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It was shocking.
Warner Bros. had played all the right notes with “Inception.” A summer blockbuster that quickly took on a prestige sheen, Christopher Nolan’s mind-warping actioner was easily one of the year’s best films. With overwhelming critical, popular and industry approval, it was instantly set on a crash-course for a best picture Oscar nomination.
Director - Bid - Conclusion - Wake - Nolan
A director bid, meanwhile, seemed a foregone conclusion, particularly in the wake of Nolan’s 2008 “The Dark Knight,” which came up short in the major categories and, in part, led to the film Academy’s decision to expand the best picture field to better accommodate movies of its ilk. But “Inception” was a step above in this regard, bravura filmmaking, the kind of entertainment directors only dream of conjuring (no pun intended). Nolan was secure.
Then: the nominations. Not only was Nolan passed over for directing, but somehow, a film built on its structure and editorial prowess was ignored by the film editors branch. Four Oscars — for cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects — frankly felt like cold comfort. What happened?
Postmortem - Terms - Bias - Time - Shoo-ins
We’ll avoid a seven-years-later postmortem, but terms like “genre bias” were certainly thrown around at the time. And it’s always possible that perceived shoo-ins (Ben Affleck for “Argo,” Ridley Scott for “The Martian,” etc.) miss the cut when voters assume they’re safe and spread their votes elsewhere. Whatever the case may be, Nolan — largely considered one of our great contemporary filmmakers — remained, and remains, without an Oscar nomination for directing.
That alone would be enough of a framework on which to hang a campaign for his latest film, “Dunkirk” — that is, if it didn’t do such a phenomenal job of making that case on its own.
Film - Account - Defense - Evacuation - Allied
The film, a riveting account of the defense and evacuation of British and Allied forces on the shores of...
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