How Academy Members Should Evaluate Directing (and Probably Don’t)
How Do You Evaluate Directing?
Each year around that time of the year (and for those who still care), the same story goes on: some films are snubbed from X or Y nominations, and “everybody” wonders why.
There are several reasons why a film considered good by many won’t be in the nominees list, but those reasons have often very little to do with the actually quality of a film, and everything to do with heavy marketing and the age, race and gender of the academy member versus the subject of the film, and the age, race and gender of the filmmaker.
That’s something I didn’t understand until I lived in the small vacuum that is Los Angeles, befriended people who received screeners and actually went to watch screenings at the Academy making the age average drop by 20 years. And then, I got it. Yes, getting an Oscar is the most prestigious award any professional can get in the world, but there is a giant gap between the prestige it gives and the system that supports it.
Who Deserves The 2015 Oscar for Best Directing?
Kevin B. Lee, one of my favorite current video essayist, has started an excellent collection of video essays where he asks this exact question about some of the major categories best acting, best picture, best directing etc.
In the case of Best Directing, that you can see below, Lee takes on the five nominees and their work, presently:
- Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
- Richard Linklater for Boyhood
- Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
- Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game
and talks about the directorial style of each filmmaker and how it compares to their previous work.
In an ideal world, what Lee did would be a sneak peek at how films are evaluated. The Best Directing award, just like any other award would go to the one that deserves it the most, based on their actual craft. In an ideal world.
Lee’s video is the perfect complement to Tony Zhou‘s latest two installments about the Geometry of a Scene via Kurosawa‘s work, and The Quadrant System via Nicolas Winding Refn‘s work. (Notice that The Imitation Game is used by both essayists as an example of flat directing…)