Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
PRO: Making stylistic choices to avoid color and dialogue, some French guy relies on classic cinema storytelling to bring the silent-film era to life.
CON: Replacing color and dialogue with a hackneyed plot and overblown mugging, the phrase "The Artist" hasn't had this pretentious a connotation since Prince used it as his name.
Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
PRO: Funny, smart, and for Woody, a success -- at $56 million, Woody's highest-grossing movie ever.
CON: Still does not equal opening-weekend grosses of Dark of the Moon, e.g., Transformers 3.
Martin Scorsese for Hugo
PRO: Great previous body of work, including masterpieces Mean Streets, Goodfellas, and, our favorite, Raging Bull.
CON: It's about a kid who gains 65 pounds in order to ... oh, wait, it's about film preservation. ZZZ.
Alexander Payne for The Descendants
PRO: In this successor film to About Schmidt and Sideways, Payne does another great job getting funny yet nuanced portrayals from his actors.
CON: Is this Payne's version of a blockbuster -- take a Pirates of the Carribean sequel, move it to Hawaii, and make it a depressing story about family and real estate? Wake us when stuff blows up.
Terence Malick for The Tree of Life
PRO: Malick continues his masterpiece-a-decade streak with this complex exploration of the human condition; a dreamlike film where dinosaurs and Sean Penn can co-exist comfortably.
CON: It's like Inception, minus the action and narrative structure.
A Separation (Iran)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
In Darkness (Poland)
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