Outstanding Directors Awards SBFF (2019)

Reviewed by Kaio Fadul Farkouh at the 2019 SBFF

The directors panel happened last Thursday (01/31/2019) in Santa Barbara. Monitored by Scott Feinberg (columnist for the Hollywood Reporter). This was my second year attending to the directors tribute. The director tribute is a great panel. The board of the festival since 2016 always had the director, who would take the academy awards for best director at the Oscar. In 2016, we had Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), in 2017 Damien Chazelle ( La La Land), last year Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water). And this year could not be different, even though the Academy Awards will only unveil their winners on February 24. This year could not be better, the festival did not only had the future Best director or other nominees, but it had all of them. Alfonso Cuaron (ROMA), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlasman), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Adam McKay (Vice) and Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), all of them made the cut for the prize of best director were here in Santa Barbara to have a good time and talk more about something we all love: FILM!

The tribute started with Alfonso Cuaron talking about his most personal film, Roma, which released last year. The movie received a limited release on the big screen, and since was produced by Netflix, you can stream on Netflix anytime. Cuaron talked about the process that was to make this movie. He said that I took around 6 Years to make it possible, because it is a movie based on his childhood and he wanted to take the time and do things right. Because of it, he lost his go-to director of photography, 3 times Oscar winner, Emmanuel Lubezki. Alfonso also wanted to the language on the set to be only Spanish. At first, it was hard because no one had the screenplay, he said that he would tell contradictions actions, for example; the mom to go talk to the children, however he would tell to the children go to the room. So he could get the most natural scenes. The film got 10 nominations at the Oscars, 5 of them to Alfonso Cuaron (director, screenplay,editor,cinematography and foreign movie). It could be the first film produced by Netflix to win the big prize at the Academy Awards.

“ROMA” trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BS27ngZtxg&t=4s

The second director we were introduced, it was the Greek, Yorgos Lanthimos. He is known for movies like “The Lobster” (2015), which was nominated for best original screenplay, and “The Killing of the Sacred Deer” (2017). Yorgos is well known to have a different type of approach to tell a story, from people turning into animals, to a doctor dealing with some type of black magic. This year, Yorgos is back with his most accessible movie, “The Favourite”. The movie managed to get 10 nominations at the Academy Awards, including best picture. In his latest movie, he tried to explore the human behavior, and how the relationship can have outcomes in extreme situations during a war. In the movie we have a love story between Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz (all of tree got in for best actress and best supporting actress).  He said that he tries to do bald choices while filming, and bring different type of style. For example, the fishball eye camera. Yorgos Lanthimos is nominated for best picture and best director.

“The Favourite” trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYb-wkehT1g

Our third director was the Knicks fan, Spike Lee, who has been finally nominated for best director, after great movies, which he was snubbed for them, for example “Malcom X” (1992) and “Do the Right Thing” (1989). Until this year, Spike Lee only had one nomination for best screenplay for “Do the Right Thing”. However, this year he finally got in for best director with his new movie “BlacKkKlasman” (2018). The movie premiered during the Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Prize of the Jury. Lee told us, that Jordan Peele (Get out, 2017) called and pitched him the idea of the movie. The second time Oscar nominee said that the movie is not a comedy, but it is ok if you laugh. The humor is only to give balance to the movie, and the end of the movie, he knew right away when he saw it. It needed to be that way and the movie could not come in a better time. The movie is in 6 categories for the Academy Awards, including best picture, director and screenplay.

“BlacKkKlasman” trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQNZhs0QKq0

The next one were Adam McKay, who directed the movie “Vice”. Adam is known for his work in comedies, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004) and “Anchomarn 2: The Legend Continues” (2013). In 2015, he was nominated for best director and won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, for the “The Big Short”, which tells the story of the  U.S mortgage housing crisis of 2005. This year he is back, with his new political hit, about the Vice President, Dick Cheney. He said he could not have anyone else, but Christian Bale for the role. He kept saying how great Christian Bale is, and it is truly amazing to see what Bale did to get ready for the role. And he also said that he needed someone who look very sweet but is tough, and this person is Amy Adams. All of tree are in for best director, best actor and best supporting actress, respectively. “Vice” is in for 8 categories for the Academy Awards. Including best picture, director, screenplay.

“Vice” trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSGFt6w0wok

And for last, the director of the movie “Cold War”, Pawel Pawlikowski. The director who is known for movies like “My Summer Love” (2004) and “Ida” (2013). The director is making his return at the Oscar, when the last time he was nominated for something, it was for the movie “Ida”. At that time, “Ida” was nominated for best cinematography and won best foreign movie. This time he made the cut, for best director, best foreign movie and best cinematography. The Poland director talked about his movie, saying that it is inspired by his parents and their relationship through the years. The film is black and white, because that was how Poland look like at the time, a dark place. But he thought about making it with colors. However, his movie was the only one to failed to get a best picture nominee, even with the best director indication.

“Cold War” trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ImvkXgGVWw

After we learned a bit about each one of them, they all came back on stage to talk a little bit more. The tribute was great, and you could clearly see that all directors were having fun. In the middle of all of this stressful awards season, where I bet things are not easy. At least, we could see all of them 5 directors meeting and talking about movies, before they meet on February 24, when the academy will announce the best director of the year. They all did an amazing job, not only on their movies but at the night giving a good amount of entertainment and some useful informations.




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