Monday, January 13, 2014

Scott Predicts Best Director Oscar Nominations

Scott wraps up his series on Oscar nomination predictions with analysis of whom he think will be showing up on the Best Director ballot this Thursday.  If you missed the previous installments then be sure to check out his pieces on Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.

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Today’s Predictions – Best Director

Last but not least is the category of Best Director, which is one that will see some very big names battle it out for potential spots on the nomination list. They represent a wide range of movies, and all show talent in telling tales in their unique and personal ways. This was not an easy prediction list to compile, I will tell you that right now.

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave – It would be an injustice if McQueen was left out of the nominations as his movie, 12 Years a Slave, has been one of the most talked about and powerful films of the year.  McQueen gets the most out of the packed cast and is able to take the viewer on a journey that is both intellectually entertaining and emotionally stirring. While the content is disturbing and may ultimately keep some voters from selecting him as the year’s best director, it should not keep him from being selected as a nominee.

David O. Russell – American Hustle – Russell got this nomination last year for Silver Linings Playbook and two years before that with The Fighter. Russell pays special attention to creating multi-dimensional and interesting characters in his films, and so far it has paid off as American Hustle is gaining more and more awards season momentum. The fact that he has been nominated for his last two movies shows that people in the Academy like his style, and that should get him another chance this year.

Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity – He has been away from directing movies for a while, with his last film being Children of Men in 2006, which got three Oscar nominations but none for directing. This time out, Cuaron takes a very simple story and sets it against the backdrop of the loneliness of space in a film that is one of the best arguments for 3D that I have ever seen. People in the industry have fallen in love with this film, and Cuaron’s talents should receive recognition this year.

Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips – Greengrass was able to create an atmosphere of tension throughout this movie and told a great story of different captains who were brought together in the same situation. He creates feelings of vastness on the open ocean, but also those of claustrophobia from the stuffy confines of a life boat. Greengrass captured awe inspiring performances from Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, and he may just end up getting his second Oscar nomination for it.

Joel and Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis - These brothers and their movies have seen many nominations and victories over the years, with their last movie, True Grit, getting Best Director and Best Picture nominations in 2011. The competition in Best Director is very tight this year, and this is the selection that I feel the least confident in. However, their movie is a beautifully woven tapestry of images and music, and it is the kind of storytelling that could get them another nomination to add to the long list.

Sitting in the wings are some very talented and well known directors in Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Spike Jonze (Her). With Scorsese, it could be that the material of his movie is graphic to the point of putting off some voters. In the case of Jonze, the concept of the film (a man falls in love with his computer operating system) may be a little too far-fetched and hard for some voters to swallow. Other directors that could have a decent shot of getting in there are Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Stephen Frears (Philomena), John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks), and Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station).

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