Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Pictures

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domino harvey
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Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Pictures

#1 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:40 pm

Arguably the most prestigious Oscar category outside of Best Picture, the Best Director category does not always match up with the Best Picture nominees. Below are all 107 films for which the director was nominated without garnering a Best Picture nomination. I have included known DVD/Blu-ray releases for each. The two titles in red actually won Best Director.


1927-8 (Drama) Herbert Brenon : Sorrell and Son
1927-8 (Comedy) Lewis Milestone : Two Arabian Knights
1927-8 (Comedy) Ted Wilde : Speedy R1 New Line

1929 Lionel Barrymore : Madame X R1 Warner Archives
1929 Frank Lloyd : the Divine Lady R1 Warner Archives
1929 Frank Lloyd : Drag
1929 Frank Lloyd : Weary River R1 Warner Archives

1930 Clarence Brown : Anna Christie R1 Warners
1930 Clarence Brown : Romance R1 Warner Archives
1930 King Vidor : Hallelujah R1 Warners

1931 Clarence Brown : A Free Soul R1 Warners
1931 Josef von Sternberg : Morocco R1 Universal

1936 Gregory La Cava : My Man Godfrey R1 PD / Criterion

1938 Michael Curtiz : Angels With Dirty Faces R1 Warners

1944 Alfred Hitchcock : Lifeboat R1 Fox / RB Masters of Cinema
1944 Otto Preminger : Laura R1/A Fox

1945 Clarence Brown : National Velvet R1 Warners
1945 Jean Renoir : the Southerner R1 VCI

1946 David Lean : Brief Encounter R1/A Criterion
1946 Robert Siodmak : the Killers R1 Criterion

1947 George Cukor : A Double Life R1/A Olive

1948 Fred Zinnemann : the Search R1 Warner Archives

1949 Carol Reed : the Fallen Idol R1 Criterion

1950 John Huston : the Asphalt Jungle R1 Warner Archives
1950 Carol Reed : the Third Man R1/A Criterion / RA Studio Canal

1951 John Huston : the African Queen R1/A Paramount
1951 William Wyler : Detective Story R1 Paramount

1952 Joseph L Mankiewicz : 5 Fingers R1 Fox DVD-R / R2 Optimum

1953 Charles Walters : Lili R1 Warner Archives
1953 Billy Wilder : Stalag 17 R1/A Paramount

1954 Alfred Hitchcock : Rear Window R1/A Universal
1954 William A Wellman : the High and the Mighty R1 Paramount
1954 Billy Wilder : Sabrina R1/A Paramount (US Blu-ray is cropped widescreen) / RA/B/C Paramount UK (UK Blu-ray is region-free and Academy ratio)

1955 Elia Kazan : East of Eden R1/A Warners
1955 David Lean : Summertime R1 Criterion
1955 John Sturges : Bad Day at Black Rock R1 Warners

1956 King Vidor : War and Peace R1 Paramount

1958 Mark Robson : the Inn of the Sixth Happiness R1/A Fox
1958 Robert Wise : I Want to Live! R1 MGM

1959 Billy Wilder : Some Like It Hot R1/A MGM/Fox

1960 Jules Dassin : Never on a Sunday R1 MGM
1960 Alfred Hitchcock : Psycho R1/A Universal

1961 Federico Fellini : La Dolce Vita R1/A Criterion

1962 Pietro Germi : Divorce Italian Style R1 Criterion
1962 Arthur Penn : the Miracle Worker R1 MGM
1962 Frank Perry : David and Lisa R1 hVE (OOP) / RA Scorpion

1963 Federico Fellini : 8 1/2 R1/A Criterion
1963 Otto Preminger : the Cardinal R1 Warners
1963 Martin Ritt : Hud R1 Paramount

1965 Hiroshi Teshigahara : the Woman in the Dunes R1 Criterion
1965 William Wyler : the Collector R1/A Sony

1966 Michelangelo Antonioni : Blowup R1 Warners
1966 Richard Brooks : the Professionals R1/A Sony
1966 Claude Lelouch : A Man and a Woman R1 Warners

