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« When All Acting Nominees Come From Best Pictures... | Main | 14 Days Til Oscar: "All About Titanic" »
Sunday
Feb162014

Podcast: Our Favorite Films by This Year's "Best Directors"

It's a special edition of the Podcast. And by special I don't mean "filled with sound problems for which I apologize" but that we're not staying in the now but looking back. Joe and Nick join Nathaniel to discuss this year's Best Director Nominees... but not for their new films. We each choose our favorite film by the five artists nominated.

We throw in a few Oscar party food tips as well...

00:00 Oscar Fatigue and Scheduling
02:30 The Films of Steve McQueen
07:45 The Films of Alexander Payne 
16:00 The Films of Alfonso Cuarón 
20:25 The Films of David O. Russell
28:30 The Films of Martin Scorsese 
39:30 Tangent: The Departed and Modern Day Scorsese
43:00 Oscar Parties - Do We Go? Do We Have Them?
47:00 Choosing Oscar Party Food Items

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments! Hunger, Shame, I Heart Huckabees, Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambíen, 

Director Filmographies

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Reader Comments (34)

I don't see the download thing. Is it just me?

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Not the i-tunes link. The regular download I mean.

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

A great Oscar party game is "Oscar Bingo". basically what Joe describes as the xyz game. It makes the Oscar fun for everyone, including those that wouldn't normally pay attention. Last year, some of the ones were "someone trips on dress" "presenter stumbles while reading TelePrompTer" "host laughs at own joke". It results in cheers throughout the telecast.

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJtagliere

Black and White cookies are my favorite heeeeeeey!

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann

Love the idea of picking favorites for each director. Just pushed five movies to the top of my Netflix queue to check out (or revisit). You guys do a wonderful job every week, so thank you for the hard work. (Since I enjoyed it so much, can I request Katey add her picks for each director here in the comments? Pretty please?)

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

sad man -== sorry. i forgot it. fixed now

February 17, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Thanks!

My favorite Cuaron movie is by far Children of Men. I was just amazed by it on every level and I agree that I find it to be a perfect movie.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Favorites

DOR
-I Heart Huckabees

McQueen
-Hunger

Payne
-Election

Scorsese
-The King of Comedy/Mean Streets/Taxi Driver

Cuaron
-Children of Men/Y Tu Mama Tambien

Oh Joe, I disagree with Mulligan with Inside Llewyn Davis. I think the performance was not as up to par (it's fine, anybody could have done it) as say Jeanine Serralles, who is also the female presence in Llewyn's life as his sister who is equally frustrated, annoyed, angered by him but still has this undeniable history with the character. Serralles feels lived in. Mulligan feels like she could be playing this woman who feels like she does not have to play by the rules of her male dominated profession and freely launches at Llewyn. She's supposed to represent the woman who is Llewyn's match, as in equally abrasive. I just don't buy it. She has a pretty voice though and it was one of my favorite films of the year, so it's a current obsession but I would say she stands out as weak link. Yes, even more than the Hedlund and Goodman car ride. At least, to me, that represented something mythological and interesting about past people of cultural 'scenes' (jazzmen and beatniks) who are now lost travelers.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

A great listen as always!
Favorite Scorsese (this is tough): New York, New York (alt: Taxi Driver)
Russell: Flirting With Disaster
McQueen: 12 Years a Slave
Cuarón: Children of Men
Payne: About Schmidt

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Oh, I want to play!
Scorsese: The Age of Innocence
McQueen: 12 Years a Slave
Payne: Election
Cuaron: Great Expectations
Russell: American Hustle

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Scorsese - The Age Of Innocence

Russell - I Heart Huckabees

Cuaron - Children Of Men

Payne - Nebraska

McQueen - None of them!

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

Cuaron: Children of Men

McQueen: 12 Years a Slave

O.Russell: Flirting With Disaster

Payne: Election

Scorsese: Goodfellas

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

Cuaron: Children of Men

McQueen: None (Shame, relatively).

Russell: Huckabees

Payne: Election

Scorcese: The Age of Innocence (runner-up: The King of Comedy).

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Hooray! People are playing along!!!

I second EuroCheese's call that Katey add her picks to the Comments, or at the beginning of the next podcast.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Cuaron: Y Tu Mama Tambien (ALT: Children of Men)

McQueen: 12 Years a Slave (ALT: Hunger)

O. Russell: Flirting with Disaster (ALT: I Heart Huckabees)

Payne: Sideways (ALT: Election)

Scorcese: Taxi Driver (ALT: Mean Streets)

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Real Robert A.

