Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen - No Country for Old Men
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman - Juno
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Without a best picture nomination for his movie, Schnabel doesn't stand a chance. Even with a best picture nomination, Reitman doesn't stand a chance. With two much better films out there, Gilroy doesn't stand a chance. Yes, once again, we come down to No Country vs. There Will. So let's hold off.
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Let's sweep through these - I enjoyed all five of these films, which is the first time in a long time I can say that about all the Best Picture nominees. But it really is a two-horse race. Atonement didn't get a director nod, Juno is a comedy, and Michael Clayton had the unfortunate problem of being released in a year with two much-better pictures.
Here's the thing about these two films. No Country is a great film. There Will is a very good film with a great performance. Take Daniel Day-Lewis out of There Will, and it doesn't climb anywhere near as high as it does. On the other hand, as good as Bardem is in No Country, he could be replaced without affecting the film. Yes the ending is unsettling, providing us with no sense of closure; it's supposed to be. Violence is unsettling. Real violence, not the make-believe kind we usually see on screen. The effects of real world violence often give us no sense of closure. The funny thing is, I don't think it's any less detached or unemotional than most Coen brothers films. It's just that, here those qualities work to add to the disquieting sense of the movie. It is a powerful, beautiful film that deserves to be the Best Picture of 2007.
Should Win Director and Picture: No Country for Old Men
Will Win Director and Picture: No Country for Old Men