Oscars 2023: 10 directors who deserve attention

Shortly after the nominations for the Golden Globes were announced earlier this month, the advocacy group Women in Film went to social mediawho denounces the “shocking” omission by critically acclaimed directors and Sarah Polley (Women Talking), Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King), Chinonye Chukwu (Till) and Maria Schrader (She Said) ) quoted. ).

It might be more surprising that anyone still takes anything from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. seriously these days after years of scandal and upheaval. But let’s leave that aside for now. The list of women in film is good but incomplete and overlooks the directing work of several women behind some of the year’s most critically acclaimed films. Not all of these films are widely released — most of them never will — but they should be available to Oscar voters as we enter the winter break, the discovery phase of the awards show at home.

So here’s a list of 10 exceptional films by women directors this year, all of which scored higher on ratings aggregator Metacritic than the films of Golden Globe-nominated directors James Cameron (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Baz Luhrmann (” Elvis”).

Chinonye Chukwu, “Till”: Chukwu directed this film about Emmett Till, the 14-year-old whose 1955 murder in Mississippi spurred the civil rights movement, and made the crucial decision to focus on Mamie Till-Mobley’s maternal love. The film’s script doesn’t always transcend its biographical drama, but Chukwu’s thoughtful direction and her strength in bringing out the best in her actors make the film an unabashed portrait of grief and determination.

Director Chinonye Chukwu and actor Jalyn Hill on the set of "To."

Director Chinonye Chukwu and actor Jalyn Hill on the set of “Till”.

(Lynsey Weatherspoon / Orion)

Claire Denis, “Both Sides of the Blade”: Denis recently made headlines when her 2000 masterpiece Beau Travail made an exciting leap into the top 10 in Sight and Sound’s ten-year critics’ poll of the greatest films of all time. A sexy, playful relationship drama that gives us another glorious twist from Juliette Binoche and a gritty soundtrack from frequent collaborator Tindersticks, “Both Sides of the Blade” shows us that she still has a lot to say about the human heart .

Alice Diop, “Holy Omer”: France’s contribution to the international feature film Oscar race “Saint Omer” is Diop’s first feature film. Her background as a documentary filmmaker is evident in her haunting portrayal of the trial of a young Senegalese French woman accused of murdering her baby. Diop’s rigorous approach – lengthy takes captured by a fixed camera – requires patience, but the reward is an intimate film that destabilizes audiences’ prejudices while delving into the twisted, unfathomable plots of its protagonist. Coming to cinemas next year.

Audrey Diwan, “Happening”: Diwan’s fearless film, about a gifted student struggling with an unplanned pregnancy in France in 1963, won the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival and then hit theaters in May, just as news broke that the Supreme Court the case of Roe vs. Waten. It’s both an intimate, direct portrait of life turned upside down and a searing indictment of a world that limits a woman’s freedom to choose her future.

Mia Hansen-Løve, “A Beautiful Morning”: Like so many films on this list, Hansen-Løve’s drama derives its richness from the accumulation of detail – in this case, the daily life of a French single mother (played by the wonderful Léa Seydoux) trying to balance the demands of work, parenthood and… a love affair while caring for her aging father, a professor diagnosed with Benson Syndrome, a degenerative disease that robs him of memory and sight. Hansen-Løve’s no-frills presentation gives the film a poignant way of looking at the inevitability of loss in our lives.

Laura Poitras, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”: No documentary has been nominated for Best Picture, but Poitra’s rich collaborations with photographer Nan Goldin deserve attention. Already a hot favorite to win the documentary Oscar, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed combines a revealing look at Goldin’s outsider artistry with the guerrilla campaign she waged against the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, largely responsible Pharmaceutical company that has started for the opioid epidemic. Poitras’ impressionistic fusion of the personal and the political results in a work of art that is as vivid as its subject.

Sarah Polley, “Women in Conversation”: Polley’s haunting study of a community of women grappling with trauma and discussing how to overcome it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and finally hits select theaters on December 23. It is Polley’s fourth film and the first in a decade. and its challenging, provocative exploration of faith and forgiveness marks a welcome return of one of the most gifted filmmakers of our time.

Sarah Polley, Writer and Director of "women speak."

Sarah Polley, writer and director of Women Talking.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Gina Prince-Bythewood, “The Lady King”: The sense of action Prince-Bythewood demonstrated in 2020’s “Old Guard” is writ large in this historical epic, which features powerful combat sequences that cheer the bonds between Dahomey’s dynamic black warriors. That alone makes the film groundbreaking and cause for celebration, and Prince-Bythewood’s understanding of the emotional core of the story takes it to the next level.

Maria Schrader, “She Said”: Schrader treats the well-known origin story of the New York Times investigation of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct with astute sensitivity, showing the courage of the women who came forward and the toll it took on their lives. It offers a playbook for empathy, both on and off screen.

Charlotte Wells, “After Sun”: The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. recently presented “Aftersun” with its Editing Award, a testament to how Wells and film editor Blair McClendon create a mosaic of memories in this tale of a young father (Paul Mescal) who takes his 11-year-old daughter (newcomer Frankie Corio) with him to a run-down Beach resort in Turkey for longer holidays. Wells finally reveals that the journey took place two decades ago, and what we see is filtered through sun-drenched memories of a time the now-grown woman regards with a bittersweet understanding she could not possibly have then.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/awards/story/2022-12-19/oscars-women-directors-sarah-polley-claire-denis Oscars 2023: 10 directors who deserve attention

Sarah Ridley

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