1967 Richard Brooks : In Cold Blood R1/A Sony

1968 Stanley Kubrick : 2001: A Space Odyssey R1/A Warners
1968 Gillo Pontecorvo : the Battle of Algiers R1/A Criterion

1969 Arthur Penn : Alice's Restaurant R1/A Kino
1969 Sydney Pollack : They Shoot Horses, Don't They? R1 MGM

1970 Federico Fellini : Satyricon R1/A Criterion
1970 Ken Russell : Women in Love R1 MGM

1971 John Schlesinger : Sunday Bloody Sunday R1/A Criterion

1972 Joseph L Mankiewicz : Sleuth R2 Paramount UK / Anchor Bay UK

1973 Bernardo Bertolucci : Last Tango in Paris R1/A MGM

1974 John Cassavetes : A Woman Under the Influence R1/A Criterion
1974 Francois Truffaut : Day For Night R1 Warners

1975 Federico Fellini : Amarcord R1/A Criterion

1976 Ingmar Bergman : Face to Face R1 Olive
1976 Lina Wertmuller : Seven Beauties R1 Koch Lorber

1977 Steven Spielberg : Close Encounters of the Third Kind R1/A Sony

1978 Woody Allen : Interiors R1 MGM

1979 Edouard Molinaro : La Cage aux Folles R1/A Criterion

1980 Richard Rush : the Stunt Man R1/A Severin

1982 Wolfgang Petersen : Das Boot R1/A Sony

1983 Ingmar Bergman : Fanny and Alexander R1/A Criterion
1983 Mike Nichols : Silkwood R1 MGM

1984 Woody Allen : Broadway Danny Rose R1 MGM / RA Twilight Time

1985 Akira Kurosawa : Ran R1 Criterion / RA Studio Canal

1986 David Lynch : Blue Velvet R1/A MGM

1987 Lasse Hallstrom : My Life as a Dog R1/A Criterion

1988 Martin Scorsese : the Last Temptation of Christ R1/A Criterion

1989 Woody Allen : Crimes and Misdemeanors R1 MGM / RA Twilight Time
1989 Kenneth Branagh : Henry V R1 MGM

1990 Stephen Frears : the Grifters R1/A Echo Bridge
1990 Barbet Schroeder : Reversal of Fortune R1 Warners

1991 Ridley Scott : Thelma and Louise R1/A MGM
1991 John Singleton : Boyz in the Hood R1/A Sony

1992 Robert Altman : the Player R1/A Warners

1993 Robert Altman : Short Cuts R1 Criterion

1994 Woody Allen : Bullets Over Broadway R1 Miramax / RA/B/C Nordic Blu-ray
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski : Three Colors: Red R1/A Criterion

1995 Mike Figgis : Leaving Las Vegas R1/A MGM
1995 Tim Robbins : Dead Man Walking R1/A MGM

1996 Milos Forman : the People vs Larry Flynt R1/A Image

1997 Atom Egoyan : the Sweet Hereafter R1 New Line / RA Alliance (Canada)

1998 Peter Weir : the Truman Show R1/A Warners

1999 Spike Jonze : Being John Malkovich R1/A Criterion

2000 Stephen Daldry : Billy Elliot R1/A Universal

2001 David Lynch : Mulholland Drive R1/A Criterion
2001 Ridley Scott : Black Hawk Down R1/A Sony

2002 Pedro Almodovar : Talk to Her R1 Sony

2003 Fernando Meirelles : City of God R1/A Lionsgate

2004 Mike Leigh : Vera Drake R1 New Line

2006 Paul Greengrass : United 93 R1/A Universal

2007 Julian Schnabel : the Diving Bell and the Butterfly R1 Miramax / RA Alliance (Canada)

2014 Bennett Miller : Foxcatcher R1/A Sony

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domino harvey
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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#2 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:42 pm

If anything, this is continued proof that the Director's Branch is just a little bit cooler than the other branches in giving more foreign films noms, even if they did have an inexplicable over-affinity for Italian directors!

Not that I need another viewing project, but I've only seen 59/105 of these...

