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21st Century Best Director update: what next?

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    Cordelia
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    So I was doing research on Alejandro González Iñárritu wondering what his next film is, so I’m collating an update on every Oscar winning director that won starting 2000 and seeing what their next project is. I will expand with earlier wins if there’s interest.

    2000: Steven Soderbergh

    Soderbergh has always been quick to follow up with new projects, so the memory of the disappointing The Laundromat is going to likely be forgotten. His next release will be a Meryl Streep comedy Let Them All Talk… but that’s on HBO Max so it’s a big question mark for Oscars eligibility.

    He’s also got a lot of other stuff in the pipeline (including a miniseries with the Gotti scriptwriter, eep). I’m not sure he’s ever going to get another Oscar, but he’s busy.

    2001: Ron Howard

    Like Steven Soderbergh, Ron Howard just kinda pumps out a lot of work, alternating between pulpy blockbusters and more introspective Oscar candidates. He’s reliable at results.

    This year will be a big one, as Hillbilly Elegy is an adaptation of well-regarded source material featuring multiple actresses who have overdue narratives. Netflix also benefits from not needing to shuffle around release schedules as much as the conventional studio system, so expect this to be up there as a candidate.

    2002: Roman Polanski

    An Officer and A Spy has had its… eventful awards run in Europe, where a lot of rightful scrutiny got thrown his way, as well as a lot of awards over a very competitive year for European and French cinema.

    But he has enough defenders in Europe that he’ll probably keep making movies, and keep getting awards in the European circuit for them. I’m not sure he’s going to have another shot at the Oscars ever again, but more hypocritical things have happened so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    2003: Peter Jackson

    I have no idea what the fuck Peter Jackson is doing. The combination of the Hobbit trilogy and his production and scriptwriting for Mortal Engines have tainted his reputation as a blockbuster epic-maker somewhat. His long in-development Halo film and Tintin sequel are probably not happening.

    At the same time, he has become a great documentary maker, specialising in films reliant on restoring footage. Following They Shall Not Grow Old’s success, he’s making a The Beatles doco – The Beatles: Get Back. This will feature the full rooftop concert, and is coming out September 4, 2020 in America bar any delays. I can see him getting a Best Documentary Feature win some day.

    2004: Clint Eastwood

    Like with Soderbergh and Howard as mentioned before, Eastwood is a very efficient director and gets a lot of movies released, but even moreso. His films are announced fairly close to release and have relatively tight filming periods, so while I’m not sure what he’s got next, I can get a general vibe. 2010s era Clint Eastwood was all about rugged but generally decent men who perform a task of heroism but are put down by societal norms or media or a combination thereof.

    He’ll probably make more of those, and get either American Sniper level Best Picture nomination crossover or Richard Jewell level incidental nominations for a performance in the film. He could maybe get another Best Director crossover.

    2005 and 2012: Ang Lee

    Winning two Best Director awards for two very different movies in relatively close proximity is quite impressive. Still with his understanding of emotional range as well as grand spectacle, he’d surely be a lock for Oscar buzz with his next movies… But Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Gemini Man were both flops and poor demonstrations of 120 frame per second cinema’s potential, so maybe he isn’t necessarily a lock for all he does.

    His next film, the rhyme titled “Thrilla in Manila” could be promising, as he’s working from a Peter Morgan script, a screenwriter who has had a solid run with highlights such as The Queen, Frost/Nixon, The Crown, and some other works not about state leaders. I don’t think Ang Lee is done delivering Oscar contenders just yet.

    2006: Martin Scorcese

    Following the success of The Irishman, Scorcese is quickly following up with Killers of the Flower Moon, another historical piece about violence, cruelty, greed, and the cycles they cause. Like The Irishman, it has a suspiciously large budget. Filming apparently started in March this year and it is apparently due for a 2020 release, but with Covid I don’t think that’s happening. Still, you don’t need me to say that Scorcese is going to keep making Oscars contenders, that’s a given.

    2007: The Coen Brothers

    A team of such quality, The Coen Brothers have produced so many quality movies and scripts that surely they’ll keep getting Oscar buzz. However, this year might be a bit unique. Ethan Coen is doing theatre work, so as a result, Joel Coen is making a solo-directed for the first time.

    Joel Coen’s big solo play is The Tragedy of Macbeth. Quite frankly, the idea of Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, and Joel Coen teaming up to adapt the most cinematic of Shakespeare plays with the support of A24 is so cool to me. It is worth noting that this film is on filming hiatus, so a 2020 release might be unlikely.

