Sharing the Love With 2018's Best Director Nominees

I don't mean to overstate how thrilled I am about the 2018 Academy Award nominations, particularly those in Best Director category, but it's not every year we see such a crop of visionary and compassionate storytellers recognized for near perfect films. Fortunately, I'm not the only one who feels this way. As the nominees for Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele, and Guillermo del Toro) complete their last leg of promo leading up to the Oscars ceremony on March 4, they could not stop gushing about each other.

If you love filmmakers who love filmmakers, I present to you the anti-"Filmmaker-on-Filmmaker Insults" list, a compilation of every nice thing that the greatest directors of 2017 have said about their competition.

 
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Christopher Nolan on Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul, I’ve known for some time. We’ve bonded over the state of the world’s celluloid and trying to maintain infrastructure. He’s been a very important ally in that, so we’ve helped each other out with that, over the years.

My wife and I made the strange decision to take our kids to go see [Phantom Thread] and, ever since, every time I do anything vaguely what they would call dictatorial, it’s, “Oh, Mr. Woodcock, are you a spy? Get out your gun. Do you have a gun?” I’ve been hearing that for weeks. And every time Emma cooks mushrooms now, there are huge hysterics. I’ve seen the film a couple of times, and seeing it in 70mm was such a pleasure. The thing I found out about it, as it opened up on its photo-chemical version, is that I was suddenly very aware of how the use of sound in the film is extraordinary. It’s simple and gritty, and then extremely loud, like with the spreading of the butter on the toast. You feel it, up and down your spine. It’s amazing. All of the films are just incredible work, and I’m very proud to be amongst these guys. (via Collider)

 

Greta Gerwig on Paul Thomas Anderson

With [Paul’s] beautiful movie (Phantom Thread), the scene after he recovers from his first illness and he comes in and asks her to marry him, it’s both perverted and sublimely romantic. (via Collider)

 

Jordan Peele on Paul Thomas Anderson

“When I met Paul about three weeks or a month ago, I was like, ‘Dude, I loved Phantom Thread so much!’ And he was like, ‘Really? How did you see it?’ I was like, ‘On a screener!’ And I just saw his face go, ‘Ohh,’ and I realized that I’d lost Paul, forever.” 

Phantom Thread really fucked me up. I loved each of their movies for distinct reasons. They’re all masterpieces. By the way, I should point out that when I met Paul about three weeks or a month ago, I was like, “Dude, I loved Phantom Thread so much!” And he was like, “Really?! How did you see it?” I was like, “On a screener!” And I just saw his face go, “Ohh,” and I realized that I’d lost Paul, forever. There’s a scene in the movie where Woodcock is at the New Year’s Eve party, and the emotion, the psychology and the visual beauty of that moment are working in harmony, in a way that is just a pure cinematic moment that you almost can’t describe. I get choked up, thinking about the character, who is looking for the woman he loves and he realizes there is a rift between them that may never be mended and may never make sense. This beautiful moment of searching for this person he loves and simultaneously realizing that he needs to let go of her in some way, I’m not sure if that’s how he was thinking about it because that might be my shit, but it was one of those moments of realizing, “This is cinema!” (via Collider)

 

Guillermo del Toro on Paul Thomas Anderson


Paul Thomas Anderson on Christopher Nolan

I always get to see Chris’ films in the optimal setting, hot off the presses. I just remember thinking that, as many times as you’ve done this, there’s no greater pleasure than sitting in a movie theater now and saying, “How the fuck did he do that?!” That was every single moment [with Dunkirk], really. (via Collider)

 

Greta Gerwig on Christopher Nolan

In Dunkirk, there are so many moments to choose from. The moment that was the most emotional for me is the moment that happens after Cillian Murphy asks, “Is the boy okay?,” and he says, “Yes, he’ll be okay.” And then, he shares a look with Mark Rylance, and Mark Rylance gives him his approval. It’s a lie, but it’s for the good. Also, just the very beginning of it, where you’re instantly in the confusion of war. They’re children, and it’s just utterly confusing. That made me cry, instantly. (via Collider)

 


Photo by Merie Wallace. Courtesy of A24.

Photo by Merie Wallace. Courtesy of A24.

 

Paul Thomas Anderson on Greta Gerwig

Christopher Nolan on Greta Gerwig

Greta’s movie, I went to see and it felt familiar, in all the right ways. It felt comfortable. It felt like a part of life that I knew and had experienced. It felt like memory. And then, in talking to my wife about it, I realized that that’s not a relationship you ever see in films, but it feels like you’ve seen it before. It’s so complete, in the telling. It taps into things, particularly those of us who have 16-year-old daughters, as I do, who are into theater. It’s very precise. (via Collider)

 

Guillermo del Toro on Greta Gerwig


Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

 

Paul Thomas Anderson on Jordan Peele

I got to see [Jordan Peele’s] movie in the middle of shooting, in winter in London, when I really needed a lifeline and I needed something to inspire me. I was cold and I didn’t think we were doing well, and I took myself to the movies on Sunday night. I was an enormous fan of everything he’d done in television, but the film inspired me so deeply and hugely. It was also a connection back to my country, as peculiar as that connection might be. It actually ironically made me homesick. (via Collider)

 

Christopher Nolan on Jordan Peele

Jordan’s movie (Get Out), I had no idea what I was going to see. I hadn’t read anything about it, other than that it was great. And how often do you get the experience of seeing something that you have no idea where it’s going to go, and then it goes somewhere far more interesting than you ever imagined. (via Collider)

 

Greta Gerwig on Jordan Peele

I saw [Jordan’s] movie in the best possible way. I saw it in a huge theater in New York City, and everyone was screaming at the screen and to themselves, and everyone was terrified and laughing, and then people started crying. It was like being in a collective experience, watching everyone go through their emotions. For me, it was Daniel Kaluuya’s face when he says, “No, no, I’m not gonna talk about that,” and you see this well of pain that he can’t even articulate. It was this tender detail, in the middle of a genre film.

"Because it’s our writing and directing debut, I feel like I’m often turning to [Jordan] and saying, 'Can you believe this?!'" (via Collider)

 


 

Greta Gerwig on Guillermo del Toro

Photo by Kerry Hayes. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

Photo by Kerry Hayes. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

"Guillermo’s movie transported me and made me fall in love with love. It did this thing that only movies can do, where you love the lovers. I don’t know that anything else can do that. It was the moment after the water goes out [of the bathroom] and Sally Hawkins is behind the creature, and the look on her face, when she looks at Richard Jenkins, is this look of, “You cannot shame me because I am in love.” It makes me tear up, just to think about it. It’s the most beautiful thing." (via Collider)

 

Christopher Nolan on Guillermo del Toro

I had the pleasure, a couple of years ago, of doing a Q&A with Guillermo, so I got to go back and look at all of his films. When I saw The Shape of Water, I knew that this was one of the ones that came straight from the heart and is informed by his personal experience in ways that I have no idea what they are, but I know that they’re utterly sincere. He’s made several other films like that, and this was a new one of those. I found that very, very moving. (via Collider)