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#3 Post by movielocke » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:52 pm

Sorrell and Son isn't lost, it was rediscovered in 2003 or 2004 and the academy had a 2005 screening of the restored print.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#4 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:03 pm

Thanks for the info, looks like it's an East Lynne situation where only the ending is missing now

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#5 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:01 pm

Updated with Bennett Miller's nom for Foxcatcher

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#6 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:37 pm

Up to 74/107 by now. Here's some thoughts on nominated films I've seen in the interim and haven't discussed elsewhere:

Anna Christie (Clarence Brown 1930) The Academy inexplicably loved Brown, who was nominated four times for Best Director. I haven't seen all of his nominated films yet but I can't imagine any could be worse than this. Awful, broad performances that just go on untethered forever, terrible pacing, and a familiar story not told in a new or interesting fashion. "Gimme a whiskey" indeed!

the High and the Mighty (William A Wellman 1954) Wellman can be a great director, but I have no earthly idea what compelled the Academy to reward this static, talky, overlong disaster blueprint with a Best Director nod. John Wayne leads an ensemble cast of cliched archetypes as they brave an unlucky plane trip from Honolulu to San Francisco. Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling both got sympathy Best Supporting Actress noms for playing aging beauties (and Sterling has an especially memorable Oscar bait moment where she removes all of her makeup on-screen in one take while lamenting her age), though they like everyone else here barely register. This film has some of the clumsiest, least-graceful exposition I've ever seen-- the first hour of this 148 minute nightmare is nothing but a series of character set-ups (why did Airport decide to lift this aspect too when reviving the disaster flick decades later?) as the film grinds to a halt so everyone can get their little moment to shine, over and over and over.

In Cold Blood (Richard Brooks 1967) Strong performances from the leads and some nice visual bridging by Brooks. A bit too self-serious, maybe, and I didn't care for Quincy Jones' much-lauded score, but Brooks' approach at moving past his typical "Hollywood" trappings is more successful than most of his contemporaries, and Brooks' nomination isn't a surprise as he was very much already the Academy darling.

the Miracle Worker (Arthur Penn 1962) Hollywood gives us the story of Helen Keller and remarkably it is pitched nowhere near Medicine Cinema. Impressive and fearless performances from Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke justly won them Oscars. I was especially taken by Duke, who I've always associated with her TV work as "Cousins, identical cousins," but who really goes all out here-- I can't imagine any teenager being so unselfconscious as to be able to bare and contort themselves around in this fashion for all the world to see. The film's wild abandon at throwing the audience into the therapy sessions between Duke and Bancroft gives a new meaning to physical therapy, and Penn's violent film is audacious in letting some of the interactions between the two play out far longer than expected, especially an epic brawl around the dining table. The film is emotionally and almost physically exhausting to sit through, but fascinating and entertaining as well. Far superior to that other outsiders with mental health issues film nominated this year for Best Director, too!

Never On Sunday (Jules Dassin 1960) A mild enough piece of tourist film piffle with one major flaw on my end: I don't find Melina Mercouri even remotely compelling, attractive, engaging, or whatever else she's supposed to be here. So the film's repeated insistence that it's delivering up a free-spirited sex goddess falls completely flat for me, and too much of the film is structured around the assumption that an audience will be smitten with her prostitute. I also didn't like the film's final taste of anti-intellectualism either. That said, the film is a decent enough travelogue of sorts apart from that, but this is another "of the moment" nomination that doesn't hold up.

Speedy (Ted Wilde 1928) I like Harold Lloyd well enough but for me he's always been a second tier silent comedian behind you know who and the other you know who. But Speedy is the first Lloyd film I've seen where that ranking is called into question. This is one of the best pleasant surprises yet from this viewing exercise, a film with a good heart and an even better string of set pieces that never quite give into the ever-threatened chaos but instead deliver consistency in joke relation and inherent sketch comedy logic. Like a lot of silent comedy features this is really just a great collection of loosely connected comedy skits, and so there's a great series of build-ups and deliveries throughout the picture. Another great "New York City Film" to add to some future list, as well. So glad to hear Criterion's got this one lined up next for a Blu-ray upgrade, it's wonderful.

