Best Director-1960

Billy Wilder

Official Nominations: This year saw a rare nomination for Hitchcock, his main competition coming from other Hollywood legend Billy Wilder. Wilder picked up the award, but my vote has to go to Hitchcock. While The Apartment is a witty enough comedy which pressed several boundaries, Hitchcock’s masterpiece is a seminal work of terror. He orchestrates with a hook for a hand, teasing and tearing at each scene for our amusement and dread. Few horror movies have been as well received critically as this, and most horror movies today owe something to it. The script may be above standard fare, offering several psychological elements rarely seen on screen before, but Hitchcock’s use of the camera as a voyeur, his dangling of shots, and his startling reveals set to horrifying sound are now staples of the genre. Few films have had as much impact to a genre as this, and the majority of this impact is down to the rotund Master.
Rounding up the list are Jack Cardiff, Jules Dassin, and Fred Zinnemann. Cardiff was already a renowned Cinematographer who had indeed worked for Hitchcock. Sons And Lovers was his most successful foray into directing and though the film is undoubtedly beautiful to watch, it remains a by the numbers retelling. The Blacklisted Dassin gets a nomination here largely because Hollywood was guilty for how they had treated him and while his filmography is wide there is nothing, including Never on Sunday, which stands out as wonderful. Zinnemann’s Sundowners is well acted and directed, but doesn’t compare with his earlier epics.

My Winner: Alfred Hitchcock

My Nominations: Only two of my nominations for Best Director 1960 were nominated in your reality. Thanks though to the power of The Spac Hole, history has righted itself and those truly worthy have won their place on the list.

Billy Wilder: Good enough to win in reality, but not good enough in the eyes of The Spac Hole.
Jean Luc Godard: Godard’s first feature, Breathless, ranks amongst his best and is still an edgy affair now. The visual flare started a new wave in France and Hollywood.
Akira Kurosawa:  The Bad Sleep Well is not a well-known Kurosawa show, but his trademark style translates well to the modern setting.
John Sturges:  Sturges knew how to handle a large ensemble cast, but more so he knew how to handle a group of megastars. His film is action packed, looks gorgeous, and as always manages to focus more on the characters in what many may have otherwise called a silly genre film.
Nagisa Oshima:  Not only was it politically daring and controversial, Night And Fog In Japan again showed us a director in full control of his camera and confident in his innovation, particularly during the long shots.
Michael Powell:  Although Peeping Tom pretty much ended his career as a respected film maker until years after he had stopped making movies, it took us further than any previous movie both into the mind of a serial killer and advancing the notion of voyeurism in the link between audience and character.
Stanley Kubrick: Spartacus is Kubrick’s reply to Ben Hur, and while not as successful it has much greater depth. The young Director took the strain of such a large production and made it even more epic than originally imagined. Signs of his perfectionism abound as he took over cinematography and provided most of the film’s beauty.
My Winner: Alfred Hitchcock. Possibly a controversial choice given the talent on display, but given how Hitchcock turned what could have been another tale of murder and crime into the seminal horror movie of the 60s, the praise cannot be understated. With the Production Code fading away, of course it would fall to Hitchcock to lead the way in pushing violence and sexuality to extremes. Aside from his handling of each scene, The Master almost single-handedly promoted the film, not allowing any cast members to reveal the plot and banning previews for critics.


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