POLL: Which recently off-his-game director do you expect to hit paydirt this Oscar season?

Posted by · 2:14 pm · August 4th, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona director Woody AllenIt’s been a couple of weeks since we introduced a new sidebar poll — tons going on, apologies. But suffice it to say, “The Dark Knight” beat out eight other highly regarded comic book films to be the readers’ choice for best all-time in the genre. No shock there, though it took more votes than I anticipated overall.

This week, with the rush to anoint Jonathan Demme a prodigal son returned following the debut of the “Rachel Getting Married” trailer, I thought it would be fun to suss out what readers think of a few filmmakers testing the awards waters with new product this season after a number of missteps in recent memory.

The aforementioned Demme is coming off of a couple of largely ignored documentaries and forgettable narrative entries such as “Beloved,” “The Truth About Charlie” and, to a lesser extent, “The Manchurian Candidate.”

Woody Allen, meanwhile, is stepping up to the plate with “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” a critical fave out of Cannes following years of missteps since “Sweet and Lowdown” (save for “Match Point,” which had its followers).

Spike Lee hasn’t exactly turned the heads of awards-giving bodies all that much for some time, though he looks to dive back into the fray with “Miracle at St. Anna,” and Jim Sheridan is coming off the miscalculation of “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” with the Susanne Bier remake “Brothers.”

So…tell us in the poll.  Which of these recently off-the-mark helmers has the best shot at reclaiming former glory with his resepective awards hopeful this season?

→ 15 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

15 responses so far

  • 1 8-04-2008 at 2:57 pm

    Ivan said...

    The best shot is for Spike Lee. Miracle at St. Anna could be the right vehicle for him to be a strong contender.
    It´s a good opportunity to recognize the man in charge of 25th Hour, Do the Right Thing, He Got Game, Inside Man and Malcom X.

  • 2 8-04-2008 at 3:28 pm

    Chad said...

    It’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” Kris, although your version suggests an interesting spinoff where 50 Cent unwittingly pisses off John McClane.

    As for the poll, where’s the none of the above option?

  • 3 8-04-2008 at 3:30 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Live Free or Die Hard, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Maybe it SHOULD have been a hybrid.

    Truth be told, I was watching the former when I typed this out, so there’s a reason for the snafu. But there’s no excuse for me watching that film again, so I’m screwed either way.

    Thanks for the correction in any case. ;)

  • 4 8-04-2008 at 5:14 pm

    Fielding said...

    Well, it’s not Woody, since he hasn’t been “off his game” in the first place, you cretin.

  • 5 8-04-2008 at 5:14 pm

    John Foote said...

    Agree with Ivan…Spike is deserving of some recognition and his war film may provide that — coming to Toronto, cannot wait to see it — he was deserving so many times back as far as Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X , and his docs, even though they aired on HBO first…here’s hoping the films is good first, and the Academy honors him with at least if a nomination for direction if it is…and I would not mind seeing Woody back on the nominee list…thought it might happen for Match Point…

  • 6 8-04-2008 at 8:42 pm

    Proman said...

    Can I just say that Fielding’s comment is the funniest (and truest) thing I read all week?

  • 7 8-04-2008 at 10:37 pm

    head_wizard said...

    I’d say Woody Allen, but even then I’d guess just screenplay and supporting actress

  • 8 8-04-2008 at 11:44 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I still concider “When The Leavees Broke” the greatest “film” of 2007, so I think Lee deserves it more for his daring.

  • 9 8-05-2008 at 12:03 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Proman and Fielding: If you both adore Scoop, can’t help you.

  • 10 8-05-2008 at 12:03 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    That said, saw Vicky tonight, and it’s an absolute gem.

  • 11 8-05-2008 at 9:11 am

    Roman said...

    Kris, I don’t adore “Scoop” at all but I’ve enjoyed it for what it was (and yes, you can say that there are certain aspects of it that I admired: in particular the theatrically with which the afterlife was presented).

    And Allen is still one of my favorite writers/directors/actors partially because I nearly always understand his style and to my that allows to appreciate even those works other people may be dismissive about.

    Let me ellaborate. When a director (who has always been primary creative force for ALL of his body of work) is this prolific it tells you something about him. He shouldn’t just be evaluated as a craftsman or artist in the typical sense, he must be looked on at as someone who’s trying to get something out. I’m not exactly sure how to explain what I mean here rather than to say that “quality” in the typical sense may not apply here because the output is more dependent on the particular frame of mind he is currently in. Which is why you get “gems” like “Match Point” and “Vicky” in between works like “Scoop” (a project he made for himself – a fact that I’m completely happy with and a movie I can still very much enjoy)

    It’s like when you have a favorite short story writer. Even if a certain story doesn’t remind you why you became his/her fan in the first place, it is still a gift as long as there is a certain amount of connection to the other works.

    With Allen I never lose this sense of continuity.

    And let’s face it. I think Allen has always been like that. I think it’s an exaggeration to say that he’s been in decline in the past decade, because for every “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, there was “Shadows and Fog”, “Zelig” or “Alice”.

    Hope this clarifies my position somewhat.

  • 12 8-05-2008 at 9:43 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    The early missteps for Allen are all far more interesting than the recent ones. There is a huge rift between a failure like “Shadows” (which I quite like) and a failure like “Curse of the Jade Scorpion.”

    You’re free to like him as you wish, of course, but it’s certainly not out of bounds to include him on this poll. People haven’t been seeking out his “return to form” the past however many years for nothing, you know.

  • 13 8-05-2008 at 10:59 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’m puzzled, Proman (or Roman?) – I know “Shadows and Fog” and “Alice” don’t have that many followers (I personally think the latter is among his loveliest films), but surely “Zelig” is an unequivocal success?

    That aside, I agree with you that he never had this distinct “loss of form” that people talk about – it’s not as if he ever had a regular rhythm to his career. Some (not me) would say he had a bad patch in the early 80’s, after all.

  • 14 8-05-2008 at 1:16 pm

    Chad said...

    How come we’ve had no mention of the Justin Timberlake to host the Oscars rumor on this blog? Considering the sources, I can understand thinking there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell, but surely someone on this staff has an opinion on the matter.

    I, for one, think it would be a great choice.