chinatown

You know, to be farm land, you need something. Let me think. Oh yeah. Water!

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Chinatown  *
  2. The Godfather Part II  *
  3. Day for Night  **
  4. Scenes from a Marriage  *
  5. The Conversation  *
  6. Badlands
  7. Young Frankenstein
  8. Blazing Saddles
  9. Lenny
  10. The Parallax View

(more…)

Michael's descent into darkness is captured in this amazing shot by Gordon Willis.

Michael’s descent into darkness is captured in this amazing shot by Gordon Willis.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 8 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  I’ve dropped it from 10 because in a lot of categories I only have 8 or fewer listed.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Godfather  *
  2. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie  *
  3. Sleuth
  4. Cabaret  **
  5. Deliverance  *
  6. Play It Again, Sam
  7. Murmur of the Heart
  8. The Emigrants  *

(more…)

Come for a night of fun and games with George and Martha.

Come for a night of fun and games with George and Martha.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 7 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  In most year I list the Top 10, but this is too weak of a year to bother with that.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf  *
  2. A Man for All Seasons  **
  3. The Professionals
  4. Morgan
  5. Red Beard
  6. The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming  *
  7. Alfie

(more…)

I though it would be nicer to just include the three Top 25 directors rather than explain that Lucas didn't get that high.  If you need these people identified you are at the wrong website.

I though it would be nicer to just include the version of the picture with three Top 25 directors rather than explain that Lucas didn’t get that high. If you need these people identified you are at the wrong website.

This is the final ranked list of those directors who have been nominated for Best Director by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  This is part 9 of the series.  As always, you can find the previous eight posts in this series by going here.  There is also an introduction here, which explains the scope of the project as well as my scoring system.  I have made certain to finish this now for two reasons.  The first is that I wanted to get it done before another Oscar season begins and I had to add somebody (Alfonso Cuarón, perhaps?).  The second is because I intend to do a Top 100 Directors 3.0 list before too long and I wanted this out of the way; that list, originally intended for this month, will probably be pushed back into at least winter, if not early spring in order to get this year’s batch of late films from Top 100 directors watched (e.g. Inside Llewyn Davis, Wolf of Wall Street, The Hobbit, Captain Phillips, Gravity).

One thing to bear in mind about the top of the list.  On my point scale, there is only a 75 point difference between the #1 and #8 spots.  There is then a 58 point difference between #8 and #9, and an 83 point difference between #8 and #11.  So, if the director you really want to champion is among that top 7, that’s the elite of the elite. (more…)

Robert Altman on the set of Prairie Home Companion with his "standby director", Paul Thomas Anderson, who agreed to that role for insurance reasons.  In between is some actress.

Robert Altman (#33) on the set of Prairie Home Companion with his “standby director”, Paul Thomas Anderson (#28), who agreed to that role for insurance reasons. In between is some actress.

This is the penultimate ranked list of those directors who have been nominated for Best Director by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  This is part 8 of the series, with one part still left to go.  As always, you can find the previous seven posts in this series by going here.  There is also an introduction here, which explains the scope of the project as well as my scoring system.  I have been focusing on finishing this series this year, both so that I go do the bi-annual update of the Top 100 Directors of All-Time and because I want to do it before another Oscar season and some more directors potentially end up needing to be ranked.

In a reversal of the last group, these are the more experienced directors.  With the exception of four Studio Era workhorses, the 25 directors in the last post had only averaged 7.76 films.  This time, we have seven directors (Lucas, Olivier, Coppola, Fosse, Malick, Mendes, Anderson) who have only directed a combined 39 films – an average of 5.57 (I’ve seen all but two of those – the two now out or about to be in theaters).  The other 18 directors have averaged 19.83 films – or if you cut out Lynch, Branagh and Leigh, you have 15 directors who have made 325 films (21.67 each), of which I have seen 308.  I have also seen 95.2% of these films – only missing more than one film by Renoir (4) and Capra (9).  And the only film I’m missing from both Truffaut and Malle are on TCM in the next month.  And this just about caps it for the less experienced directors.  The only director in the last post with fewer than 10 films to his credit is Tarantino.

