The Oscar Quest: Reconsidered – The Best Director Categories
We’ve gone through all the categories again and now it’s wrap-up time. I’ve decided that the proper way to wrap things up is to look at each of the six (original) Oscar Quest categories and compare how I voted the first time versus how I voted this time. The idea being to gauge where my tastes have changed over the past five years, as that was the purpose of going through and doing it again anyway.
Today is Best Actress. I’ve included a table of how I voted both times and color-coded the ones that are different so you can skim through easily. Then I’ll work my way through each of the categories where I changed votes, figure out why they changed and try to predict how it’s gonna go in another five years.
|Year||The 2011/2012 Vote||The 2016/2017 Vote|
|1927-1928||Drama: Frank Borzage, Seventh Heaven
Comedy: Lewis Milestone, Two Arabian Knights
|Drama: Frank Borzage, Seventh Heaven
Comedy: Lewis Milestone, Two Arabian Knights
|1928-1929||Frank Lloyd, Weary River||Frank Lloyd, Weary River|
|1929-1930||Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front||Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front|
|1930-1931||Norman Taurog, Skippy||Norman Taurog, Skippy|
|1931-1932||Frank Borzage, Bad Girl||Frank Borzage, Bad Girl|
|1932-1933||Frank Lloyd, Cavalcade||Frank Lloyd, Cavalcade|
|1934||W.S. Van Dyke, The Thin Man||Frank Capra, It Happened One Night|
|1935||John Ford, The Informer||John Ford, The Informer|
|1936||W.S. Van Dyke, San Francisco||Robert Z. Leonard, The Great Ziegfeld|
|1937||Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth||Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth|
|1938||Michael Curtiz, Angels with Dirty Faces||Frank Capra, You Can’t Take It With You|
|1939||Victor Fleming, Gone With the Wind||Victor Fleming, Gone With the Wind|
|1940||John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath||John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath|
|1941||Orson Welles, Citizen Kane||Orson Welles, Citizen Kane|
|1942||William Wyler, Mrs. Miniver||Mervyn LeRoy, Random Harvest|
|1943||Michael Curtiz, Casablanca||Michael Curtiz, Casablanca|
|1944||Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity||Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat|
|1945||Billy Wilder, The Lost Weekend||Billy Wilder, The Lost Weekend|
|1946||David Lean, Brief Encounter||Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life|
|1947||Elia Kazan, Gentleman’s Agreement||Elia Kazan, Gentleman’s Agreement|
|1948||John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre||John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre|
|1949||William Wellman, Battleground||Carol Reed, The Fallen Idol|
|1950||Carol Reed, The Third Man||Carol Reed, The Third Man|
|1951||John Huston, The African Queen||George Stevens, A Place in the Sun|
|1952||Fred Zinnemann, High Noon||John Ford, The Quiet Man|
|1953||Fred Zinnemann, From Here to Eternity||William Wyler, Roman Holiday|
|1954||Elia Kazan, On the Waterfront||Elia Kazan, On the Waterfront|
|1955||John Sturges, Bad Day at Black Rock||John Sturges, Bad Day at Black Rock|
|1956||George Stevens, Giant||George Stevens, Giant|
|1957||David Lean, The Bridge on the River Kwai||David Lean, The Bridge on the River Kwai|
|1958||Vincente Minnelli, Gigi||Stanley Kramer, The Defiant Ones|
|1959||William Wyler, Ben-Hur||William Wyler, Ben-Hur|
|1960||Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho||Billy Wilder, The Apartment|
|1961||Robert Rossen, The Hustler||Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins, West Side Story|
|1962||David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia||David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia|
|1963||Federico Fellini, 8½||Federico Fellini, 8½|
|1964||Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb||Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb|
|1965||John Schlesinger, Darling||Hiroshi Teshigahara, Woman in the Dunes|
|1966||Mike Nichols, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?||Mike Nichols, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?|
|1967||Mike Nichols, The Graduate||Mike Nichols, The Graduate|
|1968||Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey||Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey|
|1969||George Roy Hill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid||George Roy Hill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid|
|1970||Franklin Schaffner, Patton||Franklin Schaffner, Patton|
|1971||William Friedkin, The French Connection||William Friedkin, The French Connection|
|1972||Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather||Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather|
|1973||George Roy Hill, The Sting||George Roy Hill, The Sting|
|1974||Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II||Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II|
|1975||Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon||Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon|
|1976||Sidney Lumet, Network||John G. Avildsen, Rocky|
|1977||George Lucas, Star Wars||George Lucas, Star Wars|
|1978||Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter||Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter|
|1979||Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now||Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now|
|1980||Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull||Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull|
|1981||Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark||Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark|
|1982||Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot||Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot|
|1983||James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment||James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment|
|1984||Milos Forman, Amadeus||Milos Forman, Amadeus|
|1985||Akira Kurosawa, Ran||Sydney Pollack, Out of Africa|
|1986||Oliver Stone, Platoon||Oliver Stone, Platoon|
|1987||John Boorman, Hope and Glory||Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor|
|1988||Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ||Barry Levinson, Rain Man|
