You know this man; he was nominated for three Oscars in the year 1993. The categories in which he was nominated are amazing; Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. This 63 years old man won the Best Picture and the Best Director awards. Our man is Clint Eastwood and the 1993 film was Unforgiven. This is nice but this doesn’t amaze me. In the year 2005 a man got three nominations again in the same categories; Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor and won Best Picture and Best Director Awards missed the Best Actor Award this time too. You know this man. He is Clint Eastwood again.
Clint Eastwood is one among the few lucky great directors who got an equally overwhelming response from the Box Office, the critics and the Academy. He got overall eleven nominations and won for Oscars.
Now if I ask you to name five great directors that are still making films, who would you name?
I know the first name that will come to most of you is Christopher Nolan. By this year, he has directed nine films and is working for almost 20 years. This generation’s greatest films come under his names such as The Batman Trilogy (’05, ’08 and 2012), Memento (2000), Interstellar (2014) and Inception (2010). So, how many Oscars he must have won. None. Yes, the answer is none. He has been nominated for 3 times that to 2 times for writing and one for production. He doesn’t even have a Best Director nomination in his kitty.
Think think. Who is next? Yes, Quentin Tarantino. He is a lucky one. He got five nominations overall and have won two. But you know, the Oscars he has won are for writing not direction. So, this gentleman, who is among all time great directors, has also not won any Oscars for directing. Not even for Pulp Fiction (1994), as you must be wondering.
Paul Thomas Anderson for some of us would come at the top in this great contemporary directors’ list. His resume is a pretty impressing one with Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), Punch-drunk Love (2002), There Will Be Blood (2007) and The Master (2012). He is working since 1988 and the number of Oscars he has won. Zero. It’s amazing that he has got six nominations and just one of these is for direction. Other 4 are for writing and the remaining one for production.
What about David Fincher? Is he in your list? He must be. With Se7en (1995), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) and Gone Girl (2014) he is enjoying a cult status. His resume, I consider, is the most powerful among the present day directors. His every single film is a lecture in the thought process. And on the Oscar’s front? Again a big zero. He has got only two best Director’s nominations for The Social Network and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The man Aronofsky! Darren Aronofsky, he has directed six films and has got just one nomination. He is worshipped by some for his films Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Wrestler (2008) and Black Swan (2010). But the Academy has surely overlooked his contributions.
Next in our list is the director whom they call the master. His his Badlands (1973) is considered one of the best directorial debuts since Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941). He made The Thin Red Line (1998) and the recent masterpiece The Tree of Life (2011). Terrence Malick has not won any Oscar and has three nominations for the seven films he made in a career spanning more than 40 years. The Academy never considered him worth a best director’s award. He has got 3 nominations for himself and his The Thin Red Line had got 7 nominations in 1999.
What? Martin Scorsese? Why is he on your list? He won one in 2007 for The Departed. Don’t laugh. An Oscar is an Oscar for whatever reasons may they give it to someone. Scorsese was first nominated in 1981 for Raging Bull, in his seventh nomination, when everybody lost hope on him, he won the Oscar for Best Director for The Departed. His previous works such as Taxi Driver (1976), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Gangs of Newyork (2002) and The Aviator (2004), for which he was denied the trophy, are among the greatest works of cinema. Giving the award for The Departed felt like giving him a consolation prize. I, personally, consider The departed his lesser good work.
If we go back in time further we would find several such great and extraordinary directors who were completely overlooked or have been given consolatory prizes by the Academy that gives the Oscars. One such name is Stanley Kubrick. He may be called the greatest of the greats but got just one Oscar and you know the category; Best Effects, Special Visual Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).