The other demarcation point between this group and the final group is the number of great (****) films they have directed.  Of the final 25, only one has directed fewer than 5 great films – Francis Ford Coppola, at #25, and he’s got four.  Only four others have directed just five – Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles (both of whom have smaller amounts of total films), Clint Eastwood and Elia Kazan.  But how many directors have directed more than five great films and aren’t in the top 25?  Just five – all of whom are here: Stephen Frears (which is how he ranks this high), Steven Soderbergh, Pedro Almodóvar, Frank Capra and Francois Truffaut.  They all have six great films.  All sixteen directors who directed more than six great films are in the final group. (more…)

The Penguin Great Books cover of Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

  • Rank:  #8
  • Author:  Joseph Conrad  (1857  –  1924)
  • Published:  1899  (serial),  1902  (book)
  • Publisher:  Blackwood’s Magazine  (serial);  William Blackwood  (book)
  • Pages:  96
  • First Line:  “The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest.”
  • Last Line:  “The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flower sombre under an overcast sky – seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century #67
  • ML Version:  included in Great Modern Short Stories (#168); gold hardcover (1993 – published with Youth and Typhoon); 1999 (Modern Library classics)
  • Film:  long planned by Orson Welles; 1979 / 2001 (as Apocalypse Now / Apocalypse Now Redux – ****); 1993 TV film
  • First Read:  Fall 1991 (more…)

Just because the Academy gave him an Oscar doesn't mean he will do well on these lists.

So what is this?  This is the start of the in-depth look at every director who has ever been nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Director, ranked.  I already gave the bare bones version of the final list, though, as with all my lists, as I see more movies, they can fluctuate.  Here I will explain how all my points systems are derived (which I already did once here, for My Top 100 2.0 Intro, but I am doing again because there are lists here specific to these directors) and I will give various lists of the best and worst directors in the various categories.

Soon, this will be followed by various in-depth looks at each director, probably in groups of 25 or so, which will be interspersed between all my other posts, because they take a while to do.  So, here we go.

Here is how my points system is derived:

There are 10 categories.  There are a maximum of 100 points in any one category.  In some categories, it is not possible to earn all 100 points.  In others, you can earn much more, but I cut you off at 100.  Below, I list all 10 categories, with a brief description of how I derive the points and the Top and Bottom 10 for each category for the Academy Award nominated directors.  A brief note: I have mathematical value I apply to all films, and to the quality of various aspects of the film (direction being one).  Without it, there is no good way to do this list, other than the last category.  So, if you don’t like that, abandon all hope ye who enter here. (more…)

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg present a special Oscar to their hero: Akira Kurosawa

So, does this supersede my original list?  Well, lists are always organic – they grow and evolve over time.  I’ve fiddled with some of the categories and new films have come out and I’ve seen more films from some directors.  So, my original list was what it was in October of 2009.  This is where I am now, two years later, and one year overdue.  The list will continue to evolve over time.  The list never quite stops.  But here’s where I put it up.

I will remind people again that if you don’t see a director and you’re wondering why, please check the Introduction first.  It became clear on the original list that people didn’t read that instruction.  Please don’t repeat that.  And don’t ask about Godard.  See the Intro.

Also, we’ll again find out who reads this part, the film in parenthesis is not necessarily their best film (hell, with Mankiewicz, it’s his worst).  But it is the film I chose to write about, for whatever reason. (more…)

Roberto Benigni is not the worst director ever nominated for an Oscar - but he's close

210 directors.  That’s how many directors, over the course of the Academy Awards, have been nominated for Best Director.  And I’ve gone through and ranked them all.

Now, I will do a much longer piece and go into much greater detail on each director.  But, since this is the bare bones edition, I have only listed rank, name, points and what they earned Oscar nominations for (bold is for winners).

I have spent much of the past year watching as many films from these directors as possible.  I have seen over 80% of all the films directed by them – which is difficult, given a lot of the films from the older directors.  But all of that, as well as a detailed description of the scoring will come later this fall, as will the updated list of Top 100 Directors (it was waiting for this project to be finished).  At the moment, if all you care about is my ranking, feel free to start griping.  But remember – Godard was never nominated for an Oscar, so I don’t want to hear anything about him.  If you want to worship him, your beef is with the Academy this time, not with me.

One caveat I should note.  I have not seen Tree of Life.  And because Malick has made so few films, if I find it to be truly great, it has the potential to raise him 20 spots on the list.  If I hate it, which I suppose is possible, he could drop about 10.  That is the range available. (more…)

A perfect example of the populist Best Picture winner: Dances with Wolves, which beat out GoodFellas in 1990

The 63rd Academy Awards for the film year 1990.  The nominations were announced on February 19, 1991 and the awards were held on March 25, 1991.

Best Picture:  Dances with Wolves

  • GoodFellas
  • The Godfather Part III
  • Awakenings
  • Ghost

Most Surprising Omission:  Reversal of Fortune

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Miller’s Crossing

Rank  (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #22 (more…)