BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist Alexander Payne for The Descendants Martin Scorsese for Hugo Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life Time for a sneaky game of Words With Friends: In all honesty, Allen isn’t much of a director. It’s his wonderful scripts – and the casts he chooses to interpret them – that keep Woody at the top of the game. Payne’s careful adaptation of a tricky novel was a restrained effort. He admirably abstained from flair behind the camera to honour the intentions of the book.
Deserves to win, but won’t: Malick’s free- form handling of The Tree of Life is just too much of an acquired taste for conservative Academy types. Deserves the utmost respect for displaying more pure creative ambition than the rest of this field. Scorsese’s bravura journey outside his usual comfort zone – a kiddie film in 3D – is also to be applauded. The veteran is still a slight chance to cause an upset here.
And the winner is . . . Michel Hazanavicius. The former French advertising man built his singular creative vision from the ground up. Every element Hazanavicius conceived for the silent picture made it to the screen, including some rather dark and heavy material. A slap on the back for a job executed to perfection.