|1989||Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot||Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July|
|1990||Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas||Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas|
|1991||Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs||Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs|
|1992||Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven||Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven|
|1993||Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List||Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List|
|1994||Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction||Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump|
|1995||Mel Gibson, Braveheart||Mel Gibson, Braveheart|
|1996||Joel & Ethan Coen, Fargo||Joel & Ethan Coen, Fargo|
|1997||James Cameron, Titanic||James Cameron, Titanic|
|1998||Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan||Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan|
|1999||Sam Mendes, American Beauty||Sam Mendes, American Beauty|
|2000||Ridley Scott, Gladiator||Ridley Scott, Gladiator|
|2001||Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring||Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring|
|2002||Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York||Roman Polanski, The Pianist|
|2003||Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King||Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King|
|2004||Martin Scorsese, The Aviator||Martin Scorsese, The Aviator|
|2005||Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain||George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck|
|2006||Martin Scorsese, The Departed||Martin Scorsese, The Departed|
|2007||Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood||Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood|
|2008||Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire||Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire|
|2009||Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds||Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker|
|2010||N/A||Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit|
|2011||N/A||Martin Scorsese, Hugo|
|2012||N/A||Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild|
|2013||N/A||Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity|
|2014||N/A||Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)|
|2015||N/A||Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant|
|2016||N/A||Damien Chazelle, La La Land|
Out of 89 Best Actor categories, I’ve changed my opinion on 26 of them. Which is a 29% overall and 31% of the ones I have to compare.
- 1934, Frank Capra for It Happened One Night over W.S. Van Dyke for The Thin Man
The Thin Man may be my favorite movie of all time, but Capra deserved this. He should be the vote, and that’s why I took him this time. No guarantee I keep taking him, but I probably will. I’m impartial enough to admit that.
- 1936, Robert Z. Leonard for The Great Ziegfeld over W.S. Van Dyke for San Francisco
I took San Francisco because of the special effects of the disaster sequence. Other than that, it didn’t really need the vote. Plus, Van Dyke didn’t win for The Thin Man, so I’m sure that had something to do with it last time. This time, Leonard is really the choice. Ziegfeld has the grandest direction, so that’s the choice. Wouldn’t take Capra at all this time, so the choice will always have to be elsewhere.
- 1938, Frank Capra for You Can’t Take It With You over Michael Curtiz for Angels with Dirty Faces
I took Capra only because there was no one else to take. Curtiz last time was the vote because I didn’t get to take him for Adventures of Robin Hood, for which he was inexplicably not nominated. But I can’t really take him for a different film when I don’t really love the effort for that film. Maybe next time I will, but this time, Capra was the choice.
- 1942, Mervyn LeRoy for Random Harvest over William Wyler for Mrs. Miniver
Wyler deserved to win and I switched over to LeRoy because I love Random Harvest. But Wyler should have been the vote this time. And I think I’ll go back to him in the future, as much as I love Random Harvest.
- 1944, Alfred Hitchcock for Lifeboat over Billy Wilder for Double Indemnity
Wilder does a great job, but Hitchcock shooting an entire movie in a lifeboat… had to switch over to that this time. They’re both worth taking. So I’d suspect a lot of back and forth in future votes.
- 1946, Frank Capra for It’s a Wonderful Life over David Lean for Brief Encounter
This category is insane. Capra, Wyler and Lean. They’re all great and all worth taking. So this is gonna be a contentious one every time I look at it. Capra makes sense this time around. No idea where I’m at in five years.
- 1949, Carol Reed for The Fallen Idol over William Wellman for Battleground
One of those years where I’m never gonna take the person who won, so the vote will always go elsewhere. The Heiress and All the King’s Men are fine, not something I’d particularly take. So it’s pretty much either Battleground or The Fallen Idol. I always felt The Fallen Idol was the best effort, and I took Battleground last time because I voted for Reed in 1950 and it was my only chance to take Wellman. This time was about the best effort, so I went to Reed. It’ll be one or the other in the future. I can see myself going back and forth in the future. They’re both great.
- 1951, George Stevens for A Place in the Sun over John Huston for The African Queen
I had a weird dislike of A Place in the Sun the first time, leading to my going elsewhere. Minnelli could have been the vote, but I doubt I’d have gone there. I’m surprised I didn’t go Kazan either time, given my love for Streetcar. I think I took Huston because I figured he was worth two wins. But the real win should have gone to Stevens. I love Kazan and I love Streetcar, but Stevens wins this category. He’s the vote here. I moved over to the right choice.
- 1952, John Ford for The Quiet Man over Fred Zinnemann for High Noon
My love for The Quiet Man has overtaken my love for High Noon. They’re both worth voting for, but I think I’m now firmly in the Quiet Man camp and will continue to be going forward.
