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{random film-ness} A Netflix Queue Inspired by Best Directors

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. notes from Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin...

…my notes from Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin…

Like usual, the Oscar’s Best Director category mirrors the Best Picture nominees. The 2013 nominees are Michael Haneke for Amour, newbie Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern WildAng Lee for Life of Pi, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, and David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook.

Spielberg is the reigning Oscar king of this bunch. He’s won two Best Director statues: Schindler’s List in 1994 and Saving Private Ryan in 1999. (Schindler’s List took home the Best Picture title, too.) He’s been nominated as Best Director four other times for Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1978, Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1982, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1983, and Munich in 2006. Lee also has a directing Oscar under his belt for Brokeback Mountain in 2006. He was nominated for Best Director for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2001 as well. To round out the veterans in this category, David O. Russell earned a Best Director nomination for The Fighter in 2010.

Who’s the leader in the Oscar race? The short story is nobody knows.

Sometimes people look to the Golden Globes for a prediction on Oscar wins. But Argo‘s Ben Affleck walked away with the title on Sunday, and he’s not even nominated for a Best Director Oscar.

The Director’s Guild of America Awards (in which directors nominate and vote for each other) has a widely different slate than the Oscars. Non-Oscar-nominees Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow (for Zero Dark Thirty) and Tom Hooper (for Les Miserables) join Lee and Spielberg in a battle for the title awarded on February 2—so there’s a three out of five chance that a DGA win won’t be able to predict an Academy Award, either.

Things being as weird as they are, I’m going to give a sentimental vote for Benh Zeitlin and Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s an astoundingly original work. He successfully directed first-time actors in the two lead roles, one of which was a child (and everybody knows children and animals are the most unpredictable variables on set). Plus, Zeitlin made it for 1.5% of the budget that Lee spent on Life of Pi. (Estimated budgets according to are as follows: Life of Pi, $120 million; Lincoln, $65 million; Silver Linings Playbook, $21 million; Amour, $9.75 million; Beasts of the Southern Wild, $1.8 million). I’ve got a soft spot for both the underdog and the thrifty, so Zeitlin’s the candidate for me.

Let me know which director you’re rooting for, and don’t forget to enter to win a 6-month Netflix streaming subscription!

While you’re making up your mind, check out these instantly available titles, inspired by the directors both on & off the Oscar list:

Michael Haneke

The Piano Teacher  

Code Unknown

Funny Games

Ang Lee

Lust, Caution

Brokeback Mountain

Ride with the Devil

The Wedding Banquet

Steven Spielberg

The Adventures of Tintin

David O. Russell

Flirting with Disaster

Kathryn Bigelow

K-19: The Widowmaker

Tom Hooper

The King’s Speech


Check out a Netflix queue based on the Best Picture nominees, too!

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Sarah Magill

Sarah Magill has a full-time movie habit made possible by a day-time greeting card writing gig. She blogs at Gimme Some Film and is learning to write scripts and direct. She tries to balance her screen obsession with trail running, jazz singing, book clubbing, and hanging out with The Best Golden Retriever Ever, Copa.

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