Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Winners - Best Director

 

It's another Oscar theme over at Wandering Through The Shelves and this week we're focusing on the directors. As usual, I feel a stronger connection to the more recent Oscar winners just because I've seen more of their bodies of work. Here are three directors I love to talk about.


1) Bong Joon-Ho: Parasite -
This is probably one of the most invested Best Director races I've ever been in. While Bong was somewhat of a front runner, there was still a very real chance Sam Mendes would win this and I'm just happy Bong prevailed with such a wonderful film.


2) Ang Lee: Brokeback Mountain -
I think about this movie a lot, and how perfectly Lee captured everything. Of course the actors are great, but Lee was tasked with making this sad, melancholy story look beautiful and move it along without ever making it boring. I love what he did here.


3) Chloe Zhao: Nomadland -
Of course I have to mention Zhao's historic win. I'm so happy for her. The best part of Nomadland for me was the way she directed it. She crafted a beautiful picture and she deserved to close out the night with her Best Picture win. I hate that was robbed from her. 

Comments

  1. I still haven't seen Nomadland but I hope to real soon before I watch Eternals as I have that and Songs That My Brother Taught Me in my laptop.

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    1. I need to watch more of her work. Thanks for the reminder to go put things in my Netflix queue lol

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  2. I haven't seen Nomadland yet--I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    Love the other two choices. Bong Joon-ho ranks for me as one of the best directors working right now.

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    1. I agree! I haven't met a film of his I didn't like yet.

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  3. Oh dear you've picked only two Best Picture winners I haven't seen though obviously I plan on it.

    However I love Brokeback and how Ang Lee directed the picture with such sensitivity. He really is a most versatile man behind the camera. I don't always love his films but one lands for me-Sense & Sensibility, The Wedding Banquet, this-I'm completely invested in the film.

    I reached further back to three faves. One is ridiculously well-known but the other two are just as worthy and well-directed.

    The Awful Truth (1937)-Leo McCarey-A nearly divorced couple (Cary Grant & Irene Dunne) sense that they are making a mistake. Rather than saying it out loud they resort to outlandish pranks to ruin the new relationships the other partner has started. While it’s true McCarey has three of the best comic performers of the day (Grant, Dunne and Ralph Bellamy) at his disposal his deftness and surety of pace and camera angle capture them at peak performance.

    Casablanca (1942)-Michael Curtiz-Of all the gin joints in the world Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) walks into cynical ex-lover Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) with freedom fighting husband Victor (Paul Henreid) while Sam (Dooley Wilson) plays “As Time Goes By” until gendarme Louis (Claude Rains) rounds up the usual suspects. Never has a sturdy directorial hand’s great influence been better illustrated. The filming was famously fraught with complications (the cast went through multiple changes before shooting started, the script wasn’t finished almost up to the final day of filming, writers came and went, two endings were filmed etc.) but that master of all genres Curtiz guided it along seamlessly never letting the havoc show onscreen.

    A Letter to Three Wives (1949)-Joseph L. Mankiewicz-Three well-heeled ladies (Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern and Jeanne Crain) are about to take a boatload of children on a picnic to an isolated island when a letter arrives from their frenemy Addie Ross stating she has run off with one of their husbands…. without naming who. The women spend the day reflecting on whether it might be their man who has taken a powder. Mankiewicz directs his own screenplay with a just the right balance of humor and pathos eliciting superior performances from the cast.

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    1. I almost chose Casablanca myself. That film was wonderful. I haven't seen your other picks though. The Awful Truth sounds like something I'd enjoy.

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    2. The Awful Truth is a delight (so is another Grant/Dunne teaming "My Favorite Wife") but that's true of almost any Cary Grant comedy (except for the ghastly "Once Upon a Time" where he plays a promoter for a dancing caterpillar!).

      You should really give A Letter to Three Wives a shot. I know you enjoyed All About Eve and this was Mankiewicz's lead up to that film. With cellphones the story could never happen today but that adds to the charm of the film. It has interesting insights into men's and women's roles-some dated and some timeless. Of the three vignettes I wouldn't say the first is the weakest (none are bad) it just has the least meat on it and the least charismatic pair of protagonists. Another reason I recommend it so highly is that it's the best showcase my girl Linda Darnell ever had. She's so good she was expected to be nominated but wasn't, she probably ended up in the dreaded sixth spot. :-(

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  4. I love that you pick directors of Asian descent, as an SE Asian myself, naturally I'm thrilled for more representation in Hollywood. It's a bummer the moment of glory of Nomadland winning best picture was robbed because the producers were convinced of Chadwick winning :\

    Now, I purposely didn't include these directors as I'm picking classic movies, but these wins are absolutely well-deserved!

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    1. I know, I'm sure Zhao was still thrilled with her wins, but I wanted to see her and her film close out the night.

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  5. I chose Ang and Chloe as well! I still need to watch Parasite but I was so happy when Bong-Joon Ho won.

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    1. I bought it when it came out on blu ray. I don't normally buy physical media anymore but I had to with that.

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  6. Parasite winning both Best Picture and Best Director was just the best thing ever. I wasn't a fan of Nomadland but I'm still happy for Zhao.

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    1. I know. I was so happy for the Parasite crew. So deserved.

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  7. Great choices, Brittani. I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain for years: I must rectify this!

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  8. Those are three amazing picks - we even match with the first one! :-D

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  9. Nice picks! We share with Bong Joon Ho. I remember when I read Brokeback Mountain for the first time, and how short it was compared to the film. Ang Lee brought a lot to the story that was just a short story. I wasn't a big fan of Nomadland, but milking a personal tragedy to steal that moment away from Chloe was so so wrong.

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    1. I read the book before watching the movie, so I was happy he added more as well. He did an excellent job.

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  10. I am not a fan of Parasite because I hated the last 20 minutes of that film. Brokeback is beautiful and so, so sad. I love that film. I still need to see Nomadland and she was robbed of her win because of the change up. That change up was so stupid.

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  11. Bong Joon-Ho is without a doubt my favourite Best Director win of all time. It also turned out to be the last great moment before 2020 went straight to hell!

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    1. I know! It will be hard to top that for me too. I loved it so much.

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  12. I saw the Golden Globes a few weeks before and it was just weird the way they had it in two locations...so I didn't watch this year's Oscars, thinking they'd do some weird stuff too and apparently they did by changing the category order.

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    1. The Oscars were a bust this year because of what they pulled.

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