This year, for me anway, is a pretty exciting year for the Oscars. The best director category usually has at least one of my favorite directors hanging around. Last year, we had Clint Eastwood and the long long overdue win for Mr. Scorsese. The year before held Steven Spielberg and the win for Ang Lee and the year before that had Clint Eastwood narrowly defeating Scorsese again, with a little hello nod for a hugely underrated director, Alexander Payne.
And this year’s excitement is no different. We have two really great nominees that are the present and future of the film directing world. The Coen Brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson. Sometimes I really do feel like a total tool when I praise Anderson, because sooooo many “film kids” just crap all over themselves because of his work. It’s enough to hold a personal bias against him just based on wanting freedom from the populous. But I cannot deny what a major talent he really is. His career, the Kubrick-ian length between movies aside, will be studied and talked about for generations. The man has got talent, and even a blind man could see that. There Will Be Blood is a stunning achievement on massive levels, but it is not for everyone, just as most great pictures are. He has made the best picture of the year, no doubt, but will he win? I’m doubtful. Personally, I think the academy will see the years and years of amazing cinematic works he will create, and will probably never allow him to win. So many great directors go unnoticed from the Oscar, it actually amazed me that they gave one to Scorsese. Though, if the Departed (probably one of his least worthy Oscar films) had done poorly at the box office, I don’t think he would have won. But all that aside, I really don’t think they will hand over the gold to Anderson, but I would be more than happy to eat my words. Look for him to win an honarary Oscar in the year 2032.
The Coen Brothers have also made some of the greatest pieces of movie art that anyone could hope would be made. The fact that they don’t have at LEAST 5 other best directing nominations under their belt baffles me to no end. If I ever made a movie like Miller’s Crossing or The Man Who Wasn’t There, I would just retire because I would know that I could never top it, but they have and more. If anyone DESERVES to win the Oscar this year, it’s Joel and Ethan. They have churrned out the quirkiest and most entertaining movies time in and time out, with nothing to really show for it. Some praise for Fargo, and that’s about all. These guys are pretty much more or less the most sure fire good movie makers of our time. Sure, some are not as good as others (I’mm looking at you Intolerable Cruelty), but ALL are watchable in the elast. My vote goes to the Coens this year.
The other nominees are mostly promising newcomers. Tony Gilroy for his first film Michael Clayton is a good start. Though I saw the film and found it decent but lackluster, I will admit that he does have great talent and he will go places.
Julian Schnabel for Diving Bell and The Butterfly. I haven’t seen this movie, but I wouldn’t be suprised if it snags Best Cinematography because if the trailer is any indication, it looks beautiful.
My vote for the “What the hell?” Oscar would have to be Jason Reitman. Juno wasn’t too good, so I’m not too sure why he snubbed out people like Ridley Scott or David Fincher for the nom, but power to him. To me, he will always be remembered as the snot nosed little punk from Ghostbusters 2 that tells Dan Ackroyd “My dad says you guys are full of crap.” Way to go on your 1st Oscar nomination brace-face.
Anyway…my vote goes to the Coens, but I wouldn’t be too shocked to see Julian Schnabel (the Golden Globe winner) or P.T.A. come out of nowhere and take the gold. Good luck to all!