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A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Frank Capra |||
Frank Capra

It goes without saying that Capra is one of the greatest and most beloved directors of all time, especially renowned for his madcap romantic comedies. He is one of the few directors who ever managed to balance whimsy with meaningfulness without loosing the ability to entertain.

Only Frank Capra, with his light hand and good sense of allowing the actors to be their roles, could carry off this tale of a naive average American used by an unscrupulous politician through a nationwide goodwill drive. No one was ever better at having strong yet vulnerable women not only aid, but often come to the rescue, of the leading man.

Frank Capra's final film is a hilarious translation of a Damon Runyon tale set in 1930s New York, as gangster Glenn Ford repays street peddler Bette Davis for her "good luck" apples by passing her off as a well-to-do society lady for her visiting daughter (Ann-Margret in her film debut). This excellent and thoroughly enjoyable remake of his own 1933 "Lady for a Day" is a beautiful swan song to a master storyteller. Widescreen!

In this black comedy about two sweet old ladies whose basement holds a murderously funny secret, Capra utilizes star Cary Grant to his zany, patented “double take” best. Capra’s brilliance in comic casting is demonstrated with such reliable character actors as Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre and Jack Carson who manage to play their parts to the hilt without chewing up the scenery.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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Oscar Handicap 2011: Director

By EdwardHavens

February 26th, 2011

Here, we will look at the recent voting patterns for the category of Best Director.

Oscar Handicap 2011: Director

(For explanations as to how our scoring system works, make sure to read our first article in the series, Best Picture of the Year, linked at the bottom of this article.)

History was made last year, when Lee Daniels became only the second African-American to be nominated for Best Director, and Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win. No such major milestone will happen this year.

The Breakdowns
1) As long as you're not the youngest nominee, you've won here 21 of the last 25 ceremonies (84%). Advantage: Aronofsky, Coen and Coen, Fincher, Russell
2) The DGA Award winner has also won the Best Directing Oscar 21 of 25 (84%). Advantage: Hooper
3) Directors who were not writers on their project have won 18 of 25 (72%). Advantage: Aronofsky, Fincher, Hooper, Russell
4) Movies not set within the past twenty years have won here 17 of 25 (68%). Advantage: Coen and Coen, Hooper
5) Movies not based on factual people or incidents have won 17 of 25 (68%). Advantage: Aronofsky, Coen and Coen
6) The film with the most nominations has won for Best Director 17 of 25 (68%). Advantage: Hooper
7) First-time nominees in this category have won 15 of 25 (60%). Advantage: Aronofsky, Hooper, Russell
8) Directors who are also producers on their film have won 14 of 25 (56%). Advantage: Coen and Coen

By The Numbers
Us fans of David Fincher are probably going to have to wait for another, as it appears to be Mr. Hopper's year
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan: +1, -2, +3, -4, +5, -6, +7, -8
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit: +1, -2, -3, +4, +5, -6, -7, +8
David Fincher, The Social Network: +1, -2, +3, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech: -1, +2, +3, +4, -5, +6, +7, -8
David O. Russell, The Fighter: +1, -2, +3, -4, -5, -6, +7, -8

Personal prediction for Best Director: Tom Hooper
Personal choice in this category: David Fincher


All articles in this series:
Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature
The Technical Categories