Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The Best Director race is a tricky one this year. Let's start by weeding out the least likely candidates. Juno's director, Jason Reitman, is the youngest of the five and is nominated for his second feature and, though he is a second-generation director, hasn't earned the standing that all the other nominees enjoy. Next is Michael Clayton's Tony Gilroy - a more established prescence, if not a household name. The real accomplishment of his movie is the writing and acting and I think his chances are slim for Best Director. Next is the spoiler - Julian Schnabel, for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. His is the only movie here not also nominated for Best Picture, but many critics agree that his direction stands out so much that he may win despite a relative lack of nominations backing him up. Conversely, the Cohen Brothers and P.T. Anderson have received nominations across the board for No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood, respectively. Their high-nomination count makes their movies the front runners and therefore, puts them in the lead for Best Director. It's a tough call, but I'm going to pick the Cohens. They are seen as very prolific, artistic-minded directors and are the "elder statesmen" among their competition. Voters often reward not just the nominated movie, but the body of work that backs it up and I think that will be the case this year. By the way, if they win, this will be the second time that the Best Director award goes to two directors for the same film. The only other time was in 1961 when Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins shared the award for West Side Story.