    2008: Danny Boyle

    I kinda don’t know where Danny Boyle is going, but I have a few hunches. Yesterday was a big crowdpleaser success, and Danny Boyle absolutely can make those. I’m not sure we’re getting another 127 Hours/Steve Jobs type of introspective Oscar bait character study from him, but instead more crowdpleasers.

    However, there’s no real word I could find on his next film, and his career tends to do waves of a particular film type. If I’d predicted his next film pre-Slumdog 00s I would’ve guessed a genre piece of sci fi and/or horror. If I guessed around Steve Jobs I would have predicted another intimate character study. Danny Boyle is a populist director who can adapt well, so I am not sure whether he’ll get Oscar buzz again but I’m sure he’ll deliver something people like.

    2009: Kathryn Bigelow

    The 2010s have been a weird time for Kathryn Bigelow’s reputation. After the highly-praised win in 2010, breaking the glass ceiling to me the first woman director to win a Best Director, her reputation went through some shifts.

    Zero Dark Thirty was a Best Picture nominee yes, but Kathryn was absent in Best director as a nominee and the controversy over how torture is depicted put a stain on her reputation. I would argue this stain heavily contributed to Detroit being completely ignored in the Oscars season. Nonetheless, I think she might get back into the Oscars game some day, with another Mark Boal collaboration about Bowe Bergdahl being a film I could see getting awards buzz.

    2010: Tom Hooper

    A rare Best Director Oscar winner that also has a Worst Director Razzie, Tom Hooper has had a rough 2010s reputation that makes what I said about Kathryn Bigelow sound nice.

    Les Miserables and The Danish Girl had Oscar nominations, yes, but Tom Hooper was absent in nominations for those and they weren’t the best regarded nominees. And Cats… Is an unmitigated shitshow. To paraphrase Joker though, he got what he fucking deserved for taking a Fincher oscar away.

    2011: Michel Hazanavicius

    The only director here that made me say who when I saw his name, Michel is a case where he was carried by a campaign rather than much on his own. OK, that’s a little harsh, but considering his followup films The Search and Redoubtable got 21% and 55% on Rotten Tomatoes respectively and had little to no impact, I’m not sure he’s going to factor again in the Oscars. Perhaps the most non-notable Best Director winner in history.

    2013 and 2018: Alfonso Cuarón

    The second double Oscar winner here, Cuarón is a little hard to predict, as he could be making either a grand blockbuster budget or an intimate character study movie. He is a producer on the upcoming Zemeckis The Witches, and his production company will be working on Apple TV products, but I am not sure beyond that what he is working on. I do think more Oscar buzz is plausible if he makes more movies.

    2014 and 2015: Alejandro González Iñárritu

    Supposedly, his next project was a TV show called The One Percent, but after Starz dropped it, there’s been no word about any upcoming projects from him nor any revival of it. He criticised Netflix algorithms heavily, so him pulling a Scorcese is unlikely. Iñárritu is the most mysterious of these directors for what their next project is, especially considering this year will be the 5th anniversary of The Revenant.

    2016: Damien Chazelle

    Damien Chazelle’s next works are known quantities.  The Eddy is a TV show releasing this week, where Damien Chazelle is releasing the first two episodes of. Babylon is his next film, which will have Brad Pitt, Emma Stone, a 1920s Hollywood setting, and Oscar buzz. While First Man underperformed, Babylon has the sort of setting and cast that will get attention and buzz. Chazelle is going to be around for oscars to come.

    2017: Guillmero Del Toro

    After The Shape of Water, Del Toro starred in Death Stranding as a sort of Frankenstein’s Monster character called Deadman. As for his next films, he has Nightmare Alley, starring my dream cast of Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, and Toni Colette. This was filming in 2020, but COVID has delayed it, so it’s likely 2021 at the earliest. This will mean it will come out the same year as Del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio for Netflix! Such a dream scenario, I love his films.

    2019: Bong Joon Ho

    It’s too soon to really tell what Bong Joon Ho is working on for his next project, though he will assist with a Parasite show. Not going to lie, I hope he makes an Okja/The Host style genre film next.

     

    For Your Consideration:

    Best Picture: Parasite

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    Nameizmann
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    This is so awesome. I’d love to read a follow up.

