Monday, January 08, 2007

Which Mexican Director Will Wow DGA?

The wonderful Sasha Stone over at OscarWatch is thinking about the rapidly approaching DGA announcement. She asked me for my predictions so why not share them with you as well? I went with the following men:
Of course now that I've sent them I'm having doubts. It's kind of backwards logic but I'm more hopeful that Cuarón can slip into the eventual Oscar directing shortlist than the guild shortlist for his exceptional work on Children of Men. It's strange but the DGA shortlist is usually more indicative of where Oscar's Best Picture list will be than it's Director's list. So I probably should've replaced Cuarón with Dreamgirls' Bill Condon. I'm still angry at Universal for sitting on Children of Men rather than releasing it early enough for it to properly build. Movies that improve with age and second viewings warrant earlier releasing. This is not a complicated concept. Movies that blow their wad right away like oh, say, Dreamgirls need the safety of December.


One has to wonder how much mileage Children of Men and Pan's Labyrinth in particular can get when they're essentially competing with each other for last second "oh this is cool" attention. In many cases they're even sharing media stories with Babel which is already firmly established as a big Oscar contender. The 'Three Amigos' story of this friendly trio of acclaimed Mexican filmmakers makes for a great press angle but won't it divvy up the votes too much for a true impact?

I hope that the movie studios have noticed that the movies doing particularly well this year in precursors: The Departed, The Queen, Babel and Little Miss Sunshine all opened by October. It'd be nice if December was free of this mad rush of last minute Oscar releases and we could all just enjoy the holidays and maybe see favorite movies again without the pressure to see a million new ones. It'd be nice if awards bodies really had time to think their choices through. It'd be nice if money grew on trees, I had an unending supply of chocolate and Clive Owen was my personal loveslave

As for my own awards


Don't look so worried, Clive. There'll be some action for Children of Men --it improves so markedly on second viewing I'm ready for a third. The 7th annual FiLM BiTCH Awards start in force tomorrow.

previous related posts:
The Three Amigos -Cuarón, Iñárritu, Del Toro
Catblogging: Children of Men -Clive Owen loves the putty tats.
Oh Guillermo JA reveals the masturbatory weirdness of the Pan's Labyrinth auteur

22 comments:

Reuven Roslyn said...

it's really interesting how quickly the Mexican film-industry has proliferated. In my humble opinion, three of this year's five best directors are all Mexican -- Cuaron, Innaritu and Del Toro. Is it safe to say that Mexico is now up there with Germany, France, Spain, Japan and the USA at the forefront of cinema? I think so.

Kamikaze Camel said...

"The Departed, The Queen, Babel and Little Miss Sunshine"

*cough*

and United 93.

I know you're not that much of a fan, but I just watched it again and it really is some of the bravest and most assured filmmaking I've seen in a long time. It's sad that so many people can say it's so great yet it will probably not get a DGA nod and only has a small chance at Oscar.

I don't buy Academy members saying they "can't" watch it. It's their job. If they don't watch a film that has won all these prizes then they don't deserve to be able to vote. Simple.

Kamikaze Camel said...

reuven, Only Del Toro's film is actually from Mexico though, isn't it? I suppose you could say some of Babel is.

Cuaron deserves some big attention, but I'm sick of the Innaritu lovein. His direction was the worst part of it all - except for maybe the screenplay.

adam k. said...

I don't see what's wrong with the Babel's direction. All the problematic stuff starts in the writing.

J.D. Judge said...

My Predictions:

LOCKS
Martin Scorsese
Stephen Frears

PROBABLE
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

UNCERTAIN
Gullermo del Toro
Paul Greengrass
Clint Eastwood (LFIJ)
Alfonso Cuaron
Bill Condon

This seems like something that predicting 5 of 5 is based on blind luck.

Andy Scott said...

I'm glad you liked Children of Men a second time. I saw it a couple weeks ago and I still find myself thinking about it. In a perfect word, not only would Cuaron grab a surprise nod but Clive Owen would as well. Talk about a great, reserved performance.

Bruno Packer said...

Reuven,

Kind of funny you see things that way. When no one here sees the "light at the end of the tunnel" for the Mexican film industry. Just today an amazing piece of writing showed up in our Financial Times, pointing at some facts that were scary.

"Is it safe to say that Mexico is now up there with Germany, France, Spain, Japan and the USA at the forefront of cinema?"

Sorry to disagree but a blunt and definite NO! 60 films were produced last year. Only 20 came to theatrical exhibition. At this pace in the following 5 years we'll have around 200 films! that will never see the light in theaters.

The fact that those overrated films were made abroad (Spain, UK and USA) is no good sign for the state of Mexican cinema. Everybody flees.

I would love to see United 93 getting a DGA nod. However if it doesn't get it, bye, bye to Oscar to Greengrass and his film.

Agustin said...

not even del toro's is mexican.. it has an all spanish cast and it was filmed entirely in spain, i'm guessing the crew is also spanish
i'm wishing greengrass gets nominated, if not, it is the end for his possible oscar nomination

Anonymous said...

