Best pictures cannot become best pictures without the talents of a visionary behind the camera. This year's crop of directing talent is certainly no exception. That's not to say I agree with every nomination on this list, but each made significant contributions to the world of cinema in the past year.
Best DirectorWoody Allen - Midnight In Paris Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist Terrence Malick - The Tree Of Life Alexander Payne - The Descendants Martin Scorsese - Hugo Of all the best picture nominees, The Descendants was my favorite. The story resonated with me, connecting on every emotional level. What I felt however, was precipitated mostly by the terrific script and the brilliant acting that brought it all to life. It didn't strike me as a great achievement in directing. It was a flick that sort of ran itself. Point the camera in the right direction and let the on screen talent do what they do. I know it's far more complicated than that, but for me, Alexander Payne isn't quite worthy of this nod, especially over notable snub Nicholas Winding-Refn, whose work on Drive was nothing short of a masterpiece. Payne's reward will come in the form of a well deserved Best Adapted Screenplay award. Woody Allen is a bit of an enigma. You either love him or...well...don't love him. I thought Midnight In Paris was a lovely film. The shots of Paris were gorgeous. I really don't think this was Allen's best work though. That might be partly my issue in trying to reconcile that fact that Hansel from Zoolander was his staring actor. Either way, I don't see Woody pulling this off. Where do I begin with Terrence Malick and Tree Of Life? When I got past the 20 minute high school, National Geographic circle of life lesson, I found a beautifully constructed story about a post 1950's family struggling to coexist. At the end of the two hours, I felt like I hadn't discovered a thing. This film was like abstract art. Apparently it was up to me to figure out what Malick was doing. I guess I'm not that sophisticated. Plus, art bores me. This nomination is a critics choice. Malick need not abandon his reclusive nature to show face in Hollywood on Oscar night. He won't be making any speeches. It's an absolute farce that Martin Scorsese has only one Oscar to his credit with the filmography he boasts. What he did with Hugo was like watching a mother holding a new born infant. His love of classic cinema was present upon every screen. His use of the 3-D medium goes unrivaled to date, with only James Cameron's Avatar being allowed into the debate. This was Marty's love letter to filmmaking and we should all be grateful to him for sharing the experience with us. If he hadn't won for The Departed a few years back, I'd say he was a stone cold lock for this award. As it stands, he's probably a modest runner up. I'd love to see him pull this out, but I really think he's up again a freight train of hype that won't be stopped. That brings up to first time nominee Michel Hazanavicius and his bold little silent film, The Artist. I'm not a big rah rah guy for The Artist. In no way do I think it's a bad film. For what it is, it's actually quite brilliant. I just don't care. Maybe it was the love story. Maybe the silent film would work better for me in a comedic setting, ala Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. Regardless, my first thought after the film was, "Wow, I'm glad I didn't live in this age of cinema." Now certainly after some reflection I saw the beauty of the film. I wasn't in love with it, but I respected the hell out of it. This was a ballsy film to make. I don't even know how one pitches the idea of a black and white silent film to a 21st century producer. It was a risk that paid off for sure. More often than not, the best picture will pull along it's director in the wave of momentum, and I see that happening here. Should Win - Martin ScorseseWill Win - Michel Hazanavicius So it's no secret what flick I'm going to pick to win the Oscar, but that doesn't mean I'm going to like it. Check back tomorrow to see what film I think should win and what films I think don't even belong in the conversation. Please feel free to comment below.
Previously;Oscars 2012 Picks & Predictions: Best Acting CategoryOscars 2012 Picks & Predictions: Best Supporting Category
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