He Said/She Said: Sparks fly over the Best Director race. Lisa submits to the''Rings'' master, while Owen is opting for Opie
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Credit: Lisa Schwarzbaum Illustration by Eric Palma

Sparks fly over the Best Director race

March 13, 2002 1:57 PM
Owen, during our last Oscar debate, you were the one with the unified field theory about this year’s Best Actor race. So as we begin talking about our Best Director choices, I propose — well, not so much a grand notion as a small observation that this category is one where career wins and losses are evened out. And where, as also happens among Best Supporting Actress nominees, all bets are off. Steven Spielberg knows this. Ron Howard knows this.

That, at any rate, is my story, and I’ll stick with it. Even as I announce to anyone who’ll listen — and I know you don’t back me up here — that Peter Jackson obviously and clearly deserves the award for taking the year’s (and his career’s) biggest risk — and triumphing. And he deserves the statue right now, not two or three years down the line when the next two episodes in the trilogy are released and the score is re-tallied. I’ll stump for ”LOTR” as Best Picture when we sit down for our final pre-Oscar email chat next week. But for now I’ll say that the very thing that sets this fantasy epic above so many other modern movie spectacles is the integrity and artistic vision — yes, that unlearnable thing — of Jackson himself, inspired and excited by directing a gigantic, make-or-break studio classic and confident of his own filmmaking language.

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