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    Cordelia
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    Let’s go back to the 90’s then

    1990: Kevin Costner

    Kevin Costner’s Oscar heavily owes itself to his transition from acting to directing, but it is exceedingly unlikely he will direct another movie, as his last directorial job was in 2003. As an actor, he’s comfortably nestled into a niche of supporting roles for movies big (Batman V Superman) and small (The Art of Dancing in the Rain). He might be the first instance here of a director that just has moved on from any awards-adjacent life, and that’s fine, he’s had a hell of a run.

    1991: Jonathon Demme

    Looking through his recent work, I am fascinated. Jonathon Demme went from a sort of distinguished mainstream director to a more arthouse – A Master Builder is in the Criterion collection for an idea of how his later work was received. In 2017, he sadly passed away at the age of 73. Reflecting on his works, he was a man who had range in form (his concert movies/music videos/conventional movies/arthouse movies) and tone in his work. He will be missed.

    1992: Clint Eastwood

    See my 2004 post.

    1993 and 1998: Steven Spielberg

    He’s got West Side Story coming up this year. No news of delays yet, I am curious what a Steven Spielberg musical looks like. Going out of his comfort zone would be a nice change. Regardless, I think he’s got more Oscar buzz in his future, though the question is will he manage to make something that bursts beyond obligatory nominations and into wins.

    1994: Robert Zemeckis

    I may have implied Ang Lee was dragged down in quality by high frame rate experimentation, but that is nothing compared to what happened to Robert Zemeckis. His 1984-2000 run has so many crowdpleasing films, with peaks that are modern classics and Oscar contenders dispersed throughout. But then  Polar Express happened, motion capture gimmicks took over, and he’s not delivering great films any more. Well that’s harsh – Flight showed he’s got some degree of quality. But good lord, Welcome To Marwen was … awful.

    But what for now? Well, he’s making kid’s movies. Admittedly, I want to see what his The Witches looks like – that’s a really fun Roald Dahl book. Anne Hathaway could deliver some fun campy nonsense in her performance, and it’s got potential for a really nice stylised visual depiction. And he’s doing a live action Pinocchio, so he’s going to get career support from the Disney remake machine.

    1995: Mel Gibson

    I could preamble about his controversies, his ongoing acting, and Hacksaw Ridge’s Oscar success for nominations … but let’s cut to the chase – his next movie is a sequel to Passion of the Christ about the Resurrection. It won’t get Oscar buzz, but I wonder how a section of the New Testament after all the suffering of the crucifixion is over will be handled by Mel Gibson, who has a pretty bloodthirsty filmography.

    1996: Anthony Minghella

    Anthony Minghella sadly passed away in 2008 at the too young age of 54. The Talented Mr. Ripley is my favourite of his filmography, and holds up as one of the best films of one of the best years in cinema history.

    1997: James Cameron

    Roses are red/violets are blue/James Cameron/is making Avatar 2

    (I wonder if it’s going to get delayed AGAIN, it’s already releasing 12 years after the original).

    1999: Sam Mendes

    He just missed out on a second Oscar for 1917 by a hair, let the man rest. And for what it’s worth, he has settled into a pretty good late career niche of blockbusters with a degree of stylistic ambition and grounded weight.

     

    For Your Consideration:

    Best Picture: Parasite

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    FairWeatherAffair
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    Interesting thread! I certainly disagree with you on the quality of some of the later films of these directors (Cameron, Eastwood, Lee, and Zemeckis are all producing good and/or at least interesting work), so naturally I am looking forward to their work. What remains to be seen is if either of those four will have awards success in the future lol.

    Also, of course, I am always awaiting the work of Bigelow, the Coens, (Polanski…sorry, he’s just good! I torrent them lol), Scorsese, and Soderbergh. They will all have varying levels of success, naturally, with, as you said, the Coens and Scorsese poised the best of those I have mentioned as of interest to me.

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    Cordelia
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    Interesting thread! I certainly disagree with you on the quality of some of the later films of these directors (Cameron, Eastwood, Lee, and Zemeckis are all producing good and/or at least interesting work), so naturally I am looking forward to their work. What remains to be seen is if either of those four will have awards success in the future lol.

    I was basing most of my statements of quality around potential awards success – I actually kinda like Ang Lee’s new films, am really looking forward to The Witches, and am very curious about what Avatar 2 will end up being like.

    As for the second part, I think Eastwood is going to keep operating at his 2010s level in terms of films either being a mild awards success like Richard Jewell with maybe an American Sniper-level Best Picture contender crossover every decade. Cameron and Ang Lee are questions of if they’ll make the right kind of  movie. Zemeckis I think has moved on from anything approximating Oscars material.

