In this series Team Experience sounds off (individually) on their favorite fringe awards contenders. Here's Michael Cusumano on Edgar Wright
Four features into his career it is clear that Edgar Wright is building a body of work that will end up ranking with the greats of film comedy. It is time the Academy recognizes this fact (and their aversion to comedy) and honors The World’s End, his best film to date, with a nomination for Best Director.
Stop and consider everything Wright's latest film accomplishes, all while staying as light and zippy as classic screwball by the likes of Hawks or Sturges. The World’s End is simultaneously a genre spoof, a farce, a biting social satire, a character study, and a moving comedy about middle-aged friendship. And above all else it’s funny. Wright keeps the pace jumping throughout and unlike other directors he never sacrifices the integrity of the material for a gag.
If the fact that Wright deserves it on the merits isn’t enough to sway voters how about nominating him because of the message it sends about the state of comedy in 2013. Look at the top box office comedy hits for the year. It’s an embarrassment. Identity Thief, Hangover, Grown Ups. Even the few bright spots like The Heat or This is the End still exhibit a “Who cares?” attitude about visuals and screenplay structure and are content to lean on the charisma of the stars and coast on the fundamentals.
Edgar Wright, on the other hand, holds his film to a standard as high as any prestige Oscar bait and he is in control of every element of every frame of this baby. Everyone is rowing in the same direction on The World’s End, from the quicksilver editing to the witty production design to the cast, including stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost whom Wright guides to career-best performances. That is the stuff of which Best Director nominations should be made.