Oscar Watch: Best Director Goes To…

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The Academy Awards are merely 10 days away and one of the most difficult categories to predict is the one we’re picking the winner for in today’s Oscar Watch column! 

This was a category that saw some serious Oscar snubs, most notably Angelina Jolie for Unbroken and Clint Eastwood for American Sniper. But, this is not about who didn’t get nominated, this is about who will win the Oscar for Best Director.

First of all, here are the nominees for Best Director:

Many think this is a two person race between the helmer of Birdman and the director of Boyhood. And that makes perfect sense given how it appears the Best Picture race has come down to those two films. Who will win?

Let’s break it down:

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
A previous nominee for Capote, that pedigree is probably why Bennett Miller is nominated for his work on the true tale Foxcatcher. The man knows how to effectively helm true stories and Foxcatcher only further enhances his reputation. We were frankly surprised that he got nominated this year, given the other talent that was left off this list. He is a supreme talent, but this year he has just got to be happy to be nominated.

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel has given Wes Anderson his first Oscar nomination and there is no one who deserves it more. The supremely gifted storyteller has been moving us with his movies for years and his latest is one of his best, if not the best. This first Oscar nod is long overdue, but it will be the first of many. One day he will win an Oscar, but just not in 2015. Watch The Grand Budapest Hotel online to see his masterwork. 

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
The balancing act of telling a story that is both the true tale of a man who is largely responsible for cracking the Enigma code that helped win World War II and how that same man’s sexual orientation would get him disgraced in the years after the war had to be one complicated task. Morten Tyldum did that and so much more in The Imitation Game. His film painstakingly chronicles the costs of war and freedom and how that same freedom that was so richly earned does not necessarily apply to all. This Oscar nomination is a momentous moment for Tyldum and we have a feeling we’ll hear his name as Oscar nominee again. But Oscar winner, not this time.

Alejandro G. Inarritu Directs Birdman

Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman
Film is a director’s medium and that is no more evident than with Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman. That film may produce a Best Actor Oscar for its lead Michael Keaton (we think it will), but this is truly Inarritu’s film from beginning to end. From his choices for score (percussion only) to the film’s tone, production design and cinematography, the Birdman director will have a tough time topping this triumphant moment. In any other year, we believe he wins the Oscar. But this is no ordinary year. Yes, we’re aware that he won the Director’s Guild honor and that is usually a guarantee. But we think this is the year that breaks with tradition.

Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Making a movie over the course of 12 years takes not only an immeasurable amount of patience, but supreme talent. Richard Linklater had both and not only achieved something close to impossible, but did so in a film that is a priceless portrait of the modern American family in a resoundingly riveting story about Boyhood. The Academy loves filmmakers that take risks and there can be no bigger risk than to film the same cast for several weeks a year for 12 years, all in an effort to create art of the highest order. The fact that Linklater is a beloved filmmaker before making Boyhood doesn’t hurt his chances either. After February 22, he will add the title of Oscar winner to his already impressive resume. 

Watch Boyhood online to see our pick!

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