David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Directing a film is a complicated task that involves incorporating every aspect of a production and focusing it around a particular vision. All five of these men, who are no stranger to the art of creating cinematic masterpieces, have once again exhibited brilliant film-making skills by using spectacular visual imagery to tell complex narratives.
There is something to be said for Scorsese, who still remains sharp with each film he creates even after all these years. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with a run time of almost three hours, is not an example of amateur filmmaking by any means. Scorsese, the most seasoned director in this year’s crop of nominees, handles the long and sometimes diluted screenplay with perfect pacing. Without him to lead the film, it would have had potentially gone off the deep end into a yawn-inducing three hour drama.
Russell and Payne, both consistent Academy favorites, brought their flair for intimate storytelling to their respective films this year. “Nebraska,” a film entirely in black-and-white, was handled with extreme care by Payne who is no stranger to honing in on the characters. He once again creates a beautiful backdrop for the actors to roam free in. Russell used similar methods in “American Hustle,” placing his all-star team of actors in the center and building the film around their performances.
The real spectacle, however, lies within the work of McQueen and Cuarón, who both managed to bring two incredibly moving stories to life with a masterful vitality. “12 Years a Slave” contains an eloquent balance of harshness and lightness, crafting a tenacious film out of the already powerful screenplay. “Gravity” is a visual stunner, and Cuarón proves he is a visionary director by breaking the boundaries of previous set-in-space films.
The winner of Best Director was once a high indicator of which film would win Best Picture. I predict, however, that much like last year, the two will not coincide with each other. Stay tuned for my predictions about the show’s top prize, but for now I am betting on Cuarón to take him the gold for his incredibly impressive work on “Gravity.”
Who WILL Win: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
Who SHOULD Win: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”