The fact that Jason Reitman, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker for 2009’s “Up in the Air” and 2007’s “Juno,” has a pair of titles vying in this year’s race — May’s motherhood drama “Tully” and the politically-charged “The Front Runner,” opening November 7 (right after Election Day) — is not as uncommon as it might seem.
There is a sizable club of double-dipping directors who have often figured during awards season with more than one movie at their disposal, ranging from the ever-prolific Alfred Hitchcock, who regularly had more than a single feature in a year, to Steven Spielberg, probably the king of the two-timers.
Speaking to The Globe and Mail earlier this year, Reitman was asked about juggling two films at the same time. His reply: “I don’t feel like I’m juggling, because my job has nothing to do with the release of the movie. It’s about the creation of the film.”
It helps that the two features – both rather timely — have very different premises and critical reactions so far. “Tully,” which reunites Reitman with his “Young Adult” star Charlize Theron and its screenwriter Diablo Cody, reflects the highs and lows of having a baby in this day and age. In “The Front Runner,” Hugh Jackman plays Gary Hart, a 1988 Democratic presidential candidate whose campaign was sunk when he was exposed as being in an extramarital affair.
For now, summer release “Tully” has a 86 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, while “The Front Runner” earned a less-enthusiastic response after making the rounds on the fall film fest circuit with a 65 percent RT rating.
Another helmer with Oscar cred who also has two films this year is Clint Eastwood, an old hand at pulling the stunt. That is because his “The 15:17 to Paris,” a re-creation of a 2015 attempted terrorist attack on a train, was moved from 2017 to early this year. “The Mule,” the true story about an elderly man (Eastwood, of course) who smuggled cocaine across the Mexican border, will arrive on December 14.
Let’s look at 10 other auteurs (including Eastwood’s other instances of doubling up) who had a pair of aces released in the same year – some multiple times — with at least one excellent title landing on the Oscar ballot. Tour our photo gallery above of these all-time greats and see which ones makes the list.