If 2014 is the year of the auteur, with filmmakers driving their independent visions onto the screen without the benefit of megabudgets—I’m not talking to you, Christopher Nolan—the battle for Best Director will come down to who executed that vision most successfully. And it’s sure to be a hell of a race.
The locks, in my opinion, go to four directors with distinct, incisive points of view: Richard Linklater for his 12-year effort Boyhood, one of the year’s best-reviewed movies, which excels in transcending what could have been little more than a gimmick (it also nabbed prizes for director, picture and supporting actress from the New York Film Critics Monday); Alejandro G. Iñarritú, the brooding Mexican who lightened up (finally) this year with Birdman, a dark comedy that feels like a bright jazz riff; David Fincher, who turned the pitch-black best-seller Gone Girl into a $160 million juggernaut that mixes stylized pulp with impeccable craft; and Ava DuVernay, the rising filmmaker who is stunning audiences with her grand-but-intimate portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Adding oomph to her odds, she would be the first African-American woman—and only the fifth woman ever—to land a directing nod. READ FULL STORY