the Stunt Man (Richard Rush 1980) Hollywood directors rewarding inside baseball again. I know this was a critical success at the time with names like Pauline Kael singing its praises in addition to the Academy, but I found this to be a pretty middling "Making a movie" pic that never really lived up to the stated synopsis. Yes, the crazed director does blackmail a wanted criminal into working as a stunt man because his life is expendable, but this only covers a small portion of what is otherwise a far more familiar filmmaking film. O'Toole, nominated again as ever, is okay and I didn't dislike the film, but I don't think its inclusion here was merited.

Women in Love (Ken Russell 1969) Strong playful performances bolstered by equally playful filmmaking. Glenda Jackson won her first of two Best Actress Oscars, even though her role is about equal to or maybe even slightly smaller than the other three characters making up the main ensemble, awarded in part I suspect thanks to her show-stopping dance among some bison. The film has a lot of energy and audacity (as exemplified by the infamous nude wrestling match between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates), but the film unfortunately loses steam in the second half, though this may be attributed more to a fault in the source material. Still, when it works it works well, and while I'm not the biggest Ken Russell fan to begin with, I can appreciate and agree with the nod he received for this work.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#7 Post by knives » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:48 pm

I have to imagine Wellman was nommed mostly thanks to Wayne who as producer was surprisingly good at promoting his films to the academy even when they were as poor as this is.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#8 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:55 pm

The effusive Leonard Maltin introduction to the High and the Mighty is like it comes from another planet, though I do agree with his advice to just sit back and turn off your brain (paraphrasing). How can anyone think this and Island in the Sky are among Wayne's best films? Maybe gold from those Disney lapel pins seeped into his body and caused brain damage...

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#9 Post by knives » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:07 pm

Maybe he just likes colours, though this features some of the worst colour work out there so I don't even know. Wellman seemed infinitely more comfortable in black and white though Archie Stout is probably the main reason to blame even Island in the Sky's sheer ugliness.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#10 Post by Numero Trois » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:41 am

domino harvey wrote:Never On Sunday (Jules Dassin 1960) A mild enough piece of tourist film piffle with one major flaw on my end:
And Dassin's jerky acting was no help either. He's like a hapless Larry David minus the aggression but with the tics. After watching that one I can't help but picture him as the polar opposite of Sydney Pollack. Dassin- annoying screen presence / excellent director; Pollack- smooth, comforting screen presence / hackish director

And right on about The Stunt Man.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#11 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:21 pm

Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott 2001) Riding high on post-9/11 sentiment, this endless shoot-em-up military tale found a high profile spot here, but for what reason beyond vague patriotism is unclear. The ensemble cast of well-known faces all bleed together, pun definitely intended, but these kind of creaky war narratives do tend to work in spite of themselves. The true story is compelling, but there's an unsavory racist sheen to much of the action here, and the assailants attacking Our Boys are presented as anonymous black specters popping out of every cracked corner of the marketplace like shooting range targets.

Dead Man Walking (Tim Robbins 1995) Every film Robbins has directed is worthwhile and this doesn't buck the trend. Hinged on two great, memorable, and rightly-lauded perfs by Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon (the latter of which won, though both deserved it), the film plays things more or less straight and unadorned, and outside of some unnecessary flashback sequences, the film is mostly people in extraordinary pain and anguish talking around each other for two hours. Robbins keeps it alive and moving (in both senses) and his nomination is a rare exception for this round, as it makes complete sense-- other than the insanity that this wasn't nominated for Best Picture or Best Screenplay too. Recommended.

Divorce Italian Style (Pietro Germi 1962) Winner of Best Screenplay and nominated for Best Actor, this one had the approval of the Academy but I'm not sure to what ends other than its capturing of the growing Hollywood zeitgeist for Sex Comedies. This pained Italian farce about Marcello Mastrioanni's attempts to get away with killing his wife so he can marry his attractive young cousin goes through a lot of motions to convince the audience that the basic premise is worthwhile material for a comedy, though based on all evidence found here that's not the case. I warmed to it slightly as it went on, but I still left the film with barely a chuckle and the ending is predictable and rather a cheap punchline for all 104 minutes of wind-up. Germi's Seduced and Abandoned offers a slightly more interesting variation on the basic component parts present here, but neither is especially worthwhile (though this forum's dedicated thread to Divorce sure is inexplicably filled with vocal fans).