WOW! Somebody has an issue with mexican cinema. May people say Babel is not good and there are some detractors for both Pan's and Children, but saying that the three of them are overrated it seems more than a coincidence. Even then I agree with you that mexican cinema isn't there with all that other countries. I'm from Mexico and I had seen real mexican movies and most of them are really bad. The main problem is that there is not any support from government or private investment. As a mexican I really don't feel so proud about this movies because it was only the creative part that its mexican.

Bruno Packer said...

Calling these films overrated it's how I actually feel about them. Don't care if they have a Mexican director behind the camera. If somehow this makes you feel better, I also found Volver very overrated.

Usually some Mexican film makes it to my Top Ten. In 2004 it was A Thousand Clouds of Peace. In 2005 there were two: Adán y Eva todavía and Alan Coton's masterpiece Soba. 2006 will have an intriguing piece of work by Jesús-Mario Lozano called Así. I don't despised Mexican cinema. I just take it for what it is. And industry that is capable of filming the best and the worst, but is not able to let people live well off on making movies.

JoJo said...

If Alfonso got in I don't know what I would do....pretty much scream at the top of my lungs for minutes.

God I hope it happends. Children of Men is just so goddamn good.

JavierAG said...

Alfonso Cuarón is godlike, however del Toro is just merely starting to be awesome and Iñárritu is getting more atrocious by the day. I hope it's Alfonso or Guillermo for the Oscars.

Nick Davis said...

I agree that Babel and especially Pan's Labyrinth are overrated (at least insofar as Babel's reception has been much more mixed, so it's hard to claim it's been "overrated" too highly). Haven't seen Children of Men yet.

It's also interesting to watch Carlos Reygadas' Battle in Heaven, released in the States in January '06, alongside these other films. It's a deeply limited and in many ways an arrogant film, but I appreciated seeing a Mexican portrayal of contemporary Mexican social and political dynamics that can hardly be said to have styled its aesthetics to the tastes of international audiences.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen PAN, but I would favour UNITED 93 over CHILDREN OF MEN. For all its eloquence of mise-en-scene, Cuaron's direction faces an uphill battle with the non-committal final 15 minutes of the film, whereas Greengrass's flies home on that final mad rush. If people priveledge the ending of a film over the beginning - as most people tend to - Greengrass is the more conservative bet.

And Bill Condon is more conservative still.

adam k. said...

Condon's direction is absolutely not award-worthy. I'm hoping the directors' branch can see that.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad your Children of Men grade went up on second viewing!

I was hoping the third time would be the charm for Little Miss Sunshine and your critical eye, but I guess not.

Ah well...

I've had the same number one as you every year you've been doing this online with the exceptions of 2000 and 2002, so I'm certainly anticipating your top ten list!

Kamikaze Camel said...

"i'm wishing greengrass gets nominated, if not, it is the end for his possible oscar nomination"

Not true. If Greengrass doesn't get a DGA nod his chances of getting the lone director spot are still as good as anyone considering the lone director rarely gets a DGA nod. Or so OscarWatch tells me.

amir_uk said...

Am I the only the one who thought Pan's Labyrinth was absolutely atrocious? I'm beginning to think so. It was incredibly facile, its narrative structure was so conservative, and it didn't even look that good. The acting was very hammy pretty much all round. Terrible work.

Children of Men I've only seen once - but to me it was a beautiful-looking work, but incredibly hollow and had real unfulfilled promise. Perhaps that is the underlying point of the film. More so, it was a case of rush job, methinks.

And Babel I LOVED! It just blew me away - I thought it was elegant, magnificent and so so well-rounded. All the cracks that people see in the links between the three parts - I don't. The argument that it is unrealistic to link all those people together across the world just DOES NOT HOLD UP! You wouldnt throw that argument at a modernist novel or conceptual art, so you shouldn't at narrative film either. Symbol SHOULD preside over story.

How come I'm so off consensus with regards to these three?

Marcelo said...

Talking about what really matters:

I'm very happy to see Aronofsky and Cuarón nominated for best director.

Can't wait for the rest...

NATHANIEL R said...

amir --you're not the only one disappointed with Pan's but it is 'off consensus', yes.

I thought it was good but crazy overpraised --and I agree with your critiques only not as emphatically -- and Modern Fabulousity actually gave it the thumbs down and is now under attack by crazed fans (since it can't reach 100% on rotten tomatoes now)

Nick Davis said...

Amir - Those criticisms are exactly the ones I have of the movie, too, though in slightly muffled degree. I didn't think it was "atrocious," but it certainly seemed pedestrian at many points and middlingly conceived.

Tim Robey's review in the Daily Telegraph cut wonderfully to the heart of the film's problems, I thought, without being ungenerous or insensitive to its successes.

daveylow said...

SPOILER
Though Pan may be overpraised, I have to say it was gutsy to make a film with a child whom you totally sympathize with getting shot to death at the end.