This awards season, we’ve been hearing a lot of the same names, a consistent “Oscar nominee to be” drumbeat for Richard Linklaker (“Boyhood”), Alejandro Innuritu (
“Birdman”) Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and Morten Tylden (“The Imitation Game”).
Among those tossed about for that fifth slot might be Tim Burton (“Big Eyes”), James Marsh (“The Theory of Everything”), Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”) or J.C. Chandor (“A Most Violent Year”).
It’s not sexism that kept Angelina Jolie (“Unbroken”) or Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) out of the talk. Their movies weren’t on the same plane with the others.
But that argument fails to hold water when the DGA throws another bone Clint Eastwood’s way for “American Sniper.” It’s his best film in a few years, but it’s no better than “Selma,” and he’s been honored and honored and honored, often for mediocre work, over the decades. What the hey?
Nobody has been talking up the fine Bradley Cooper performance in the lead, though we could have. He’s the best thing in it. But the movie is a serious whitewashing of the actual sniper, and the controversy around it (and “Selma”) will not go away. It’s damaged goods, and it will be hard to see it having any chance when Oscar nominations are announced Thursday.
The DGA is a very good predictor of Oscar nominations for director, and while there are so many worthy folks already not getting noticed for fine work, wasting a nomination on Eastwood seems ridiculous, as if they’re expecting him to lure in the 80 year old Republican audience on Oscar night. Honoring for his career? It’s been done and done and done. Crews love him because he shoots short days, thanks to not having the patience to do multiple takes. But a movie like “The Jersey Boys” must have been more pleasant for the crew than the audience. This is not right.