Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 2017


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)
Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)

Biggest Snub:

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year where three of the 5 nominees didn’t get Globe nomination but 4 of the 5 line up with the DGA nominees.  To make it more difficult to predict, the fact that over the past few years there were splits between this award and Best Picture, so there was no way to guess which direction the voters would go this year.

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Greta Gerwig 
4. Paul Thomas Anderson 
3. Jordan Peele 
2. Guillermo del Toro
1. Christopher Nolan

Movies

5. Phantom ThreadStrong production elements in this film outshine the almost non-existent storyline. The cast is quite good, but it’s hard to care for any of them because their true motivations for all of their actions aren’t explored enough. The music is great and helps move things along a it since the storyline doesn’t manage to keep things interesting enough.
4. Get OutGreat idea that works on numerous levels. I wouldn’t necessarily truly classify this as a horror film because it’s much closer to being a psychological thriller. The cast is great, and the story moves at a great pace constantly surprising us along the way. The added moments of humor help keep things fun and enjoyable and not scary at all. Extremely original idea that proves that all movies don’t need to be remakes and as long as they constantly have fresh ideas, movies will continue to be able to entertain us. Fun film, but not necessarily really deserving of being nominated for Best Picture IMHO.
3. Lady BirdGreat “simple” story that is so relatable to just about anyone watching it. The lead character played by Saoirse Ronan speaks in a voice very familiar to most people which keeps things feeling very realistic and there is no doubt in my mind as to whether she will get some recognition for that role during the upcoming awards season. The events of her life during that year all have significant effects on her as she tries to transform herself. The supporting cast all help her along even if some of them only have small parts, but we can still feel their influence on everything she does. Definitely worth seeing numerous times because it has so much to offer.
2. The Shape of Water Such a great movie that works on so many levels. The characters are all quite unique and each follows their heart despite having their own agendas. This film is nearly perfect from a visual standpoint and it truly is wondrous to look at. Del Toro has created another modern day fairy tale that mirrors the evils that have occurred in the past while trying to find a bright shining light among the darkness of it all. The cast is spectacular and Hawkins does a superb job in the lead despite never needing to say a word. This is proof of how great an actress she is because we can feel her emotions just by her body movements and actions and there is no need for her to communicate verbally for this. The way that this film uses minority characters to tell its story also says so much about what was perceived as normal during the Cold War Era while still allowing such characters to be the heroes of this story. One of the best films of 2017 which gets better during each rewatch.
1. DunkirkAmazing film that is told so well by Nolan. He is a master at telling complex stories in complex ways and this film is no exception to that rule. The cast is less important here because it is the story that acts as the main character throughout. The story expertly weaves three storylines together in a unique way to give us an even grander perspective on the whole event. The music by Zimmer helps keep the tension high as things get more and more tense as the story moves along. One of the best films of 2017, if not THE best.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  I can definitely understand why they would give this to del Toro, but I still believe that Nolan did a much better job here and should have won this award even if Dunkirk wouldn’t have won Best Picture because the directing is superb by him.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

4 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 2017

  1. Good conversation. I stand by my assertion that Get Out is a supremely overrated movie. I’m still surprised at the passes it received for some pretty glaring narrative and directing choices. So it wouldn’t be anywhere near my nominee list. Also struggled with The Shape of Water. But I’m 100% with you where it counts. “Dunkirk” and Nolan would easily be my choices. Such stellar filmmaking through and through. Great pick.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As counterbalance to you and Keith: First of all – you’re mixing Best Director (this new thread) with Best Picture. in your opinion and analysis. You can’t The Academy – in their lack of wisdom – frequently separates the two – nominate a film without its director and occasionally – a director sans film – in their absurd category with 10 slots where invariably – 1 or 2 are left empty with their dumbbell weighted voting BS. That being said – I agree on Phantom Thread in your 5 hole. For me – it belonged in a hole. Period. terrible bore. Shouldn’t have been nominated for anything (other than costumes perhaps, for which it pandered). Lady Bird would be 3rd. Good debut by Gerwig (writing and directing), ad she’s logically good directing actors (she is one), but other than the story skewing from HER life experience – there wasn’t much unique or original about it.I did NOT like Dunkirk much at all. I found the skewed timeline confusing and foolish. It simply does not hold a candle to many far better WWII movies (Saving Private Ryan, Battleground, The Big Red One, From Here To Eternity – just to name a few off the top of my head). It would be 4th on my list. Leaving Top 2 – Get Out and The Shape of Water – which might jockey for first position depending on what day you ask me. Peele made a splash of a debut and Del Toro took what could’ve been a train wreck of a genre mix and spun it into gold. I won’t even mention those omitted from consideration – like Three Billboards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Mike, you have a typo in the second line which makes it hard to understand what you meant to say in that sentence. “You can’t the Academy”

      Always appreciate ur opinion on things

      BTW, the blurbs on each film is on the film as a whole not abt the directing per se. That’s why I rank the directing aspects separately.

      IMHO, even though it might sometimes e hard to differentiate between the picture overall and the directing efforts, I look at it as which was the most enjoyable and satisfying film (Best Picture) and which was put together almost to perfection from all aspects both technical and practical – Directing.

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      • I think I meant to say that you can’t count on the academy to get it right, since they frequently separate best Film from it’s director and vice versa. you’re not wrong about the rest. My big problem (as a writer0 is that it all starts with the word (the WGA’s motto) and there are a LOT of chef’s involved with making a movie – and making a Good movie – but invariably – the director gets an inordinate amount of the credit. I absolutely HATE directors who take an “A FILM BY” credit – as if they did it all (also known in the biz as a “possessory credit”). It’s egotisic bull shit on their behalf. Woody Allen – as close to an “auteur” as we have (writing and directing and formerly acting in his films) has NEVER taken an “A Film By” credit – so some jerkwad doing his 1st movie because someone saw one of his commercials or music videos on MTV – who takes one – is an ass.

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