Arguably the second-biggest category for the Oscars, this is a discussion of Best Director!
As usual, the Academy’s director nominations directly reflects the Best Picture category – the only difference is that Brooklyn’s John Crowley, Bridge of Spies’ Steven Spielberg and The Martian’s Ridley Scott all missed the jump.
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Speaking of Ridley Scott, that is the biggest ‘what the-‘ moment of the entire category. Yes his recent track-record is patchy at best, but The Martian was a monumental hit and return to form for the legendary director and for that he absolutely should have been given a nomination, particularly over Abrahamson (Spotlight) and McCarthy (Room).
Ryan Coogler, Creed
Plus, once again, Creed strikes out. After missing out on Best Picture it was unlikely to get a nom for Best Director, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t deserve it. Coogler’s fresh direction was arguably the main reason the movie was so good, and considering this was his breakout gig, that’s even doubly impressive. But I guess the Academy couldn’t see his raw talent thanks to their old mantra of ‘male and pale’.
My personal favourites
George Miller, Mad Max
Mad Max again. Not only has George Miller had a long and impressive career, the fact that Fury Road even got made was solely on him. The future masterpiece was stuck in limbo for years until Miller finally wrested it away from the grave and into the light. Not to mention his revolutionary take on visual story telling and perfect balance of special effects and jaw-dropping stunt work. Mix in the facts that the last three films he did prior to Fury Road was two movies about a tap-dancing penguin and Babe: Pig in the City, and the guy did all of this at 70 years old, and Miller deserves multiple awards for what he accomplished with Fury Road. Honestly he probably has a better chance to nab Best Director over Picture, but favourites Iñárritu and McKay loom large over this category.
Who will probably win
Chances are, its going to be one of the favourites who win. Although this is still one of the closest categories this year, betting pools have Iñárritu and McKay edging ahead of the competition.
To be honest, I’d be surprised if Iñárritu wins Best Director for a second year running. Not that I don’t think he deserves it (The Revenant is an incredibly impressive film) a director has only one back-to-back once before, that being John Ford, and that was 74 years ago. Could history be made? Possible, but unlikely.
McKay I’m conflicted on. While his management of the complex subject matter in The Big Short is impressive, his direction did seem to get too distracting and frustrating in several stretches of the film. Personally I think he deserves the nom, but not the win.
As for the final two of Abrahamson and McCarthy, I don’t think either deserve the win. While they both did an impressive job getting such great performances from their actors, the real stars are exactly that. The actors. Both of their films have a very restrained, traditional direction and don’t seem to offer anything particularly new. So while they both made incredible films, its the actors that should get the glory rather than the directors.
So Best Director could go in a whole host of different directions. The favourites McKay and Iñárritu could grab it, the left field choice of Miller could take everyone by surprise (even though he deserves it the most) or the unlikely candidates of Abrahamson and McCarthy could steal it away from more deserving directors. Either way, I just want Fury Road to get some glory. So desperately. But I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.