I thought that the Oscar season was finally clearing up. I had Birdman in my sights, I was fully preparing to predict the film to win Best Picture and Best Director. Because it’s such an amazing film, it would be so fully deserving. Nothing can beat it. Nothing will dare.
Then, I saw Interstellar.
I don’t know what to think anymore. Even in my head, I’m struggling to choose which of the two films deserve to win Best Picture and Best Director. Shunning out one of the films and saying one is not Oscar worthy is the equivalent of an insult. It’s times like this when I really wish the Academy Awards didn’t even exist so that the two films could exist side by side without worrying about competing with one another. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
When someone asked me who Christopher Nolan is, my initial reaction (apart from ‘what in the world is wrong with you’) is to say that Nolan is this generation’s greatest director. And if you don’t believe me, you only need to watch Interstellar. As if everything he’s already done wasn’t spectacular enough, Nolan takes his expertise and takes it to an incredible place. Didn’t think he could make a film that could top Dark Knight or Inception? All I can say is, if he can make a film that can top Interstellar, we as a species may not be ready for it.
Now I will say that I as a viewer, am more willing to let a director take me on a journey. I am willing to suspend my disbelief a little, especially if the movie already has me hooked. There’s a revelation late in the film that some critics seem a little put off by, but I think that Nolan did a fantastic job of letting us know just enough so that we didn’t get confused, yet still let us understand that some of what was going on was beyond human comprehension. Part of it might be that most of the movie seems to be firmly grounded in reality, and the science is explained in such a sense that you almost believe it could happen. So when something slightly out of the norm happens, you’re already hooked. You can’t doubt it.
Of course, a big part of what makes this film work is the way it LOOKS. Nolan vowed that he would only use CGI when it was absolutely necessary, and the result is a seamless blend between digital and practical effects. This is the way all movies should be made. And it’s helped by the production design. Although while we’re on the subject, I also have to highlight the editing, cinematography, sound design, and score, All of which will certainly get nominated for their respective Oscars and maybe a few wins here or there. But it’s not just about the visuals, you really do have to pay attention. To quote School Of Rock, “It will test your head, and your mind, and your brain.”
Even with the director casting such a big shadow over the film, the actors are always sure to leave an impression. There is a lot of talent in between Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Mackenzie Foy, and a small but crucial role by a celebrity who wasn’t in the ads. But the two MVP’s here are Matthew McConaughey, who is honestly better here than he was in Dallas Buyers Club, and Jessica Chastain, who makes a serious ploy for the coveted Oscar nod.
This year has become a very close battle between two milestones in filmmaking. Originally, I thought I was going to give Best Director to Birdman and Best Picture to Interstellar. But after a little time to think it over, I think I’ll switch it around. Currently, Best Director goes to Interstellar and Best Picture goes to Birdman, but it’s so incredibly close, and I may have changed my mind but he end of the year. Both films are exceptional, and they both rely so heavily on their directors. In fact, if there were ever a year to have a tie in the Best Director race, this would be it.