive, I still find it preferable to the more fashionable "she should make action movies like we all do" of today.

And of course it's great to see a woman dealing with one of those subjects - war - that have been treated for centuries, millennia even, only by men. So it would have been nice to get a new, fresh perspective, not of historical importance, don't get me wrong, just something more original and less reassuring. We didn't get it; ok, the movie certainly works on other levels, but as it's her right to express herself that way (and getting awards for that), it's also our right to be a little disappointed.

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12175
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:46 pm

It has nothing to do with her making a war movie. It has to do with her making a war movie that's no different, exceptional or original than another war movie. So, let's give her a prize because she toes the line and does nothing new original. That's a grand idea.

She doesn't deserve the prize because she doesn't deserve it. I don't give two fucks if she's a woman. And THIS is why I get sick of trying to defend myself. You guys want so much to disprove me by calling me sexist or implying I'm setting a different standard and I'm just reacting poorly to all the calls for her to win because she's a woman when a man who had directed the same film would not be given the red carpet treatment like this.

You can deny it all you want and claim that people voted for her film because they genuinely liked it, but then you would have to start defending Crash because obviously the number of people who voted for it so it would beat Brokeback Mountain wasn't a significant portion of the voting bloc and therefore people think Crash is as good a picture as The Hurt Locker.

Just because you liked the film or the director doesn't excuse the reasons, even if only a small portion of the voting block, said it won. But, I fully expect that the next time anyone discusses Brokeback losing to Crash that they no longer use the excuse that people voted against it because of its gay themes as a rationale.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

anonymous1980
Emeritus
Posts: 4840
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 10:03 pm
Location: Manila
Contact:

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:13 pm

Let me chime in here: If you thought Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar win is undeserved because you thought that her work is not Oscar-worthy, that is fine. That is your opinion. I don't think anyone is criticizing you for that.

But your charge of saying that Bigelow won primarily because she's a woman and only because "it's time for a woman to win" is something that I, personally, disagree with and opens an entire can of worms. Did she get votes because of that reason? Yes. I'm sure she did. And it's one of the reasons I'm thrilled for her win. But is it the main or the only reason? I don't think so.

She won because a lot of people thought Hurt Locker was a very good film and voted for it accordingly. She won because a lot of people have loved and admired her as a filmmaker for years (she's been around for decades).

Your attitdue is no different from conservatives who charge that every time a minority or a woman succeeds in something, they try to dismiss their achievements by attributing it to "political correctness" or "affirmative action" rather than taking a look at her achievement and judge it accordingly.

Must a woman filmmaker should ALWAYS define herself primarily as a woman filmmaker? Can't female directors make war movies or action movies or male-oriented movies without you trying to say "they're just trying to be men"?




Edited By anonymous on 1268241333

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Laureate
Posts: 7233
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Postby Sonic Youth » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:08 pm

OscarGuy wrote:It's not a matter of expecting more from a woman as a director, but more about expecting better.

We've come a long way. We used to impose glass ceilings on women because we expected worse from them than we did with men. Now we impose them because we expect them to do better. Equality is the new underacheivement.

And if the day comes when the patriarch decides you do better? Don't worry, we'll find another glass ceiling and another reason.
"What the hell?"

Win Butler

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12175
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:45 am

I still don't know how expecting someone to stand out of the pack instead of blending into it is a bad thing. That's how I feel about Bigelow. I feel her directorial accomplishment is perfunctory at best. I've said that before. That she was a woman pushed her into a position higher than she would have achieved has a man directed the film identically. It's not a matter of expecting more from a woman as a director, but more about expecting better.

Women have always had a hard time making it in a man's world. Just ask all the female executives who have spent decades trying to carve out a niche alongside their male counterparts. For a female director to work hard to blend in with other directors and perform the same perfunctory task as they is what I feel is insulting to women. So, my displeasure at her winning for such a passable, but not terribly impressive achievement is entirely based on how low it feels like she set the bar for herself.

There's more style and flavor to Cameron's, Reitman's and Tarantino's work than in The Hurt Locker. Even directors like Tyler Perry, Guy Ritchie, Nancy Meyers and Michael Bay, as bad of directors as they may be, infused little pieces of their distinctive style into their films. I want my directors, male or female, to direct outside of the box, not inside of it. So, when I see someone like Bigelow rewarded, it seems more clear in my mind that it has to do with her gender, not with her film.

But, no matter how much I clarify my statements, many of which have prior to this been inflamed a bit by my dissatisfaction with the whole Oscar season (and the previous three to be honest), you will still consider them sexist, so I really don't know that I can any more clearly express my disfavor with the decision regardless of how historic the outcome is. I don't have to celebrate the historic nature of Sarah Palin becoming the first woman to VP a Republican ticket because for me it was an unnecessary decision, made unwisely.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
rolotomasi99
Associate
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:13 pm
Location: n/a
Contact:

Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:35 am

I said this…
rolotomasi99 wrote:I am not saying you are a bad woman-hater or anything, but every time you write about Bigelow you always talk about how you hold her to a different standard because she is a woman.

