Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima)
Stephen Frears (The Queen)
Paul Greengrass (United 93)
Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel)
Martin Scorsese (The Departed)
Guillermo Del Toro – Pan’s Labyrinth
My Overall Thoughts:
This was an excellent year for nominees and all 5 directors did amazing jobs with their films but it was pretty clear who would finally get to go home with Oscar
5. Stephen Frears
4. Alejandro González Iñárritu
3. Clint Eastwood
2. Martin Scorsese
1. Paul Greengrass
5. Babel – Great story because it takes a global idea and compartmentalizes it in a way that is enjoyable to discover the true connection between them all. The way the pieces start to slowly come together says so much about the way this story unfolds since they find a way to focus on the character’s personal issues and not only the overall story. Great cast but since they need to split the runtime between 4 distinct stories, no one really shines as much as they probably could have. Only won one of its 7 Oscar nominations and that was for the musical score.
4. The Queen – Mirren is superb at giving an emotional face to a persona that is seen as cold and unemotional. The story works well also, the question remains tho, how much is really true here.
3. Letters from Iwo Jima – Eastwood does an amazing job showing us the “faceless” enemy and being able to evoke emotional attachments to the characters. Shows us how important honor is to the Japanese soldier during wartime and we get to see how that helped drive their actions during the battle. Amazing cast led by Watanabe makes this film feel so realistic in so many aspects. The battle scenes are among some of the most harrowing ever filmed because of the realistic feeling of it all.
2. The Departed – Amazing cat and mouse plot keeps thing thrilling the whole way thru. This is far superior a story than the original Asian version of the story. The cast is unbelievably talented and Scorsese does a wonderful job keeping us on the edge of our seats the whole time. The choice to place this film in Boston is genius because of the crime culture there really toeing the line between good and evil. Definitely was deserving of winning Best Picture that year at the Oscars along with 3 other wins for Director, Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing. This is by far my favorite film by Scorsese.
1. United 93 – Amazing film that tries to piece together the events of one of the craziest days in history. Lots of what happened is pure speculation and they do a superb job here of making this story seem complete. The idea to take the various phone calls and messages from people on the plane and integrate them into the film make it seem so realistic. The use of unrecognizable actors helps make this feel like we are watching the true events as they happen. The pacing is great and the way the story stays thrilling and breathtaking all the way until the very last frame is unbelievable. The men and women on that plane plus all of the air controllers trying to get a grip of what is going on are all heroes in my eyes who under the strongest forms of pressure known to man were able to do things that are so inspiring to us all. This is one of the most intense films ever made and is one of my all-time favorites, let along the best film of 2006 IMHO.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! Scorsese was finally able to get his Oscar and this he was a sentimental favorite for directing this film so well even if it wasn’t his best film overall. Greengrass did some amaaizng things with U93 and I’m so glad that he was recognized for that achievement even if he didn’t win the award since I feel his work was the most deserving.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!