Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1980

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

David Lynch (The Elephant Man)
Roman Polanski (Tess)
Robert Redford (Ordinary People)
Richard Rush (The Stunt Man)
Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull)

Biggest Snub:

George Lucas – Star Wars Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year where the winner was a foregone conclusion long before the votes were tallied since the front-runner was able to win so many awards in this category leading up to the Oscars

My Rankings:


5. David Lynch
4. Roman Polanski 
3. Martin Scorsese
2. Richard Rush
1. Robert Redford 


5. The Elephant ManNot a very entertaining or engaging film. The only bright spot is John Hurt’s performance.
4. TessInteresting true tale that just felt a bit too long for it’s own good. Characters are very good and they quite often surprise us with their actions and reactions to the events around them. Epically filmed by Polanski, but I only wish that I would have found all of it to be more compelling and not just the few VERY shocking scenes.
3. Raging BullThis is a great movie largely due to the amazing transformative performance by De Niro. The story itself is quite brutal and dark and shows sometimes how life can imitate art depending on the personalities involved. The boxing scenes are well choreographed and you quite often feel as if you are in the ring right there with them. There are many scenes are feel like roadside accident but despite the blood, we all can’t stop trying to catch a glimpse of what happens.
2. The Stunt ManGreat film that is able to show the audience the kind of things that go on behind the scenes while filming a movie. O’Toole is perfect in the role of Director of this film who constantly plays the part of God in order to get his vision made the way he wants while constantly manipulating his actors and all other key personnel involved behind the scenes. As a fan of the “finished product” of movies, I found it quite insightful as to how much work goes in to making a film at all costs. O’Toole and Rush were both deservingly nominated for Best Actor and Director at the Oscars for their respective roles.
1. Ordinary PeopleGreat directorial debut of Redford. Excellent story that really delves into how tragedy can affect ordinary people’s lives. Amazing cast.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  Redford found a way to take us into the intimate circle of family members following a tragedy and it is done so seamlessly that sometimes we feel as if we are right there.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1980

  1. I found the Elephant Man to be mesmerizing – even through multiple viewings. It is FAR more than just John Hurt’s (spectacular) performance. Ordinary People was a searing portrait of the dysfunction of an American family featuring terrific performances across the board – none moreso than that of Mary Tyler Moore as the stone hearted mother (and the criminally NON nominated performance of Donald Sutherland). But if you honestly think (Most Definitely!) that Redford deserved the Best Director win over Scorsese’s seminal and iconic direction of “Raging Bull” – then this conversation is over.


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