La Cage aux Folles (Edouard Molinaro 1979) About as dire as I expected from what little I could remember of Nichols and May's remake. I appreciated Criterion's extra about the history of drag far more than the film, especially since the scholar interviewed clearly didn't think much of the film (and even less of the remake). This is just phony sitcom bullshit perpetrating the same tired "outrageous queen" homosexual stereotypes, and just because it was one of the first to do so doesn't mean it has much merit as a film or otherwise-- especially if all it did was bring in films like Partners. Dreadful stuff.

Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis 1995) Nicolas Cage won an Oscar for this. Over Sean Penn's brilliant and transformative turn in Dead Man Walking, no less. I think we all need a couple drinks to forget this injustice. Cage is abominably bad in what I could charitably call the worst Best Actor winning performance I've ever seen. This movie is dreadful, full of dopey "jazzy" moments and ellipses that are self-important and drearily dumb. This looks like it was made for direct-to-Showtime Thursday nights in the 90s, not Awards Shows. What the fuck happened here?

Reversal of Fortune (Barbet Schroeder 1990) Fun speculative legal thriller depicting Alan Dershowitz' defense of Claus Von Bulow for the attempted murder of his socialite wife. Jeremy Irons won an Oscar for his performance as Von Bulow, but he's more of a supporting character to Ron Silver's excellent Dershowitz. Silver was robbed of a nomination, and the scenes between him and his legal eagles dominate the best parts of the film. Schroeder's alleged even-handed approach to the material is tipped a few times near the end when it becomes clear that the film is taking a side after all, but there's still plenty left to debate in this "What if" docudrama. Recommended.

Two Arabian Knights (Lewis Milestone 1927) One of two films to win a Best Director Oscar without being nominated for Best Picture (though technically it was for "Best Comedy Direction"), this is a nicely paced buddy pic about two American GIs in WWI who make their way out of a German prison camp and into the arms of Arabs. This is a charming movie, with some nice chemistry between the two leads (their romantic rivalry seems like a placeholder for their own attraction, a la Wings) and a handful of decent laughs. Plus the recurring dick jokes in the film show the Academy wasn't always so highfalutin!

United 93 (Paul Greengrass 2006) I dreaded this because I couldn't imagine ever wanting to spend two hours experiencing the slowly mounting dread of realizing you're going to die with a bunch of strangers on an airplane. The real-life tragedy of 9/11 will probably never be anything but fresh in the minds of those who were old enough to remember it firsthand, and nothing in this film ever answered the basic problem inherent in its existence. Namely, why does this film exist? Or, more specifically, why does this story need to be a movie? If you're not going to cast "name" actors (though I did recognize one of the lawyers from SVU) and you're not going to be clever or witty in dialog or acting or direction or &c, why do this? The faux-verite stylization is as tired here as it always is in Greengrass' work, and the first hour or so is tortuous in its awkward Mumblecore-ish construction. Reality isn't boring, the people we meet aren't boring, this situation is anything but boring, but this film does its best to be as phonily "real" as possible, and fails completely. Things thankfully pick up in the second half, and there are occasional speculative moments aboard the plane that work-- Greengrass' style is obnoxious, but credit where it's due, it works well for scenes of mass confusion and panic. But I never felt the film made a satisfying argument in favor of its own existence.