Not only my favorites (maybe not best?) from each director, but also from top to bottom in preference.

1 - Children of Y Tu Mama Tambien (2 undeniable masterpieces)
2 - King of Comedy (Unique and brilliant)
3 - Election (One of the best screenplays ever, period.)
4 - Flirting with Disaster (he is the most annoying current director with his new "style" in his last 3 movies - so distracting!)
5 - Shame (?) - I'm a fan of 12 Years a Slave and I think it should win, but his 2 previous movies, while admirable, have left me cold emotionally. He is certainly a better director than Russell or even Payne, but only now has produced something that brought together all his talents.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Goodbar

My answers for now:

McQueen - I really liked Hunger, but I loved Shame

Payne - Election, and Reese should have won her Oscar for it (giving Actress 2005 to Keira); need to see Citizen Ruth

Cuaron - Yeah, I refuse to choose between Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men, since both are incredible (but Gravity is my favorite)

Russell - Part of the reason I love American Hustle so much is that Russell was always problematic for me, so I don't have an answer. I'm revisiting I Heart Huckabees and Three Kings though, and I haven't seen Spank the Monkey yet.

Scorsese - I have some major gaps here (most notably Mean Streets, New York, New York and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore), but as much as I loved Taxi Driver when I finally saw it recently, I still have to go with The Departed. Incredible work all around there and it was so wonderfully surprising. Really happy he won his Oscar for it.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I love games :)

Scorsese: Taxi Driver. Boring answer, I know. Like Joe, I saw this for the first time fairly recently (like, within the last five years) and I was amazed by how it met and exceeded expectations. I have a soft spot for Bringing out the Dead which I think gets my awarded for most underrated within the director's filmography. I have had whiplash re: Wolf of Wall Street where I have real affection for it after subsequent viewings. And given my adverse reaction to it the first time, I'd recommend a re-watch...if you can stand it. It is long and time is not eternal. But yeah...I have a late Scorsese problem too. Beyond impressive formal mechanics, The Aviator just seems dead in the nethers to me and (small thing, I know) the casting of Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner drove me up the fricking wall. There's almost an infinite well of brown-haired actresses in Hollywood and you go with her? Granted, the casting of Kate Beckinsale in almost everything drives me up the wall, so I concede that she's an actress who I maybe don't get. I love The Departed, but Hugo felt like his Polar Express, honestly where I just couldn't get into it and the whimsy felt really forced and the whole thing is just...garish in retrospect. And everything Nick says re: The Wolf of Wall Street being a not well-made movie, I think that even more about Gangs of New York which I used to regard as a mixed bag. But a recent rewatch just makes me feel like...it's not even well-made. There are weird edits up and down that movie and any actor who's not Daniel Day-Lewis (even DiCaprio) it's like Scorsese decided not to direct them. I kind of can't believe that thing roped down 10 Academy Award Nominations.

Payne: Election, with a nod to Sideways, which I also love. Other than some sequences in About Schmidt, which I think really work, I don't really have much use for Payne beyond this. I think Election is really kind to its characters, even Tracy.

Russell: This is trickier for me because I Heart Huckabees is probably my favorite, but I think The Fighter is his best made film. I too have never not liked one of his films. I also have a deep affection for Three Kings, which my friends and cut school to sneak into (it was R...we were 14 and we bought tickets for Elmo in Grouchland then pulled the theater switcheroo). Three Kings was seminal because we all went in expecting a totally different movie than what we got and we all loved it. Looking back, I probably have a more tempered view of it, but I like it so much. But, yeah...Huckabees is the tops in terms of sheer enjoyability. I also think, outside of Mulholland Drive it's the best thing Naomi Watts has ever done. It's the only performance I've seen of hers that comes close to displaying the range and the versatility demonstrated in Mulholland Drive, even if she's obviously given less to do. Also, Shania.

McQueen: I love all of his films, kind of unashamedly (no pun intended). That being said, it means something that 12 Years a Slave is clearly his best, by a pretty decisive margin given that his first two films are so great. Excluding his current entry, I'm going to have to go with Shame, which I found slightly more engaging and cohesive than Hunger, even though I think Fassbender is better in Hunger than he is in Shame.

