Oscars Eve 2017: The Best of Directors

I have heard people ask why picks for best direction do not always directly align with the best films. After all, if directors are in charge of overseeing and fostering the final product, why wouldn’t a director be assessed solely on the basis of that final product? It is a good question with a complicated answer. The reality is that film is not like other artistic mediums – like theater, it is a collaborative art form that succeeds on the basis of many varied facets. For example, great direction can elevate a so-so screenplay and a poor direction can do the reverse. So, for us, the true assessment of directing prowess rests in just how much the vision of a director elevates the material and how difficult that feat was to achieve.

This year, we were remiss to leave off some stellar directors from our personal lists, instead opting to highlight the work that most employed strong use of the distinctive language of film. In other words, we think in looking at the work of directing in a vacuum, there is greater praise to be given to directors who used the unique tools of film to communicate, even while that in no way invalidates that filmmakers who understood their films required a less cinematic approach and astutely showed reserve were any less skilled or potent in their work.

So who do we think made the most of the medium? Find out by scrolling through the gallery below from our Oscar picks and favorite direction from the past year!


Check in tomorrow for our big finale – the best films of 2016!

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