Here we are again, at the beginning of the end. With the Frank Lloyd’s Drag regrettably on hold for the foreseeable future, ten directors remain:
- Herbert Brenon for Sorrell and Son (1927/28)
- Norman Taurog for Skippy (1930/31)
- Alfred Hitchcock in Lifeboat (1944)
- King Vidor for War and Peace (1956)
- Costa-Gavras for Z (1969)
- Bernardo Bertolucci for Last Tango in Paris (1973)
- Richard Rush for The Stunt Man (1980)
- Robert Altman for Short Cuts (1993)
- Terrence Malick for The Thin Red Line (1998)
- Steven Soderbergh for Traffic (2000)
I’ve saved one nomination from each of the first nine decades of the Academy Awards, plus Short Cuts and I’ll watching them in order, starting the 1st Academy Awards up to the brink of the 21st Century before hopping back for Robert Altman’s sprawling Los Angeles story tomorrow night. The list, even as I’ve whittled it down from fifty to twenty-five to ten, remains an incredible spectrum of filmmaking. The nominated individuals range from 32 to 68, hailing from five countries and running the gamut from auteur to journeyman, iconoclast to old master. The films themselves include an adaptation of a comic strip as well as the most revered novel ever written, a depiction of the vast Battle of Guadalcanal as well as a single vessel adrift on the opposite side of the world. In terms of Oscar history, the group ranges from blips on the radar to awards season centerpieces and includes the youngest Best Director winner in history, three of the most-nominated directors who never won the award, and the only director to officially beat himself in the race.
On the one hand, just as I did last time, I’m feeling the pangs of closing out another chapter of Oscar history, though my regret is tempered by my eagerness to revisit some of the great films I’ve encountered along the way. Perhaps I ought to be glad that Frank Lloyd’s Drag still eludes my grasp, offering me one last bit line yet to be written. On the other hand, when I say I can’t wait to watch these films, I not only mean that I’ve been looking forward to some of these films for years and years, but also that I’ve got a little over 24 hours to get the first nine checked off before Short Cuts comes onscreen at 7:30 tomorrow evening. I know I promised this last time, but the posts henceforth will, by necessity, be quite a bit shorter as I race to the finish. Wish me luck!