We’re counting down to the Oscars by introducing you to some of the best and sometimes overlooked performances of this year's Oscar contenders. Today’s episode: The Grass is always Greener.
Today’s Know Your Nominee is short but sweet. Paul Greengrass. No one saw this coming. A British director with only one major film, an action film (The Bourne Supremacy), known to most Americans, tackling the sorest, most raw, volatile subject matter of our time. The events of 9/11. In a famous story, someone yelled, “Too soon” when the trailer first played in New York, and it soon became a rallying cry. No one had any faith that it was anything but a financial land grab trying to stake its claim as the first to capitalize on the tragedy. Instead, Greengrass turned in a film that astounded pretty much everyone who saw it.
Bloody Sunday. The film we all probably should have thought about when wondering whether or not Greengrass was going to be capable of handling 9/11, this is the story of an Irish civil rights protest gone horribly wrong when the Army trying to break it up gets out of hand. This was the first time Greengrass really showed us his “Feature Film Documentary” style that has become his hallmark. A standout film that really should end up in your Netflix queue as soon as possible to understand what this guy is capable of.
The Bourne Supremacy. Taking over for Doug Liman on this action sequel turned out to be a killer choice for Greengrass. He took his documentary style and used it in this action/spy thriller to an effect that was unrivaled until this fall’s Children of Men. The very real, gritty look to the car chases and martial arts fights led to one hell of a fun, unique ride that no action fan can miss. Unfortunately, while the film is inventive and fun, it is still based upon a Jason Bourne novel, which automatically makes it a retread of a retread. But with someone like Greengrass at the helm, you really do forgive it. And be ready to forgive it again, as Greengrass is currently putting the finishing touches on The Bourne Ultimatum, the third of the spy series.
Why he probably shouldn’t get the gold: I won’t just say shouldn’t, but this time will actually say probably won’t. Directors who are nominated for an Oscar for a film that isn’t up for Best Picture DO NOT WIN. Period. The nomination is their prize. Greengrass can now continue his career as “Oscar Nominated Director Paul Greengrass” and use that juice to continue to make great films. But he better not be clearing a space on that mantle just yet. A win for him would be considered an unbelievable upset. And probably would cause Scorsese to finally put a shotgun in his mouth.
C. Robert Cargill - - - Email
Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD two times a week.
This is part of Film.com's coverage of the 2007 Academy Awards. For more Oscar articles, analysis, news, and red carpet photo galleries, visit our Oscars page.