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Oscar Banter: Best Director

by on February 24, 2013

By Taylor Gaines and Steven Halsey

In most years, Best Director is one of my favorite categories. However, with an inordinate amount of egregious snubs from the Academy this year, the category seems to be Steven Spielberg’s to lose. Here are the nominees for Best Achievement in Directing.

THE NOMINEES:

Michael Haneke: Amour (2012)

Ang Lee: Life of Pi (2012)

Benh ZeitlinBeasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

TAYLOR GAINES:

I first encountered Michael Haneke in my Writing Thru Media class freshman year. My professor showed us his film “Cache (Hidden)” (2005), a film about a family that becomes psychologically dismayed due to a series of surveillance videos (of themselves) placed on their doorstep.

The movie was intense, different and left me with an ending of “Inception”-like proportions. It has become one of my favorite movies of all-time because I am still trying to figure it out.

But I digress. The point is, Haneke’s unique style of extremely long shots (he often uses one camera angle for an entire scene) and use of almost exclusively diegetic sound was a breath of fresh air for me.

“Amour” brought me more of the same and was one of my top-three favorite films of 2012. The film displayed a stark realization of what happens to love as it ages and grimly showed the struggle of watching loved ones die.

It was a film I couldn’t have imagined directed by anyone else and I think Haneke deserves to be named Best Director.

Zeitlin won’t win with his first full-length feature film and Russell simply did an adequate job weaning great actors and a great script (which, to his credit, he did write) into a great film and a feel-good story.

“Lincoln” was not Spielberg’s best. The cheesy opening scene where the African-American soldiers recited the Gettysburg Address to Lincoln and the red herring theater scene alone make me want him to lose. His cockiness should be punished!

And although I thought Lee’s direction of “Life of Pi” was brilliant, providing some of the most stunning visual effects to hit the movie theaters in the last year and making me believe I was on the boat with Pi, I think Haneke’s direction was just that much better.

When you watch a Michael Haneke film, you know that something special is going on, and I for one hope Haneke wins his first Oscar Sunday night.

STEVEN HALSEY:

“Life of Pi” isn’t getting as much hype as it ought to. “Life of Pi” is that movie that movie I’m gonna watch when I skip a morning class freshman year of college. It’s what I’ll pick for movie night with my family when I’m 28.

“Life of Pi” is a family movie, but that doesn’t take away from its power. It is inspiring to say the least. It’s something a lot of people are going to buy on DVD.

These attributes come from the way in which Ang Lee directed it. There isn’t exactly a certain way to go about filming a man struggle with a tiger on a tiny lifeboat in the middle of a vast ocean. But after this movie, there might be.

Ang Lee had all the right camera angles. I hate when I begin to notice shots changing because they are either too short or too long. Lee managed to find the perfect balance, because this didn’t happen to me once.

Unlike “Life of Pi,” good movies like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Lincoln” were primarily made by their actors and actresses.

Haneke’s style seems to dissect life out of the characters he evidently doesn’t care about, and I could feel this in his stationary and stubborn camera.

This is Zeitlin’s first step to the big leagues, and frankly he doesn’t stand a chance.

Ang Lee should win Best Director.

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