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This man you see above has only made 3 major movies so far. It’s a small number, I know. But what about the fact that he has been nominated 3 times for Best Director for those movies? It’s quite an accomplishment. The result of those movies are 17 Oscar nominations and 2 wins which are Best Actress for Nicole Kidman and Kate Winslet. That’s a impressive for me. Which actress now in Hollywood doesn’t want to work with him looking at that feature? Lucky for Sandra Bullock who won Best Actress in 2009 (The Blind Side), she got the chance to work with this wonderful man along with Tom Hanks for an adaptation of the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer which is tapped for a 2012 release. I’m thinking now about if there’s any chance for Sandra Bullock to follow up her victory with another nomination. But for now, I’m taking a look at Stephen Daldry’s movies so far and rank from the least favorite to the most impressive.

3. THE READER
Everyone who follows Oscar history would’ve remembered 2008 where The Reader took a spot in Best Picture despite its low rating and mixed reviews from critics. It was even more controversial when The Dark Knight which was a favorite by the fanboys and praised by critics, didn’t stand a chance despite its 8 nominations. What’s so impressive about this movie then?
My guess is the voters preferred this movie because it’s a drama about a tragic story about a young boy who has an affair with an older woman who turns out to be a SS guard during Nazi era. The story isn’t bad. It just felt formulaic for me and it’s too melodrama. But other than that, this movie features strong performances from Kate Winslet and David Kross. I guess the Academy members must’ve loved this movie so much or they love Daldry so much because he wasn’t nominated for DGA but Christopher Nolan was for The Dark Knight. Kate Winslet also had a wonderful year where she won the Golden Globe for Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road, which I think is a much better movie and she’s better in that movie too. Nicole Kidman was originally cast for the lead but had to pull out because of her pregnancy and Winslet took the role and won her long awaited Oscar. What if Kidman didn’t pull out? I wonder if she would’ve won her second Oscar for this film? Oh, daydreaming.
The Reader has bit of sentiment of Joe Wright’s Atonement if I look at the tragic story between two lovers. But where Atonement is astonishing with its consistent and strong story, The Reader has an advantage only from Winslet and Kross whose performances make us forget the formulaic melodrama story.
Academy Award nominations:
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actress: Kate Winslet (WON)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Verdict: 7 out 10
2. BILLY ELLIOT
This is the first movie of Jamie Bell that I watched and did his performance awe me? Sir, yes sir. Now, I don’t see how could the Academy voters not nominate for him when at the same year he won at BAFTA and nominated for SAG? What a travesty. In such a young age, Jamie Bell who is 4 years older than me, got the ability to lead this movie. Jamie Bell plays as the young boy who is sent to a boxing class only to finally intrigues to learn ballet. Billy Elliot is a charming movie although you can’t show the unedited version to young kids because of its profanity. It brings you sadness at some points, but it also brings you laughter and smile (I don’t mean to be cliche) watching the energy and the innocence of the boy. Because if it’s not that amazing, I don’t think we would ever see a Broadway adaptation of this story.
Academy Award nominations:
Best Director
Best Original Screenplay
Best Supporting Actress: Julie Walters
Verdict: 8 out 10
1. THE HOURS
Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with this movie. But then I slowly started to think about it and decided to give it another chance and I won’t regret it because it’s so amazing the second time viewed. The Hours might be too depressing for some people for its sad and dark story of 3 women whose life is connected somehow by Virgina Woolf’s story, Mrs. Dalloway. I can talk a lot about this movie started with how impressive the performances by the 3 lead women here. Kidman who won Best Actress for her potrayal of Virginia Woolf actually has the least amount of screen time and she managed to beat out Julianne Moore at the Oscar who was a double nominee that night and Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated for this movie but for Adaptation. Well, however they bring so much lives to this story where these three stressful women try to cope with their normal lives.
I really like this story that I even borrowed the original novel by Michael Cunningham. Although there are some significant changes, David Hare’s screenplay is still one to remember. The editing for this movie is wonderful. I also want to highlight the perfect music score by Philip Glass. I don’t think this movie is meant for entertainment and I can’t look at this movie just as a movie because the story has so much meaning than can actually relate to many human being’s lives. Okay, now I sound like a psychology teacher.
If there is one thing left out is the kid that plays as Moore’s son, Jack Rovello. That kid is for sure going to go places under the right management.
Academy Award nominations:
Best Picture
Best Director
Best Actress: Nicole Kidman (WON)
Best Supporting Actress: Julianne Moore
Best Supporting Actor: Ed Harris
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Score
Best Film Editing
Best Costume Design
Verdict: 9 out 10
Final Words: I really can’t wait to see his latest directorial effort. Although in my opinion Stephen Daldry is not the kind of director who makes twisted films or big budgeted movies, he always try to bring perfection to each of his movies and one thing for sure is he always brings out the best out of his performers. Stephen Daldry is one of my favorite directors and has the honor to be the first of this director’s entry series.

MOVING OUT

I have moved the site to AN EDUCATION.

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