Friday, April 30, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Director

This is as much a shot in the dark as predicting Best Picture, except that I only have five chances instead of ten to peg a future Oscar nominee.

In keeping with my sneaky, probably way-off hunch that The Tree of Life is gonna be a major player, I may as well go all the way and jot down the seclusive Terrence Malick. The Academy fell hard for The Thin Red Line, even though it won zero of its seven nominations, and if The Tree of Life delivers on all fronts, then it follows that he would find himself nominated for pulling it all together.

Projecting my high expectations for a movie onto my advance predictions always leads to disappointment, but I plan to milk the hype of Inception for as long as I possibly can. Christopher Nolan, notoriously shut out for The Dark Knight, has paid his dues and is ready for some much-deserved Oscar love. Do Academy members feel the same way?

If The Fighter hits just the right note between tough film-making and Oscar-friendly material, we may see David O'Russell nominated for the first time. Granted, he's not the sort of director one usually expects to nominated for Academy Awards, but there's at least one nominee every year who seems cut from a different cloth (ie: Tarantino, Fincher, The Coens).

They usually make room for the director of a lighter film here. Only God knows which film that will be this year, but as I've been filling this generic dramedy spot thus far with Sundance darling The Kids Are All Right, I suppose Lisa Cholodenko is the natural choice to represent indie film-making in the Director race.

Finally, Peter Weir could have a winner on his hands with The Way Back, assuming it (A) gets released in time, (B) appeals to the Academy's more traditional sensibilities, and (C) doesn't suck. Given that it's Weir at the helm, I'd say the risk of it sucking is pretty low.

Predicted 5:
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O'Russell, The Fighter
Peter Weir, The Way Back

Also consider: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan, James L. Brooks for How Do You Know, Sopphia Coppola for Somewhere, David Fincher for The Social Network, Tom Goldwyn for Betty Anne Waters, Tom Hooper for The King's Speech, John Cameron Mitchell for Rabbit Hole, Ryan Murphy for Eat, Pray, Love, Robert Redford for The Conspirator, Ridley Scott for Robin Hood.

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