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Entries in Directors (279)

Sunday
Jan302011

Hooper Wins DGA. In Other News, The Fat Lady Sings

Who'da thunk it? I realize some people predicted that Tom Hopper would win the Directors Guild of America prize for The King's Speech but these predictions were surely made in panic, given the obvious Oscar love for the film on nomination morning. But I mean a week ago who would have suspected that his able direction of British actors  in a light royalty drama would be heading into the Oscars looking like a sweeper, even for direction, even with an overdue genuine giant of the industry leading  like David Fincher (The Social Network) leading up until now. Not me. I'll be the first to admit it.

I'll also come right out and say that I don't understand it. Fincher captured lightning in a bottle; Russell resuscitated a tired genre with humor, humanity and noisy originality; Nolan displayed skyscraper sized ambitions and vaulted technical obstacles; Aronofsky went for broke, chasing his ballerina's madness in his own inimitable way. What did the Director's Guild see in Hooper's work that surpassed these achievements? I'm genuinely curious.

The King's Speech is well directed so this isn't the travesty of a situation like Ron Howard beating four auteur legends for his own muddled work on A Beautiful Mind. But it's still... well... "people just love this film," one must admit, shrugging one's shoulders and calling it a year for a cute British triumph-over-personal-adversity film.

Next up: Winning SAG tonight (live blogging right here starting at 7 PM EST), BAFTA soon and then on to 8 or 9 Oscars apparently (sigh). The night we wait for all year just got super monotonous 28 whole days in advance.

Thursday
Jan202011

Director ≠ Picture. (And Other Theories)

One of the things that's most bothersome during awards season is the persistent notion that Best Direction must = Best Picture. There's a healthy bit of correlation of course but this is not how I view film so it's different for my own awardage. All of the top 24 films I covered in my year end review have have strong direction of course. But Direction, like acting or writing or editing or whatnot is not always the most important element, auteur theory be damned. Some films achieve greatness through a consistent cumulation of "good" efforts across the board, others through one or two specific "Great" elements, some through strength of story, theme and plotting.

Other times the director is the principle reason that a movie is great and the auteur theory works just fine. Two examples this year: David O. Russell (The Fighter) and Jacques Audiard (Un Prophete) are both working in excessively familiar genres yet they're finding fresh new pockets of life. They have such great eyes and formidable guiding visions. So I compose my directorial list each year separate from my Best Picture list and though there's a healthy bit of correlation (7/10) the order is definitely different and these would be my top ten players (alpha order)

  • Andrea Arnold for Fish Tank
  • Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan
  • Jacques Audiard for Un Prophete
  • David Fincher for The Social Network
  • Luca Guadagnino for I Am Love
  • Bong Joon-Ho for Mother
  • David Michôd for Animal Kingdom 
  • Roman Polanski for The Ghost Writer
  • David O. Russell for The Fighter
  • Lee Unkrich for Toy Story 3

So here's my nominees!

I've also posted my Screenplay choices. I was torn as to what to do with Toy Story 3. I don't really think of sequels as  adapted despite the trending and campaigning that way with Oscars. If sequels are adapted than aren't all original screenplays that are inspired by true stories or real life characters or that riff on other stories adapted? I considered letting it slide since Toy Story 3 needs the other two films to exist. It's not really a stand-alone. But then that we be true of all sequels and all movies based on true stories or inspired by actual characters and so on and, well, it's a slippery slope and virtually 85%-90% of movies become "adapted". So I've stuck to the original definition. Adapted meaning based on previously published work

Wednesday
Jan122011

Follow the Red Carpet Road

Just for kicks -- synchronized kicks while singing "We're Off to See The Wizard" -- I've been casting some of this year's behind the scenes Oscar hopefuls as denizens of the that magical land Over the Rainbow. It's less gay than it sounds, I promise. I blame Hailee Steinfeld's pigtails for the inspiration. It's all her fault.

Find out which character each Best Director candidate plays and help me cast the other players. Read the article at Tribeca Film

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