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Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Oscar Preview: Best Director


- Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
- Alejadro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
- Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
- Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
- Morton Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

SHOULD BE HERE: David Fincher (Gone Girl)

James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, recently ripped the Best Director nominees, mainly the fact that Bennett Miller earned a nomination for Foxcatcher yet the film itself didn't get a Best Picture nomination. He had this to say about that selection:

The director has creative control of a film... although there are some great films made without great directors, it is impossible to distinguish that without being on the inside.

It's an extremely valid point, and frankly probably the correct outlook, but I also think how good the screenplay is factors a lot into how good a movie is. A great screenplay can make an average director look great (we'll see an example of that below) and a great director can make a terrible screenplay a palatable movie. That's what I think is the case with David Fincher and Gone Girl. I think the story is so bonkers and bat shit crazy that this flick would have been awful in the hands of a lesser director. In fact, if almost anybody else but Fincher directs this film it doesn't become the national sensation it did.

There's a baseball statistic called VORP: Value Over Replacement Player. Basically, this statistic measures how good a baseball player is compared to an average one at the same position. Mike Trout- the reigning AL MVP and best outfielder (and player) in the game- has an extremely high VORP because he's so much better than just an average outfielder. The reason I bring up this up is because that's how I look at some categories and nominations. In this case, Fincher's VORD (Value Over Replacement Director) is extremely high because almost no one else could have made Gone Girl. Only Fincher could have told a story as bananas as Gillian Flynn's story was and turned it into the really good movie it turned out to be.


RICHARD LINKLATER (BOYHOOD): Richard Linklater deserves all of the credit in the world for how masterful Boyhood turned out considering what an epic endeavor it turned out to be. The tough part for me is how to distinguish Director Linklater from Writer Linklater. Ultimately, I think almost the entire credit goes to Director Linklater, mainly because on paper this is a really boring and borderline bad movie, but on screen, it just works.

Click here to read my full review of Boyhood

ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU (BIRDMAN): Like Linklater, Inarritu also made a bold choice with his film Birdman as he chose to film the entire movie like it was one long take. It was extremely ambitious and considering how much critical outpouring there was over the film, he deserves this nomination. That being said, I think Inarritu's direction was the worst part of the film. The more and more I think about Birdman I think about what a genius script it is, but the reason I didn't like the movie was solely because of the experimental choices Inarritu made. If Inarritu had just filmed Birdman like a normal director then I think the film would have been the best of the year- or at least one I liked.

Click here to read my full review of Birdman

MORTEN TYLDUM (THE IMITATION GAME): Whether or not Morten Tyldum's nomination is deserving here depends on which theory of nominating you adhere to: The James Gunn Theory or The VORD Theory. If you believe in the VORD theory then Tyldum's nomination is ludicrous as any recent USC Film School grad could have done what Tyldum did. His direction is very paint-by-numbers and unimpressive. If you believe in what James Gunn had to say then Morten Tyldum should be the front runner to win because I freaking loved The Imitation Game. Me personally, I tend to sway towards the VORD Theory and I think the biggest reason The Imitation Game was so good was mainly because of Graham Moore's script.

Click here to read my full review of The Imitation Game

BENNETT MILLER (FOXCATCHER): Before Foxcatcher I was 110% on the Bennett Miller bandwagon. Capote was a very good first film with a distinct voice and tone and Moneyball was the best film of 2011 thanks to Miller's distinct stylings. I know Miller was hired on Moneyball as a Gun-For-Hire, but his serious tone and grittiness to the film worked so well that I can't imagine any other director doing what he did. Unfortunately, Miller brought none of his previous experience to Foxcatcher. The wrestling crime drama was supposed to be tense and awkward and uncomfortable, but it instead was just boring and not fun to watch. If Miller had made the film feel like its trailers then it would have actually been a good film.

Click here to read my full review of Foxcatcher

WES ANDERSON (THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL): Bald Bryan, occasional Adam Corolla co-host and the host of The Film Vault podcast, had this to say about The Grand Budapest Hotel, "Wes Anderson is the Tyler Perry for White People. The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson doing a parody of Wes Anderson.". I can't believe people like this movie. I've heard people say they don't like Wes Anderson but they liked The Grand Budapest Hotel which is absurd because his latest might be the most Wes Anderson-y film to date. There are certain people that have been working long enough that they eventually deserve recognition by The Academy but Anderson isn't one of those people- not until he can prove to us that he can make more than one style of film.


- Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
- Ava DuVernay (Selma)
- David Fincher (Gone Girl)
- James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

WHO SHOULD WIN (ACTUAL NOMINEES): Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
WHO WILL WIN: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)



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