- 1953, William Wyler for Roman Holiday over Fred Zinnemann for From Here to Eternity
I took Zinnemann the first time because he lost for High Noon and deserved to win something and directed a big, iconic film that won Best Picture. But my heart was always with Roman Holiday, and I’m not gonna ignore that anymore. Pretty sure that love will keep me voting for Wyler.
- 1958, Stanley Kramer for The Defiant Ones over Vincente Minnelli for Gigi
I took Minnelli because he hadn’t won and deserved to. I felt Kramer gave the best effort so he became the vote this time. I could actually end up going anywhere with this next time and I’ll be curious to see how that goes. It’ll pretty much be one or the other. Not a whole lot else I’d really take here.
- 1960, Billy Wilder for The Apartment over Alfred Hitchcock for Psycho
Really would have thought this vote would have gone the other way. Psycho is an immaculately directed film, but I don’t think it’s so automatic a winner that I need to take it. Plus, The Apartment is one of my five favorite films of all time, so I don’t feel so bad about the vote going that way. Sure, I guess I could switch back to Hitchcock, but I am very fine with the way I voted this time.
- 1961, Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins for West Side Story over Robert Rossen for The Hustler
I took Rossen because of my love for The Hustler. West Side Story is the film that should have won this category. That is the vote and will be the vote going forward.
- 1965, Hiroshi Teshigahara for Woman in the Dunes over John Schlesinger for Darling
This is one of those categories where I like taking the alternative nominees. Wise is great and worth taking, and Lean is great and worth taking. But both those films are so big in size that I prefer the smaller films with the more intimate direction. That went to Schlesinger last time, and now Teshigahara this time. Could be any one of the four next time and I’ll be very curious what happens when I watch all of them again for the next go around.
- 1976, John G. Avildsen for Rocky over Sidney Lumet for Network
I stopped voting for what director I wanted to win and voted for what the best effort was. And I thought Avildsen had the best and most iconic effort. Lumet always feels like he’s just right there for the vote, but never quite delivers the goods enough to win. The films are there, but his efforts never quite feel up there. No idea why. I guess I could end up potentially switching over to Alan Pakula in the future, but I think I made the right choice with Avildsen, and given my love for Rocky I’ll probably keep voting for him.
- 1985, Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa over Akira Kurosawa for Ran
Yeah.. I don’t know. I don’t like this category. Kurosawa has the body of work to win this, but Pollack also has it as well (in a different way). It’s a very weak year, so it could be either one going forward. Let me just leave it as — no fucking clue what I’m gonna do in the future. I still can’t believe I took Pollack this time. Makes sense, given where my head is at, but still…pretty much anything I take here feels like a weird choice.
- 1987, Bernardo Bertolucci for The Last Emperor over John Boorman for Hope and Glory
Bertolucci deserved it, and he became the vote because I cut out all the bullshit and voted for what was best. I prefer Boorman’s film, but Bertolucci deserved this award.
- 1988, Barry Levinson for Rain Man over Martin Scorsese for The Last Temptation of Christ
I took Scorsese because he hadn’t won and I felt he’d been robbed. If I’m being honest, I prefer Levinson’s direction. Scorsese did a better pure directing job, but I think all the ancillary stuff added up for Levinson, and I felt okay making him the vote this time. No idea what I do in the future with this.
- 1989, Oliver Stone for Born on the Fourth of July over Jim Sheridan for My Left Foot
Because Sheridan wasn’t really the best effort in the category. I just preferred his film best in a year without a real “choice.” But when you look at what was nominated, Stone’s effort was the best and he deserved to win. It is what it is. He’ll continue being the vote in the future.
- 1994, Robert Zemeckis for Forrest Gump over Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction
Because I was being honest with myself in saying how much I truly love Forrest Gump. I might go back to Quentin in the future. The category is clearly one or the other. I just felt I needed to take Zemeckis at this point in time.
- 2002, Roman Polanski for The Pianist over Martin Scorsese for Gangs of New York
Owing to my 180 on The Pianist. For some reason I didn’t care for it when I first saw it. That’s why we do this. I could still go back to Scorsese, since I do really love Gangs. But I would suspect a lot of Polanski votes more than others in the future.
- 2005, George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck over Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain
Ang Lee did a great job, but I wasn’t fooling anyone. I always thought Good Night and Good Luck was the better movie, so I swapped my vote from what I felt I should take to what I actually would take. I could go back to Lee in the future, but I did ultimately correct the vote to what I felt was my actual choice this time around.
- 2009, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker over Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds
Because Bigelow deserved it. I went Picture/Director on Tarantino, and part of that was not truly really liking The Hurt Locker at the time. Now, she and the film both deserved to win, and the vote has been corrected. The vote will be Bigelow going forward.
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