We’ve looked at Best Picture, we’ve looked at Best Actress/Best Actor, and now we’re going to look at Best Director.
Well, first, I suppose, we can look at the Supporting roles…
And the nominees for Best Supporting Actress are:
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight as Daisy Domergue (Available for pre-order only)
Rooney Mara – Carol as Therese Belivet
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight as Sacha Pfeiffer
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl as Gerda Wegener
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs as Joanna Hoffman
And the nominees for Best Supporting Actor are:
Christian Bale – The Big Short as Michael Burry
Tom Hardy – The Revenant as John Fitzgerald
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight as Michael Rezendes
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies as Rudolf Abel
Sylvester Stallone – Creed as Rocky Balboa
I have no idea how to even handicap these at all, not even for a second. If I had to pick something for my Oscar Party card, I’d say Jennifer Jason Leigh would be my choice (with Rachel McAdams as dark horse) and Sylvester Stallone (with Mark Ruffalo as my dark horse) but… I honestly would not be surprised by anybody getting the Oscar here (excepting Kate Winslet or Mark Rylance).
So let’s look at the Directors!
We can pretty much do some process of elimination right off the bat. It ain’t gonna go to Mad Max. You could hear a couple hundred people yelling “I wasn’t serious!” when it was nominated. Not because they weren’t serious, but because it’s one thing to vote your conscience, it’s quite another to have to explain how you didn’t vote for it and you don’t know anybody who did when it actually makes it to the final round.
I’m torn on Alejandro G. Iñárritu. I don’t know whether he’s got a “reliably outstanding” thing going on at this point or if the academy can’t wait to put him there. The Revenant reminds me of the joke that Paul McCartney used to say about sitting down with Lennon and saying “now let’s write a swimming pool”. A movie that says “now let’s win an Oscar” seems less… something… than one that merely gets an Oscar incidentally. It’s the difference between technique and method acting. As such, I think that this one feels like “technique”. I don’t think it’ll win.
When it comes to Room, given that I think that Brie Larson is going to win, I don’t think that Room will. “Harrowing” only gets you so far and while Brie was harrowed and should be celebrated for that, do we really want to celebrate the person who harrowed her? I don’t see Lenny winning this one either.
So we’re down to two: The Big Short and Spotlight. Both topics are making important social criticism… but, if I had to pick one to give the edge to, I’d say Spotlight takes this one… making this yet another year where no one film dominates at the Oscars.
So… that’s my Oscar Party voting card. What’s yours?
(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)