Cuaron: Y Tu Mama Tambien...? I guess? I love it, but the fight between Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men is a pretty intense one for me. I'll say it's a tie, then. I know how ties are sanctioned and encouraged by The Film Experience.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Pretentious Know it All

Probably my favorite podcast so far!!! Loved it. Keep it up guys (+ Invisible Woman)!

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterT-Bone

In honor of this podcast, I gave I Heart Huckabees another go-around last night. I profoundly did not get it when I saw it in high school, and after hearing all three of you and most of the comments here espouse it as DOR's best, I figured it was time. I was really hostile for the first twenty minutes, and then I don't even know what happened but by the time Naomi Watts got around to FUCKABEES I was crying laughing. I also saw Flirting With Disaster for the first time this week so David O. Russell and I are clearly having a moment right now.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

This is a fun Oscar-related diversion, much appreciated when everyone else is just recapping recent developments.

Also lol at Nick "I feel like if the world was what it is now when Hitchcock was around, would I be listening to Twitter tell me 'you know what's amazing is Torn Curtain'. 'I think his best movie is 'Topaz'."

My picks:
Cuaron: Children of Men
McQueen: Shame
Payne: Election
Russell: I Heart Huckabee's
Scorsese: Taxi Driver, also second Nick's love of Cape Fear

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Rebecca -- that's my favorite part of the podcast, too!

February 17, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

What a fabulous podcast, the only thing missing was Our Dear Katey. Loved the bit about tasteless Oscar party stuff involving 12 Years A Slave LOL. That sounds like a Sarah Silverman gag.

A good thing about this Best Director lineup is that there's not one person here who's a decidedly awful or at least questionable director, they've all struck cinematic gold at one point or another. At least for me, anyways.

McQueen - Hunger. Runner-up: 12 Years A Slave
Payne - Citizen Ruth, Election and "14e arrondissement" in a threeway tie.
Cuarón - Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children Of Men, both for different reasons. MOAR.
Russell - Three Kings, probably. I've seen The Fighter and Huckabees more tho.
Scorsese - I love what he did with The Age of Innocence, as a fan of that novel. Also kinda love major parts of The Aviator. But yeah, Taxi Driver.

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

This was great you guys. So much fun and also insightful and nostalgic. That mention of “The Departed” instantly evoked the scene and both my own and the surrounding audiences’ reaction. And major LOL moments re: ‘bad gays’ and ‘break glass in case of emergency host’.

And here’s mine for the director’s best. I also added my favorite performance they elicited…

12 Years a Slave / Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Sideways/ Madsen, Sideways
Yu Mama Tambien/ Matthews, A Little Princess
Taxi Driver / De Niro, Taxi Driver
American Hustle / Bale, The Fighter

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan S.

Oh I can do this too! I'll go in the order you guys did.

MCQUEEN: "Shame"
PAYNE: "Election"
CUARON: "Children of Men"
RUSSELL: "The Fighter"
SCORSESE: "Raging Bull"

Caveats: I haven't seen "Citizen Ruth," "The King of Comedy," or "I Heart Huckabees." I can't stand "Sideways," and I have issues with all of McQueen's filmography, but "Shame" is the one I "enjoyed" the best out of the three options.

Great podcast BTW!

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterReynolds

My beauties,

Please remember that in Spanish titles only the first word begins with a capital letter as well as any proper name, therefore it's "Y tu mamá también".

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Jean Brodie

Movie nerd games! Yay!

McQueen: Hunger
Payne: Sideways
Cuaron: Y tu mama tambien
Russell: I Heart Huckabees
Scorsese: The Last Temptation of Christ

And if i had to rank those five movies, it'd go Scorsese, Cuaron, Russell, McQueen, Payne.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

you guys killed it! :)

McQueen: 12 Years a Slave
Payne: Sideways
Cuaron: A Little Princess
Russell: I Heart Huckabees
Scorsese: Taxi Driver

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob

McQueen: 12 Years a Slave

Payne: Sideways

Cuaron: Children of Men

Russell: I Heart Huckabees

Scorsese: Taxi Driver

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

@MissJeanBrodie - Thanks! I did not know.

February 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

i didn't know that either and it always bugged me on imdv that the titles weren't capitalized.

February 18, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Ditto for German on the capitalization, btw.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

French and Italian too.

February 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

so....what did happen to jessica campbell?

February 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

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