Monday, May 4, 2009

"One Category at a Time" - Best Director

Getting down to my final predictions. I know I’ve put these off later than last year, but I wanted to spread them out until the summer movie season starts and I can start cranking out more reviews. Anywho, Best Director predictions:

In keeping with the theory that Clint Eastwood’s Nelson Mandela film will be a major Oscar player, I’d be a fool not to save him a spot on my list of guesses. Last year’s absence from the party should not be construed as a disappearance of the Eastwood love. He’s still one of the most liked and respected working directors in the business. Besides, the Academy may be eager to welcome him back after neither of his two film’s last year gained any traction.

Stephen Soderbergh’s epic Che feature just couldn’t catch on last year. Say what you will about the film, but Soderbergh’s camera work and direction is always solid. With a more conventional (marketable) project like The Informant, he could return to the form that earned him two nominations in 2001 for Traffic and Erin Brokovich. The film may not be as strong a Best Picture contender as others, but I’m willing to take a chance on Soderbergh for a lone director nomination.

I’m looking forward to Michael Mann’s Public Enemies. The film looks thoroughly entertaining and gritty enough to earn Mann a nomination, so long as its summer-movie status doesn’t induce too much Academy bias. It’s worth noting that Mann as only ever directed one film that received significant Oscar attention (The Insider), but a slick period thriller could be just what he needs to make it back to the Kodak.

There’s usually a slot for a smaller independent picture in both Best Picture and Director. This year It’ll probably a movie nobody’s heard of yet, but for the sake of naming a title, I’m sticking my neck out for the already-acclaimed British film An Education, which has strong chances for acting and writing nominations. I’m putting down Lone Scherfig to gain an unlikely nomination.

Rob Marshall is still a bit of a question mark for me. His direction and choreography of Chicago was most deserving of the nomination he got, but his follow-up Memoirs of a Geisha was a weak effort though still aesthetically gorgeous. Which Rob Marshall will direct the upcoming Nine? Being a Broadway vet, we know he’s good with musicals, but will his interpretation of such complex source material strike a chord with Oscar?

Predicted five:
Clint Eastwood - Nelson Mandela
Michael Mann - Public Enemies
Rob Marshall - Nine
Lone Scherfig - An Education
Stephen Soderbergh - The Informant

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