Since the Oscars aren’t until March, it means we’re still getting the last gasps of awards campaigning and victory laps. Thus, Christopher Nolan rolled into the Santa Barbara International Film Festival where he picked up a trophy for Outstanding Director of the Year Award, a prize shared with fellow Best Director nominees Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird“), Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water“), Jordan Peele (“Get Out“), and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread“).
The awards season often means not only getting to rub elbows with filmmaking pals new and old, but it also means that you can view their work. During a Q&A at SBIFF (via Collider), Nolan was naturally asked what he thought about the films by his fellow colleagues and contenders, and he had plenty of kind words to share:
I had the pleasure, a couple of years ago, of doing a Q&A with Guillermo, so I got to go back and look at all of his films. When I saw The Shape of Water, I knew that this was one of the ones that came straight from the heart and is informed by his personal experience in ways that I have no idea what they are, but I know that they’re utterly sincere. He’s made several other films like that, and this was a new one of those. I found that very, very moving.
Jordan’s movie (Get Out), I had no idea what I was going to see. I hadn’t read anything about it, other than that it was great. And how often do you get the experience of seeing something that you have no idea where it’s going to go, and then it goes somewhere far more interesting than you ever imagined.
Greta’s movie (Lady Bird), I went to see and it felt familiar, in all the right ways. It felt comfortable. It felt like a part of life that I knew and had experienced. It felt like memory. And then, in talking to my wife about it, I realized that that’s not a relationship you ever see in films, but it feels like you’ve seen it before. It’s so complete, in the telling. It taps into things, particularly those of us who have 16-year-old daughters, as I do, who are into theater. It’s very precise.
And Paul’s movie (Phantom Thread), my wife and I made the strange decision to take our kids to go see it and, ever since, every time I do anything vaguely what they would call dictatorial, it’s, “Oh, Mr. Woodcock, are you a spy? Get out your gun. Do you have a gun?” I’ve been hearing that for weeks. And every time Emma cooks mushrooms now, there are huge hysterics. I’ve seen the film a couple of times, and seeing it in 70mm was such a pleasure. The thing I found out about it, as it opened up on its photo-chemical version, is that I was suddenly very aware of how the use of sound in the film is extraordinary. It’s simple and gritty, and then extremely loud, like with the spreading of the butter on the toast. You feel it, up and down your spine. It’s amazing. All of the films are just incredible work, and I’m very proud to be amongst these guys.
If you have yet to catch up with any of these movies, an endorsement by Nolan will hopefully push you buy a ticket. The Oscars will be handed out on March 4th.