The 92nd Academy Awards are almost upon us, and if there’s one certainty going into Oscar night, it’s that some worthy talent in some category will be overlooked in favor of a lesser talent. No nominee or winner is undeserving of recognition, but snubs are also an essential part of Oscar history and directors are not immune to them. In fact, some of the greatest directors of all time have gone their whole career without receiving a proper Best Director Oscar.
Film is fundamentally a collaborative medium, and we’re only a little over a month removed from a decade where the movie industry shifted to a more producer-controlled landscape in which IP-friendly tentpoles seemed to occupy all the best real estate. Yet the best directors, the ones with the most singular voice or vision, do tend to bolster the case for auteur theory, whereby a director can be considered a film’s primary author. With that in mind, here’s a roughly chronological look at ten great film authors eluded by the golden statuette for Best Director. With each name on this list, we’ll be seeking to answer three questions: who did they lose to (if they were ever nominated), what film or films should they have won for, and why, oh, why didn’t they ever win?
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Alfred Hitchcock has directed some of the most iconic movies of all time. Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Rear Window, The Birds, Dial M for Murder and the list goes on and on. That’s enough to ensure that he gets added to the growing number of filmmakers being turned into the stylized vinyl collectible figures known as Funko POPs.
Funko has announced an Alfred Hitchcock Funko POP will be arriving just in time for Halloween season this fall, and he even comes with a clapboard referencing what is arguably his most famous movie of all time. Read More »
Shelley Duvall’s frantic, desperate face throughout almost the entire runtime of director Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining will forever be burned in my memory. Not only because it’s brilliant and deeply unsettling (as is the film). It’s also because amid that is the actual terror and sheer exhaustion Duvall experienced while having to deliver and re-deliver countless takes of her character being emotionally battered to the point where, to the actress’ own admission, it had become “excruciating.” Further, she felt no vindication for all that effort as the conversation around the film later centered on its male auteur. “The reviews were all about Kubrick, like I wasn’t there,” Duvall told Roger Ebert back in 1980.
This is an all too familiar position that many actresses find themselves in for the sake of authenticity, a sense of suffering that almost always serves as an impetus for the female character’s eventual empowerment. While the character’s self-actualization is an important one — apparently at whatever cost — there is much to be said about how a male filmmaker interprets and navigates female characters whose bodies are first consumed by audiences before they utter even a single line of dialogue. That said, they are either weaponized, brutalized, lusted after or a combination of all these things.
But those aren’t conditions that a male filmmaker often considers when it comes to his female muse, which indicates a lack of partnership in the portrayal that is more prevalent between a male filmmaker and a male muse. As a result, the character is at risk of becoming compromised through the male gaze. With all of this in mind, let’s explore some of the most renowned female muse/male director pairings on screen.
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Matt Zoller Seitz and Simon Abrams have created a stunning, essential new book devoted to Guillermo del Toro‘s 2001 gothic horror movie The Devil’s Backbone. Through in-depth interviews with del Toro and the cast and crew of the film, the Devil’s Backbone book details both the making of one of del Toro’s best films, and del Toro’s insights into filmmaking as a whole.
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Steven Spielberg is one of our greatest living filmmakers. While some may want to write the Jaws filmmaker off as nothing more than a purveyor of popular blockbusters, very few directors understand the language of cinema as well as Spielberg. While many filmmakers can’t block a shot to save their lie, Spielberg can convey an entire story wordlessly with his imagery. He’s one of the medium’s true masters.
Susan Lacy‘s new HBO documentary Spielberg takes a look at the successful filmmakers vast career, and we picked out 10 revealing facts from the Spielberg documentary that you should know. And then you should watch the doc for yourself, of course.
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Psycho is one of the most acclaimed thrillers ever made. In fact, Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1960 classic is one of the best films of all time, regardless of genre. It’s been studied endlessly by scholars, cinephiles and film critics alike, and now a new documentary breaks down the film’s most iconic scene, pouring over every significant detail to find a deeper meaning.
78/52 hails from director Alexandre O. Philippe, who sat down with filmmakers like Peter Bogdanovich, Eli Roth and Guillermo del Toro, writer Bret Easton Ellis, legendary editor Walter Murch, composer Danny Elfman, actor Elijah Wood, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Oz Perkins, the respective children of Psycho stars Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, for a film that meticulously breaks down the three-minute sequence composed of 78 camera set-ups and 52 edits.
Watch the Psycho documentary trailer below to see what we’re talking about. Read More »
At one point, a remake of The Birds was going to hail from producer Michael Bay. Now, a TV remake is in the works from producer David Heyman (Harry Potter). Heyman is collaborating with BBC to turn the story of Alfred Hitchcock‘s 1963 classic into a television drama at the BBC.
Below, learn more about The Birds remake.
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Martin Landau, the Oscar-winning character actor who has worked with acclaimed directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, and Tim Burton, has died at the age of 89.
He is perhaps best known by modern audiences for his role as the down-on-his-luck Bela Lugosi in the black comedy Ed Wood, the Burton-directed biopic of the titular director of cult “bad” movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space. Landau won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role, after being nominated twice before for roles in Tucker: The Man and His Dream and Crimes and Misdemeanors.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
In today’s edition of Cool Stuff, we take a look at a new line of limited edition t-shirts celebrating director Alfred Hitchcock, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tiki mugs, Parks and Rec Funko Pop figures, Hot Toy’s sixth scale R2-D2 figure, Disney VHS notebooks, a cute He-Man and Battlecat Dorbz Ridez, some great prints inspired by Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda, a Star Wars Death Star and TIE Fighter pin dot tie and a highly detailed sixth scale Star Trek Bones figure.
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We feature plenty of collectible artwork here at /Film, but nearly all of them pay tribute to movies and TV, but not the people who make them. That changes today with a series of filmmaker portraits that are positively stunning.
Julian Rentzsch has created a series of portraits paying tribute to iconic directors such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Alfred Hitchcock, Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick and more. Check out the Julian Rentzsch director portraits after the jump. Read More »