Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Best Director

The nominees for Best Director are James Cameron (Avatar), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Lee Daniels (Precious), and Jason Reitman (Up In the Air).  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we have the fourth woman and the second African-American Best Director nominees and the first ever divorced couple (Cameron and Bigelow) up for Best Director.  That may be a first in any category, but I'm too lazy to research it.

Here's my take: Up In the Air and Inglourious Basterds were great, stylish films and are the unmistakably unique products of their directors, but their strength lies more in their screenplays.  Daniels is the least-experienced director, though he shows a creative narrative skill.  Really, though, it's going to come down to Cameron and Bigelow.  On one side is a big technical production involving an army of actors, computer animators, and computer power and on the other is a relatively smaller, though more intense, action film that cuts to the core of a handful of characters.  Let's face a fact here: Avatar is not Titanic.  It may be the new highest-grossing movie ever, but I don't think Avatar has the same deep cultural impact and fervent support as Cameron's previous Oscar juggernaut.  It's sure to take a handful of technical awards, but I believe that the Academy will make some history and recognize The Hurt Locker for its direction.  Bigelow has already won nearly every critics' award and the all-important Directors' Guild award, making her the favorite for the Best Director Oscar.

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