The last time someone won back-to-back Oscars for Best Director was Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who prevailed for "A Letter to Three Wives" (1949) and "All About Eve" (1950). Prior to that, John Ford had won two of his record four Oscars consecutively for helming "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) and "How Green Was My Valley" (1941). Now, Oscar's reigning directing champ, Alejandro G. Inarritu ("Birdman"), has a heck of a chance of pulling off a repeat victory this year thanks to his visual masterpiece "The Revenant." Will Inarritu be the first helmer in 65 years to pull off a double-director Oscar whammy?
Due out on Christmas day, "The Revenant" is the true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) who hunts down the man (Tom Hardy) who left him for dead after a bear attack in the Dakota Territory of 1823. Inarritu and Mark L. Smith wrote the screenplay based on a 2002 novel of the same name by Michael Punke.
While film reviews are embargoed until December 4, a slew of those attending early screenings in Los Angeles have taken to Twitter to voice their near-unanimous praises. Read our roundup of raves for Inarritu and DiCaprio right here.
"We had the great opportunity to rehearse for months in advance for most of the scenes, and [the initial battle] scene was rehearsed for almost a month with every detail," Inarritu explained in the Q&A following Monday's screening at the academy.
The filmmaker spoke extensively about the making of that sequence and others, all of which contain the roaming, unbroken, naturally-lit shots that have become the trademark of Emmanuel Lubezki. He is tipped to become the first cinematographer to claim three consecutive Oscars following wins for "Birdman" (2014) and "Gravity" (2013).
According to our 22 Oscar Experts drawn from major media such as Yahoo, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, Inarritu is currently tied for second place in the Best Director race with David O. Russell ("Joy"). Both men have 5/1 odds while frontrunner Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight") has leading odds of 14/5.
Will Inarritu be the first person since 1950 to win back-to-back Best Director Oscars? Our readers, many of whom are Hollywood insiders, have been debating this hot topic in our all-new, much faster and easier-to-navigate forums. Read some of their comments below and then join the discussion in our forums here.
jhaddad: Even with all of the praise coming out of the first screening I'm still not convinced Inarritu will receive a nomination. The 2012 Oscars proved that the director's branch follows their own rules and that year they left out two recent winners (Bigelow and Hooper) so that they could welcome in newcomers and under appreciated veteran directors.
RakocijaMarko: I think he's taking it, but he will have serious competition in Haynes and O. Russell. Personally, I don't see McCarthy or Ridley Scott coming anywhere near Inarritu. Also Paolo Sorrentino is a dark horse.
KyleBailey: Dobutful. He's no Spielberg or Scorsese. No one is jumping for the chance to give him another one.
vinny: Honestly, I want him to win back to back Oscars (sight unseen obviously since the movie isn't out yet) but my gut is saying Russell will win this if the movie is good.
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