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Thursday, February 18, 2016

2016 Oscar Preview: Best Director


- Lenny Abrahamson (Room)
- Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant)
- Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
- Adam McKay (The Big Short)
- George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)

SHOULD BE HERE: Ryan Coogler (Creed)

Ryan Coogler took a franchise that was dead in the water, and turned it into a (semi) fresh story that not only pleased the Rocky faithful, but also casual fans like myself and my wife who have seen one Rocky film between the two of us. It was expertly directed (I mean, that first fight scene alone should have forced Coogler on this list) well-acted, and told a tight and entraining story that pleased all. Ryan Coogler doesn’t deserve an Oscar nomination because he’s black, he deserved a nomination because he directed the hell out of Creed.


LENNY ABRAHAMSON: I personally am not the biggest fan of Room, but I love this nomination. Room was not this big budget film with a crazy huge Oscar campaign behind it; it was just this tiny little film that people loved once they were able to see it. I love it when the Oscars choose these Indie films like Room to help them expand to a broader audience. If you liked Room like I know a lot of people did, then you have to give Abrahamson his just due.

ALEJANDRO G. INARRITU: Film critic Scott Tobias mocked The Revenant’s Oscar narrative about how arduous the filming of the movie was. It’s a perfect encapsulation about how silly any sort of Oscar narratives are. For starters, it’s not like The Revenant has been the only picture in the history of movie making to have a tough shoot. Secondly, The Revenant isn’t even the only movie that had an incredibly tough shoot in 2015. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga famously had an incredibly difficult shoot and all sorts of problems filming Beasts of No Nation and you don't hear him bitching about itInarritu probably did have a tough job, but big whoop. Further, Inarritu's grandness and boldness of The Revenant doesn’t make up for the flaws with the story and acting.

TOM McCARTHY: McCarthy’s direction most certainly isn’t the flashiest, but it’s absolutely one of the best of the year. Spotlight is a relatively simple and straightforward story from a narrative’s perspective, but the direction is so spectacular precisely because McCarthy steps out of the way and gives the actors and the story room to breathe. McCarthy also takes a relatively dull subject (ask any current or former newspaper journalist and ask them if their lives are so great they should make a movie about it) and turns it into a fascinating and engaging tale that’s both plot and character driven.

ADAM McKAY: Inarritu may have had a physically tough time on his set, but I think Adam McKay had the hardest job out of any director on this list. It’s way easier to make epics entertaining when you had the budgets than Inarritu and George Miller had, but it is a lot more difficult to make a movie that’s essentially an Econ lecture entertaining. While McKay did have enjoyable and sympathetic characters to follow, these characters were not perfectly shaded in, and there are still many points of the film, even with these characters, that’s still a chore. Yet the man who made Anchorman was the perfect man for the job and pulled off this tough feat flawlessly.

GEORGE MILLER: I personally did not like Mad Max: Fury Road, but I respected the hell out of it. It’s tough to say a director deserves a nomination when the final product failed to suck me in and entertain me as a viewer, but I think Miller might be the exception. The focus on story, character, and practical effects really shines through in this chase scene epic, and I can’t argue with how it revolutionized the action genre. I just wished the film did a better job sucking me in in the first act so I cared about the second and third act as well.


- Ryan Coogler (Creed)
- Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson (Anomalisa)
- Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
- Adam McKay (The Big Short)
- Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)

WHO SHOULD WIN: Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
WHO WILL WIN: Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant)



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