…to avoid you thinking this…
OscarGuy wrote:Well, rolo, you got me. I hate women. They are the bane of the universe. If we didn't have women, this world would be such a better place. Kathryn Bigelow is a fucking whore who only got what she did because she slept her way into it. Her marriage to James Cameron was a way to jump start her career because women are incapable of using their talent to get them where they are instead of their vaginas. Now, if you really believe that badly of me, then you will see the above statement as a true expression of my deep-seated hatred of women and instead of me making a snide comment because I'm perturbed and incensed by the insinuation that I am sexist just because I believe firmly that she would not have won the Oscar had she been a man.

…however, it clearly made no difference.

I think all past winners of the directing category at the Academy Awards won because they were men. No one would have thought they deserved to win if they had been women. I think Bigelow won despite being a woman, not because of it.
I also think that if Michael Bay had directed AVATAR, Guy Ritchie had directed INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, Nancy Meyers had directed UP IN THE AIR, and Tyler Perry had directed PRECIOUS, none of them would have been nominated for an Oscar. The Oscars are often about who you are just as much as how good your work is. Maybe Bigelow won because she was Kathryn Bigelow, known by many in Hollywood and admired by enough of them to help her shine in a very crowded year. We will never know what prejudices work in the minds of the Academy voters.

I come to this site for the debate and analysis of movies in general and the Oscars specifically because I find UAADB attracts some of the most interesting views on cinema. I hold your opinion OscarGuy in high regard, which is why I am so shocked and hurt that you feel Bigelow is undeserving of her win. I have been even more shocked by your view on how Bigelow’s gender makes her movie even less impressive, but I never equated your words with hatred toward women. Sexism and hatred are not the same thing. Your standard for judging Bigelow is not hateful, but it is sexist. If you feel at peace with that, there is nothing more to discuss.

The winner of the next directing Oscar will most likely be a straight, white, male. The world will be back to normal, and hopefully UAADB can go back to being a happy place for you OscarGuy. I would be very sad if you or it disappeared. Peace!




Edited By rolotomasi99 on 1268239016
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 6716
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:37 pm

I'll be honest, I haven't signed onto www.cinemasight.com that much. I check out your predictions and move on to http://uaadb.oscarguy.com. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the work you guys have put into it. I will say that the entire time that you all were doing a category-by-category breakdown, I wish I had time to be involved.

I think it's strong, and I'm sorry I haven't found more time to say that.
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 14622
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:56 pm

Sabin wrote:
I've gotten very little positive feedback regarding my changes, I've been doing nothing but working on trying to make this site a success when it's quite clear it never will be and that I feel like there's very little point in me even trying anymore.

The site looks pretty. We appreciate your dedication.

Yes, but what about the improved navigation, the content and the ability to post comments directly to CinemaSight? What do people think about that?

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 6716
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:43 pm

I've gotten very little positive feedback regarding my changes, I've been doing nothing but working on trying to make this site a success when it's quite clear it never will be and that I feel like there's very little point in me even trying anymore.

The site looks pretty. We appreciate your dedication.




Edited By Sabin on 1268167453
Philomena is one of the year's best Philomenas!

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12175
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:40 pm

Well, rolo, you got me. I hate women. They are the bane of the universe. If we didn't have women, this world would be such a better place. Kathryn Bigelow is a fucking whore who only got what she did because she slept her way into it. Her marriage to James Cameron was a way to jump start her career because women are incapable of using their talent to get them where they are instead of their vaginas.

Now, if you really believe that badly of me, then you will see the above statement as a true expression of my deep-seated hatred of women and instead of me making a snide comment because I'm perturbed and incensed by the insinuation that I am sexist just because I believe firmly that she would not have won the Oscar had she been a man.

So, if that makes me sexist, then so be it. I'm sick of the fucking arguing. I'm sick of feeling ill. I'm tired of feeling like I don't want to do this anymore. As Peter can attest, I've been on the verge of quitting for awhile now. I've gotten very little positive feedback regarding my changes, I've been doing nothing but working on trying to make this site a success when it's quite clear it never will be and that I feel like there's very little point in me even trying anymore.

But, enough of my pity party because what I'll get from this is "oh, there he goes again, more of the same 'woe is me crap'." And I'm tired of having to constantly defend myself and my thoughts. I thought if anyone would understand and empathize with my thoughts, even if they weren't the most clear or important or agreeable, it would be the people I've known for 10 or more years.

I can't take this stress, these attacks or this general displeasure towards me and my opinions. So, I said I wouldn't come back and post, but I did. And I probably won't leave for good like I want to right now, but don't expect me to care anymore. I've given far too much of my life's energy to this and I can't take feeling like less than a person by coming here daily to be cut down.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
rolotomasi99
Associate
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:13 pm
Location: n/a
Contact:

Postby rolotomasi99 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:16 pm

Since this thread has become a discussion of Bigelow's entire career and talent as it is a discussion of her winning a particular award for a particular film, I thought some might be interested in reading an artile from Slate about the four action movie rules Bigelow always breaks. A very interesting read.

http://www.slate.com/id/2221364/
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow


Return to “82nd Nominations and Winners”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest