The five Best Director nominees don’t usually match up perfectly with the five Best Picture contenders, and this year should be no different. Look for time-honored filmmakers to share the spotlight with a couple of newly high-profile whippersnappers. The critics’ awards won’t elucidate much here, since no director has come close to a sweep.
National Board of Review winner ANTHONY MINGHELLA, who took Oscar home for The English Patient, is a strong contender for The Talented Mr. Ripley. American Beauty director (and Los Angeles critics victor) SAM MENDES, with his first feature film, also merits a nomination for that dancing plastic bag alone. Two other critics’ award winners are DAVID O. RUSSELL for Three Kings and MIKE LEIGH for Topsy-Turvy, but their films, along with SPIKE JONZE‘s Being John Malkovich and PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON‘s Magnolia, might be too cutting edge for the director’s category. Conversely, NEIL JORDAN‘s The End of the Affair may seem too sedate — though he did receive a Globe nomination, which puts him in the running.
Although The Green Mile‘s FRANK DARABONT scored a nomination for his last Stephen King adaptation, The Shawshank Redemption, he isn’t winning the same acclaim this time. And given this year’s crowded field, The Sixth Sense‘s M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN and Boys Don’t Cry‘s KIMBERLY PEIRCE will most likely have to settle for Best Screenplay nods. MICHAEL MANN, however, stands a much better shot with his more conventional (but still gripping) The Insider.
MILOS FORMAN has won twice (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus), but Man on the Moon lacks the overall support those two boasted. So give the fourth slot to three-time nominee NORMAN JEWISON for his compelling Hurricane, and mark the fifth with the director who gave the G-rated The Straight Story his famously off-kilter stamp — DAVID LYNCH.
For Your Consideration
While PEDRO ALMODOVAR‘s celebration of women, All About My Mother, is a front-runner for best foreign film, a nod here to the Spanish director would be a testament to the Academy’s good taste. Not that good taste and Almodovar go hand in hand. Mother‘s pansexual habitues are typical of Almodovar’s raucous oeuvre. Still, no director serves up affairs of the heart with more compassion. Tasteful? No. Tasty? Yes.