The Place For Everything Movies
With the announcement of the 84th Academy Award nominations we saw a typical batch of white men receive the honor of being nominated for Best Achievement in Directing. However, there was one newcomer who defied the odds and is now the frontrunner for the Oscar. Michel Hazanavicius, the up and coming French director of The Artist, has the opportunity to make history by beating out the veteran directors, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Alexander Payne, and his biggest competition, Martin Scorsese. There is still some time to go before the ceremony on February 26th, therefore a lot could change before then. Being the winner is definitely a feat to be proud of, yet simply being nominated is an honor. In tribute to these unbelievably talented men, let’s take a lot at the films that brought these men to this point.
You cannot talk about Allen without bringing up Annie Hall, that’s a given. The movie would go on to solidify Allen as one of the biggest names in the business, and with good reason. Allen directed, wrote, and starred in the film, and then went on to win Oscars for Best Director and Best Writing, but had to settle with just a nomination for Best Actor. However, the Oscars do not mean much to Allen, just like a true artist. Thirty-four years later, Allen is back at the Oscars with another hit. Midnight in Paris, nominated for four Oscars, has become the highest grossing film of Allen’s career. The film about our times, and finding the golden age shows Allen can still amaze audiences with his unique flair. After a number of wish-washy films, it is great to see him back doing what he does best. Here’s to a bright future with plenty of Allen films to look forward to!
While it may seem as though this frenchmen has come out of nowhere, Hazanavicius has been working his way up for a few years now. OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is his first major film to make an impact, and also his first collaboration with Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. The film is a homage to spy movies of the 1950s, similar to how The Artist is a tribute to the golden age of film. While the trio of Hazanavicius, Dujardin, and Bejo did not have much luck in the US the first time around, the film was a big enough hit in France to make a sequel. The success of the spy films has nothing in comparison to The Artist, which is now the frontrunner to sweep at the Oscars. The film is nominated for ten Oscars, and is sure to take home most of them. I sure hope that these three collaborate again for they seem to get better and better each time!
Thankfully those two worked on their dancing some more:
In forty years this innovative director has only five feature films to his name. Malick is infamous for spending countless years on projects, but thank goodness he does. Badlands, his first film, wows audiences with its poetic beauty and stunning performances, with Sissy Spacek being hard to top in her performance. Based on the true story of the Charles Starkweather and Caril-Ann Fugate murders, the graphic killings are eerily beautiful as Malick proves that film is still an art form. Unfortunately, the Oscars gave it no love as it had to settle for a lone BAFTA nomination. The dynamic vision of Malick shines through once again in The Tree of Life, where he takes on the topic of creation and the meaning of life. The message may be overly ambitious, but for patient viewers the film will prove to be a modern masterpiece. Although The Tree of Life lost much of its momentum, the film was still able to receive three nominations, including Best Picture, Malick has a number of projects lined up in the next few years which is wonderful news for all cinema-goers.
No name defines modern cinema like Alexander Payne. The writer/director debuted with Citizen Ruth, but really broke into the scene with Election, the film that made Resse Witherspoon a star and reignited Matthew Broderick’s star power. This high school election dramedy fared well with critics and audiences as well as scored an much deserved Oscar nomination for Best Writing. The success only continued as he scored his first Best Director nomination for Sideways, another great example of modern cinema. However, in 2011 Payne hit an all-time with The Descendants. The film, like every other Payne film, is a mix of drama, comedy, and a slice of not-so-everyday life, but this time it seems like Payne got the formula just right. The Descendants scored five Oscar nominations (but a major snub of Shailene Woodley) and could become the film that grants Clooney the Best Actor prize that the Academy has been longing to give him. It is refreshing to look at Payne’s work, and see the hope that he brings to the future of cinema.
Martin Scorsese. The man that became a legend. No one working in film today can say that Scorsese has not influenced them in some way. The legendary director has crafted some of the greatest films of all time, and continues to make masterpieces with no end in sight. With only a handful of films to his name, good ol’ Marty busted out of the gates with Taxi Driver, the first of many collaborations between Marty and Robert De Niro. He kept the good times rolling as he garnered respect from not only the film industry, but also the millions of audience members that flock to the cinema year after year. Then as if looking back on his craft, Scorsese made his homage to film with Hugo. The family film, his first ever, has something for everyone, but mostly it is for those who simply love the cinema. Hugo leads the nominations with eleven, and has the potential to upset The Artist for Best Picture. Martin Scorsese grew up as lonely boy who looked to the films he features in Hugo inspiration. As he shows his pure love for the art, I cannot help but admire the unprecedented artist. Thank you, Martin Scorsese. You are a genius and I will always admire you.
Sorry if this entry took too long to get out there. I will continue to have at least one entry per week for my followers. Keep reading my blog, and get out there to watch movies! There’s always something to see at the theatre. Also, do not forget to check out the Oscars on February 26th!