Weary River (Frank Lloyd 1929) A partly accurate title for this part-silent snoozer about reformed hoodlum Richard Barthelmess who finds the power of being a really shitty composer and singer while in the hoosegow and then finds himself shunned by potential audiences for his past while other ex-cons take advantage of his new calling. I have no earthly idea why the Academy nominated Lloyd for his work here, but he's such a lousy director in general that it's hardly fair to call it unusual on their part given how many awards and nominations they threw at him over the years.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#12 Post by dustybooks » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:41 pm

Dead-on, on all counts; Divorce Italian Style really bothered me. It just seemed crass, and I wondered if I was just becoming humorless in my old age; I like to think of myself as being fond of black comedy but in this film sheer pointless cruelty seemed to be the entire point. I did enjoy Mastrioanni's performance somewhat. After reading the dedicated thread I remember that I suddenly felt very dour and alone in my sourness!

I completely agree about Leaving Las Vegas. I don't think I can name another film that so shamelessly proffers the alcoholism-as-romantic-escapism cliche. I also thought Cage was terrible but I am not generally a fan. (I recently finished watching all of the Best Actor winners and was probably most irritated by Russell Crowe, but again, likely personal bias. On a similar note, you couldn't be more right about Ron Silver vastly upstaging Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune. Irons just seems generically weird and it's an odd performance to reward.)

And I too enjoyed Two Arabian Knights, which would be a more popular film it weren't so difficult to find.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#13 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:14 pm

Black Hawk Down is the movie Michael Bay always wishes he'd made. I think he's haunted by it: he tried to remake it as the third transformers film, and seems to be trying again with his new one. I think the problematic overtones regarding the enemy is endemic to war movies like this that want to recreate the subjective battle experiences of a particular side. I have no doubt that what Domino describes is what it was like fighting in the streets of Mogadishu. That doesn't stop it from being problematic as a dramatic story, but it's less bothersome than a more ideologically motivated movie that does the same thing.

Anyway, the movie is one of the great action films for how Scott sustains such a fever pitch for so long without exhausting the tension. It's an incredible experience. That said, it's been about a decade since I last saw it.

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#14 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:30 pm

All this talk of Black Hawk Down reminds me that the old Monkey Dust animation series did a satirical piece on the then current wave of jingoistic Hollywood War movies, although I slightly prefer the one on The Crusades! (Both clips are very NSFW!)

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Re: Alt Oscars Appendix: Best Directors Without Best Picture

#15 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:07 pm

domino harvey wrote:Black Hawk Down (Ridley Scott 2001) Riding high on post-9/11 sentiment, this endless shoot-em-up military tale found a high profile spot here, but for what reason beyond vague patriotism is unclear. The ensemble cast of well-known faces all bleed together, pun definitely intended, but these kind of creaky war narratives do tend to work in spite of themselves. The true story is compelling, but there's an unsavory racist sheen to much of the action here, and the assailants attacking Our Boys are presented as anonymous black specters popping out of every cracked corner of the marketplace like shooting range targets.
Mr Sausage wrote:Black Hawk Down is the movie Michael Bay always wishes he'd made. I think he's haunted by it: he tried to remake it as the third transformers film, and seems to be trying again with his new one. I think the problematic overtones regarding the enemy is endemic to war movies like this that want to recreate the subjective battle experiences of a particular side. I have no doubt that what Domino describes is what it was like fighting in the streets of Mogadishu. That doesn't stop it from being problematic as a dramatic story, but it's less bothersome than a more ideologically motivated movie that does the same thing.

Anyway, the movie is one of the great action films for how Scott sustains such a fever pitch for so long without exhausting the tension. It's an incredible experience. That said, it's been about a decade since I last saw it.
I'm more in line with what Sausage has to say, but domino's points about it's place in the immediate post-9/11 environment and what he perceives as the "unsavory racist sheen" can't be avoided too much in my opinion. On the writer's commentary, I think it was Mark Bowden who said Bruckheimer came to him and asked if there were more black servicemen during this battle, but as it turned out there were only two (and only one of them had a brief speaking part in the final film). What really hurts it in that respect is that the enemy is not portrayed on equal footing with the American troops, save the scenes with Osman Ali Atto and later with the militia member who has imprisoned one of the downed pilots.

That said, I think it still holds up on a technical and even an emotional level. The intent of showing both the bravery of the mission and it's humanitarian nature is somewhat pulled off. And it's now probably one of the most impressive ensemble casts in a major Hollywood movie of the last 15-plus years.

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