    For Your Consideration:

    Best Picture: Parasite

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    Cordelia
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    Since the majority of the remaining directors have passed away, rather than doing a decade I think I’m going to just do all remaining alive directors.

    1971: William Friedkin

    Perhaps delivering the most chaotic energy of any Oscar-winning Director, Friedkin makes movies like Bug and Killer Joe that get Cinemascore F’s, shock people, and gain cult followings. In 2018 a documentary was made about him, Friedkin Uncut, that received warm reviews. He takes his time between movies so there’s no word as to whether he will be making more movies at the moment, but it is fair to assume that if he does, they will be way too wild for the Academy.

    1974: Francis Ford Coppola

    Coppola’s next feature is a fascinating one that has been long in development – Megalopolis. Announced pre-9/11, this film about an attempt to reconstruct New York as a utopia was delayed for decades due to it being a bit touchy in the 2000s. As of 2019, it is back on track. Word on this film is secretive, but the scope is apparently immense, with comparisons made to Apocalypse Now by Deadline. If he can pull it off, I can see an Oscars comeback narrative coming his way. A great Coppola movie is just what modern cinema could use.

    1977: Woody Allen

    Following a 2010s in which Amazon withdrew a 5-film deal and A Rainy Day In New York coming and going, Woody Allen’s Oscar prospects for the 2020s are looking rough. This is especially notable given Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine received major Oscar wins.

    His 49th film Rifkin’s Festival completed filming in 2019. This film festival romance, starring Gina Gershon and Christoph Waltz, only has distribution rights in Spain as of April 2020. Like with my prior discussion of Polanski, it is worth highlighting how differently European and American markets handle controversial directors. He will likely keep making movies in Europe.

    1979: Robert Benton

    The first of two back-to-back Robert Best Director winners, Robert Benton’s last script was in 2005 for The Ice Harvest and his last directorial role was the 2007 Feast of Love. A script called North of Cheyenne was allegedly in development for 2011, but nothing has been heard about that for nearly a decade. Any further word on what Robert Benton’s up to would be great, as I found a lot of loose ends in research.

    1980: Robert Redford

    Having retired from directing after The Company You Keep (2012), and retiring from acting after The Old Man And The Gun (2018) [bar a cheeky cameo], Redford can now enjoy his retirement and reflect on a successful career with quality work.

    1981: Warren Beatty

    With his last film being Rules Don’t Apply in 2016, Warren Beatty is well beyond Oscars… well if not for his role in the Best Picture La La Land/Moonlight kerfuffle. However, that got settled, so his association with Oscars awards might be long-over. Still, he had a good run.

    1983: James L. Brooks

    James L. Brooks is not getting any more Oscar buzz, he’s busy. He is busy working as a producer on the Simpsons these days, getting Emmys on a semi-regular basis, and is the reason why there’s the shhh Gracie Films logo at the end of The Simpsons. He’ll be right.

    1986/1989: Oliver Stone

    Oliver Stone’s next movie project, White Lies, apparently filmed in 2019. This film, also written by Stone, stars Benicio Del Toro as the lead. Little else is known, other than it being a multi-generational film about divorce. His so-so 2010s, featuring a forgettable sequel, forgettable Snowden, and cancelled Guantanamo show, mean that I’m not sure he’ll get Oscar Buzz again, but we’ll see what happens because I won’t rule it out, even if I’m not sure he’s got another JFK in him.

    1988: Barry Levinson

    Barry’s next film could actually be a return to Oscars buzz from him after a relatively softball run, based on its subject matter. His next movie is Harry Haft, about the eponymous Holocaust survivor who boxed to survive. That type of subject matter, and a potential 2020 release date, means it might actually be on my radar for Oscars season as a long shot.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Cordelia.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Cordelia.

    For Your Consideration:

    Best Picture: Parasite

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    Stank83
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    Scorsese is more likely to win his overdue second Oscar in Directing (and maybe Picture) with his next film Killers of The Flower Moon (a Neo-Western) if he manages to shoot it after everything returns to normalcy.
    Likely to be a 2021 release.

    It could be his Schindler’s List or 12 Years A Slave, since it deals with the genocide of a tribe of Native Americans during the 1920s in Oklahoma.

    So baity even his detractors couldn’t say no this time around.

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Stank83.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Stank83.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Stank83.
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