12 February 2012

Oscar Zone Vol. III, Part 4: Best Director Chances

Welcome folks again to our closer look at some of the different Academy Award categories. Today we're talking about the Best Director Award, which has some good competition this year. It is quite the year for old farts, and the directors here are split between many old established voices, but the winner may be the one nominee that no one's heard of.

Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)
Although Woody seems in good shape to win for his screenwriting, it's likely that he'll come up short here. He doesn't actually have a tremendous amount of history with the Academy and there isn't a ton of buzz going into the big night. That said, his direction, while distinctive, is nothing outstanding here.
Chances of Winning: 1/5

Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)
Payne is an accomplished director and The Descendants is likely the only film capable of giving The Artist (2011) a run for its money for Best Picture and so it would seem appropriate for him to win this as well. Still, as we're nearing the big day The Artist is picking up steam and The Descendants is falling behind. This wouldn't be a tremendous upset, but as Director Buzz goes, Payne is low on the list.
Chances of Winning: 2/5

Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)
The Tree of Life got a surprising number of nominations, although last summer it held a strong possibility of winning Best Picture. If not for its esoteric nature it may have stood a shot but it's just too impenetrable for mainstream audiences and the wider Academy. Malick's direction is capable though and has risen above A-Listers Brad Pitt and Sean Penn as the film's signature mark. Still, its erudite limitations will prevent Terry from bringing home a statue.
Chances of Winning: 3/5

Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011)
I thought that Marty would get another win here, but now I think the tide has turned. Scorsese does a fantastic job in a genre he is unfamiliar with and as an old man uses and embraces a 3-D technology better than many who have come before. There is a chance he will upset Hazanavicius, and the Academy's love for him and Hugo are all the more apparent as film dies all round us. The Academy loves desperately clinging to the olden days and it might try to continue to do so by honouring someone who honours that.
Chances of Winning: 4/5

Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)
Coming off both a DGA and a BAFTA, it seems like this is Hazanavicius' category to lose. The Artist is peaking at the perfect time and with a BAFTA sweep there's a good chance that an American sweep will come about as well. In terms of direction, The Artist is a novelty - a product of a bygone era, although it was a brief era where the Director played a role more important than the Star. Will the goofiness of The Artist pay off? By all rights it seems likely.
Chances of Winning: 5/5

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