The Lamb Devours the Oscars 2021 – Best Director

oscars 2021 best director category

The 2021 Oscar nominees for Best Director are Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), David Fincher (Mank), Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round), and Chloé Zhao (Nomadland). As of this very moment when I haven’t really dwelled on who should win this category, I have no idea. I only know that while I adore Fincher’s work, Mank is not the movie that should bring him his first Oscar. Also, I’m conflicted to root for a female director here because this could be historic and amazing! But… I think… and I almost feel strange for saying this… I think I’m rooting for someone (slightly) surprising instead.

EMERALD FENNELL / PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

This is a controversial movie that I enjoyed but many had a lot of problems with. I just wasn’t too freaked out about the awful things and found it darkly entertaining. As far as directing goes I think this one stands out from the rest a little. It’s very bold in terms of choices and telling a dark story with such a bright undertone. It’s contradicting and that’s what makes it compelling.

As far as the Best Director nod goes, I’m a bit conflicted. On one hand it works so brilliantly but also it’s not the easiest to digest. It’s a heavy movie with an upbeat tone that can irritate some. In a way I find that bold and a great point of view to direct from. Some might disagree but I’m messed up so I guess that’s the way I like things. Will she win? Probably not but to have her and Zhao nominated together is a win in my book already.

DAVID FINCHER / MANK

This.. this movie is the end of me. For something so well made, well crafted, oh how much I disliked it. There are some movies that just never get to be on my good side and this is one of them. As somebody who doesn’t like black and white movies I’m even a bit disappointed I ended up watching this. Honestly, there was no other option for me besides not liking it.

Now the ultimate question is if this is a well directed movie? Well, it looks and feels like a movie out of this century so I think it is great. If you like that sort of thing, that’s great too. But is a movie that puts itself to a different time a great movie or is it a great tribute? Well.. for me it’s a tribute. Will Fincher win? No but it can take some of those technical awards, I’m fine with that.

THOMAS VINTERBERG / ANOTHER ROUND 

We have a Danish movie with Mads Mikkelsen playing one of the four main characters. The movie is about 4 teachers experiencing with alcohol based on the notion that you’d function better with some alcohol in your system. As far as the plot goes, I disliked it a lot. I’m very sad about it because it is a very intriguing movie with a dark side. Just my personal trauma is what made this a bit too mentally painful.

Direction wise Another Round was alright. It’s very Nordic, very familiar and feels like something from my own European country. But I didn’t find it too special. One stand out scene though was that party they had. The combination of dark tones and almost humming silence was brilliant. The last scene was also super fun. I felt those emotions in that scene so well. Will he win? Most likely not.

CHLOÈ ZHUNG / NOMADLAND

This was a movie that truly surprised me. I’m usually very hesitant to watch so minimalistic movies. Remember The Florida Project? I hated it. Nomadland has a very similar vibe to it but instead of staying in a hotel, our main character lives in an RV and travels around. This is a movie of a woman who has no place to call home really.

I loved the feel of this movie. The sheer amount of space this movie had was great. There was so much air to breathe and it gave the movie a lot of power over me. Zhung has won many awards for this and in my heart I do hope she wins this one. Will she win? Probably not. Although it would be magic if she does. Definitely worth a win too since my top 2 favourites are not just very good but also very similar.

LEE ISAAC CHUNG / MINARI

As you can probably tell by the amount of “probably won’t wins” here that we’ve made it to my favourite. Chung for me is the winner here. This is a personal story told with a lot of small details that feel all important. Like Nomadland Minari is not flashy. It doesn’t feel lost in style but rather tells an emotional story with patience. It’s also an important story and I feel like you can feel that through the screen as a viewer.

Big plus for me is also the variety of roles, the complexity of the story the roles tell us here. I feel like directing kids is a talent all on its own. And little Alan S. Kim is so brilliant here. Spunky and curious, serious but also the kind of kid who makes you happy It’s not perfect though but I feel like that’s part of its charm. Will it win? Yes, in my mind, it already won.

 

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