For me, one of the more interesting things to analyze about any given year's slate of Oscar nominees is how the Best Picture and Best Director lineups overlap. It seems that more often than not, they match each other completely. The last time a director was nominated for a film which didn't receive a Best Picture nod was Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly in 2008. Not surprisingly, over the last ten years or so, most oddball directing nominees come from foreign films.


The Academy's recent change to ten Best Picture nominees has provoked a lot of questions about the ceremony's future. Here is my most recent one: As long as the Academy stays with this format, what are the chances that there will ever be another directing nominee from a film not nominated for Best Picture? With ten nominees, I have to think that the Academy will continue to be more forgiving with regard to foreign pictures and even the more "obscure" films.  It seems that out of this past decade's oddball directing nominees, a great majority of these films - including United 93 (Paul Greengrass), Mulholland Drive (David Lynch), City of God (Fernando Meirelles) - would have received a Best Picture nod under the current ten-nominee format.


So, to reiterate, my question to you is this: With the ten-nominee format in place, how likely is it that a director will receive a nomination for a film which is excluded from the Best Picture category?

11 comments:

MovieNut14 said...

I don't think it'll be likely with the nominees raised to ten now.

Hal said...

Oooh, very interesting. Yeah, I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that all of the Best Director nominees will have their films nominated for Best Pic.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Probably not, I remember writing a slight post on this when the idea was first thrown out...but I was a bit happy because now things like The Diving Bell & the Butterfly could actually be called BP nominees. I'm fine with that.

The Kid In The Front Row said...

i don't know

Fitz said...

It would be nearly impossible with 10 BP nominees now. But the flipside of this is that the competition for Best Director becomes much more fierce.

Nolan better not be shut-out for Inception.

Jose said...

Won't happen probably and besides we all know that only the movies with corresponding director nods have the chance of winning anyway, so it's all pretty silly and anticlimactic in a way.

Danny King said...

Looks like we're all pretty much in agreement here.

@ Fitz: I'm with you all the way regarding Nolan.

@ Andrew & Jose: I think you two both make interesting points. Andrew seems to pleased that a film like "Diving Bell" would get a Best Picture nomination even though it would have very little shot at winning. I wonder if other fans of the film would feel the same way, or - more like Jose - if they would just look at it as a throwaway nomination.

James D. said...

It would be hard to take an Academy seriously if they said someone did one of the five best directing jobs of the year, but the film they had control over was not one of the ten best.

Danny King said...

@ James D.: I completely agree. Of course, I have trouble taking them seriously at the moment, so let's hope they don't make it even tougher.

Daniel Getahun said...

I'm in agreement as well (though I hadn't considered it at all before you posted this) - but what about screenplay nominees? Did they match up last year? With 10 screenplay nominees it seems like they should...kind of gets to whether people consider writing or directing as a sign of whether a film is "best" or not. Personally I think the screenplays are often underappreciated.

Danny King said...

@ Daniel Getahun: In terms of screenplays being under-appreciated, I couldn't agree more. I read a screenwriting autobiography recently, and the author mentioned how in most positive reviews of a film, the screenwriter is rarely mentioned, but in harsher reviews, the scribe is almost always attacked for his work.

With regard to your Oscar question, "Avatar" and "The Blind Side" - both Best Pic nominees - missed out on screenplay nominations. "In the Loop" and "The Messenger" took their spots.

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