Your Guide to the 89th Oscars: Best Director

Folks, it’s that time of year again. The greatest and most sacred of annual events is upon us, the ultimate expression of ostentatious refinement. More hyperbole.


The Oscar nominations for 2016 films have been released, and there is a whole lot of good, a little bad, and La La Land, to no one’s surprise. But who has time to sort through it all?! You’re busy, you don’t have time to form opinions on films you haven’t even seen!  Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here.

So please enjoy Part 6 of the One Ticket Please Official Guide to the 89th Oscars: Best Director. Reviews linked in red, with more to come!

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Do they deserve to win: Yes. Chazelle has a mastery of the integration of camera, color, and music that I have not seen matched in modern cinema. One only needs to watch the tight opening number to see his skill. He deserves this award.

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Do they deserve to win: No. This is another tough nomination to assess. While the combat scenes toward the third act of the film are incredible, and probably the height of his work, Gibson has never atoned for his anti-Semitism and ridiculousness. This is not someone who needs a platform or commendations beyond what he has already received. Consider Hacksaw for cinematography.

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Do they deserve to win: Yes. This is Jenkins first “major” production, and it’s brilliant. He elicits some fantastic performances from his actors, including creating a consistency across the three young men who play the lead. Like Chazelle, Jenkins also utilizes color and music and camera to create a spectacle. While Chazelle’s was bright and bouncy, Jenkins’ is intimate and close. He’s a filmmaker to watch and deserves this.

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchest by the Sea

Do they deserve to win: Haven’t seen it, but soon.

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Do they deserve to win: Yep. This would’ve been an incredibly easy film to screw up, given its eventual scope, but Villeneuve managed to make both an emotional character story and a genre-bending invasion film work in under 2.5 hours. The integration of the soundtrack and the excellent visual effects added to a film that deserves a spot atop the best of the genre. They wouldn’t be wrong to pick him.

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Originally from the bear-infested schools of Wyoming, but now lives in Chicago. More importantly, he achieved minor Twitter fame once and hasn’t stopped bringing it up since. He has a healthy obsession with Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Bulbasaur. Please validate him by following him on Twitter, @ericsmorals

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