Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sept(like) Oscar Buzz and Predictions - Director

     This year seems to be producing an unusual number of films that are enjoying widespread critical acclaim:  Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Dark Knight Rises, Moonrise Kingdom, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Amore, The Sessions, The Master, Middle of Nowhere, Lincoln, and Life of Pi all fit this mold and we still have Les Miserables, Flight, Django Unchained, The Promised Land, Hitchcock, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Zero Dark Thirty looming as giant question marks.  As such, the top prizes seem far more wide open than normal this late into film festival season.  To me, this also makes things MUCH more exciting.  I'm not getting bored with this year's race yet.  It keeps getting better...

Best Director
      As always, previous rankings will appear in parenthesis.  The buzz would have us think...
  1.(2) Paul Thomas Anderson - The Master
  2. Ben Affleck - Argo
  3.(1) Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
  4.(4) Tom Hooper - Les Miserables
  5. David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook

  6.(9) Ang Lee - Life of Pi
  7.(6) Katheryn Bigelow - Zero Dark Thirty
  8.(3) Quentin Tarantino - Django Unchained
  9. Ben Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
  10.(8) Joe Wright - Anna Karenina 
  Leaving the Rankings: Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises), Baz Luhrman (The Great Gatsby), Roger Michell (Hyde Park On Hudson)
      I, however, am seeing things a bit more like this...
  1. Ben Affleck - Argo...This film is rapidly becoming the best reviewed mainstream effort of the year.  The momentum is with Affleck career wise.  He's done a brilliant job of recreating himself from a failing actor to a successful director.  Gone Baby Gone was well received and exceeded all expectations.  Then The Town became a serious contender for a slot on the Best Picture list but barely failed to make the cut.  Now, with Argo, Affleck has finally delivered on his early promise in a way that clearly transcends his previous efforts.  The only thing is...
  2. Tom Hooper - Les Miserables...The best musical never adapted to film comes to the big screen helmed by returning Best Director champ Tom Hooper with an incredible cast singing live.  Unless he just got it wrong, all wrong, this has to be the one to beat.
  3. Ang Lee - Life of Pi...This much lauded picture seems to stretch the boundaries of storytelling both visual and narrative in a way that is bound to impress many in this branch.  This would be the Oscar winning director's third film he would be recognized in this manner for.
  4. Paul Thomas Anderson - The Master...I think that ultimately this film may prove a little too weird to TAKE the top prize, but it is still rather likely in my mind that the director will find a nomination here.  Amazingly, this would only be his second nomination in this category.
  5. Ben Zeitlen - Beasts of the Southern Wild...This film's buzz has waned a bit for the moment, but I can't help but think that a whole lot of new people are going to be exposed to this brilliant little gem when the DVD drops.  I find it ingenious.  If the Academy honors one director who came out of nowhere this year, it will be Zeitlin.

  6. David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook...Considering how badly Harvey will want the AMPAS to give him a win this year, maybe I should trade Russell and Anderson.
  7. Kathryn Bigelow - Zero Dark Thirty...The more I see of the promotional materials, the more excited I get about this film.  If Bigelow knocks it out of the park, it's hard to imagine Oscar not giving a second nod to the only woman ever to win this category.
  8. Gus Van-Sant - The Promised Land...I just have a feeling about this one.  It's been a while since the twice nominated director made it to the big show, but I still think he's got some great rabbits left to pull.
  9. Steven Spielberg - Lincoln...The film has gotten good early reviews (certainly indicating a higher overall quality than War Horse) and will probably get a Best Picture nod, but with six nominations (two of which he won) under his belt, has Mr. Spielberg really exceeded any one's expectations THAT greatly with this movie?
  10. The Coen Brothers - Inside Llewyn Davis...Because it would be foolish to ever count them out when no one has even seen the film.
Related posts:  Related Articles: Sept. Oscar Buzz and Predictions - The Techs: Part 1, Part 2, The Genres, Screenplays, Supporting Performers, Best Actor and Actress, Foreign Films, June Oscar Buzz and Predictions - The Big Two, Best That the Summer Wields? (Beasts of the Southern Wilds review)

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