1. Martin Scorsese ("The Departed," "Shutter Island") vs. 5. Clint Eastwood ("Changeling," "Invictus")The fellas at Weekend give this to Scorsese unanimously, but I'd give it to him only after a long and protracted fight. Scorsese hasn't made a great film since Goodfellas, whereas Clint has Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby, all hefty blows to the solar plexus. Marty edges back only once you allow in all his seventies work: Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, Alice. I can't think of another great director whose oeuvre rests on such a narrow strip. I'd give it to Spielberg over the Coens without hesitation. Moving onto the Newbies bracket, we have:—
The Coen Brothers ("No Country For Old Men," "A Serious Man") vs 2. Steven Spielberg ("Munich," "Minority Report")
8. Judd Apatow ("Funny People," "Knocked Up") vs. 4. Guillermo Del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy 2")Weekend reward del Toro over Apatow. I'd reverse that. Apatow has reconfigured the comic landscape. They also have a soft spot for Mendes, who is essentially a theatre director who hires great cinematographers to hide the fact. I'd give it to Coppola.
3. Sam Mendes ("Jarhead," "Revolutionary Road" ) vs Sofia Coppola ("Marie Antoinette" "Lost in Translation")
My third round Indies bracket looks like this:—
1. Quentin Tarantino ("Death Proof," "Inglourious Basterds") vs. Ang Lee ("Brokeback Mountain")The weekend brackets by this point bear no resemblance to mine except for the presence of Tarantino. I'd give it to Lee easily, and Fincher over Linklater (just). Moving onto the Populists, we have:
6. David Fincher ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Zodiac") vs. Richard Linklater ("Before Sunrise", "Dazed and Confused")
1. James Cameron ("Avatar") vs. 5. Peter Jackson ("King Kong," "The Lovely Bones")They give it to Jackson over Cameron — unwise, based on one trilogy. Cameron has reinvented the sequel, aced the action movie and reordered the molecular structure of cinema. They clearly have a weakness for big hits in the last few years: they also have Nolan winning for The Dark Knight. Single hits should not get you into the top 16. Zemeckis hasn't made a good film since Castaway but he gets it, like Scorsese, on the strength of his back catalogue.
6. Robert Zemeckis ("Beowulf," "A Christmas Carol") vs. Christopher Nolan ("The Prestige," "The Dark Knight")