[EDITOR'S NOTE: Press Play presents "Should Win," a series of video essays advocating winners in seven Academy Awards categories: supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best director and best picture. These are consensus choices hashed out by a pool of Press Play contributors. Follow along HERE as Press Play decides the major categories including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Documentary. Important notice: Press Play is aware that our videos can not be played on Apple mobile devices. We are, therefore, making this and every video in this series available on Vimeo for these Press Play readers. If you own an Apple mobile device, click here.]
This year's Oscar race for Best Director features an especially strong roster. The five nominees are Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist, Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life, Alexander Payne for The Descendants and Martin Scorsese for Hugo. Four of them did magnificent work this year, one of them less so, but in the end there will only be one winner.
But this year's Academy Award for Best Director should go to the master, Martin Scorsese. In Hugo, Scorsese shares with the audience his eternal love of movies through a magnificent palate of colors and exuberant motion made all the more fantastic by an exemplary use of 3D. But despite the added dimension, Hugo is the rare 3D film that works without it; the opening title sequence alone is a marvel of direction. Scorsese also displays a knack for physical comedy that one wouldn't have expected. Generally, though, Scorsese's direction manages to put a sense of wonder front and center. His love of films and filmmaking may be the hidden true subject of every film he has ever made. In a strange way, Hugo might be Scorsese's most personal film to date.
Kevin B. Lee is editor in chief of Press Play. Ali Arikan is the chief film critic of Dipnot TV, a Turkish news portal and iPad magazine, and one of Roger Ebert’s Far-Flung Correspondents. Ali is also a regular contributor to The House Next Door, Slant Magazine’s official blog.