Examine the Work of Russell, Scorsese, & More in Keyframe's Best Director Showdown Video

The 2014 Academy Awards are now exactly two weeks away, which means advertisements, TV spots, interviews, and talk show appearances featuring nominated films and their actors are reaching their seasonal apices. But over at Keyframe, they've put together a video that pits each Best Director nominee against each other in a fight to see which one is most deserving of the Oscar. Continue on to take a closer look at the directorial styles, performances, and artistic approaches of some of the most talented directors working today.

Competing for the Oscar this year is David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street). These are all supremely talented directors who have made exceedingly great films, but which one is more deserving to win? Author of the article, Kevin B. Lee comes right out of the gate saying Russell does.

But, quite honestly, that question is neither here nor there, to me. (I stopped my lust for competition and winning when I got cut from the basketball team in high school.) Keyframe's video is so helpful not necessarily for determining a winner, but to understand the craft of filmmaking through examining the techniques of each director, dissecting their films, and comparing their end results. The ways in which each director employs tone; the way they engage with their actors (Lee describes Russell as a quarterback -- energetic and alive), and their aptitude for aiding each actor in taking a character, that was at one point just words on a page, and turning it into a living, breathing human being with a soul that can be either crushed or saved.

Take a look at the video below:

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYLRhNVXwB8

Be sure to check out Keyframe's full article for more insight into each film.

What do you think about the points the video brought up about each film? Do you agree with the opinions posed in the Keyframe article? Let us know in the comments below.

[via Keyframe]

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God I hated that clip. That's not a showdown, it's just one guy eliminating competitors based on his own observations helping the outcome he wants, Russel winning...

I personally didn't connect with American Hustle. Don't get me wrong, it's a damn fine movie, but it's no masterpiece like a modern Paul Thomas Anderson epic or the "up for best picture" nominee "Her".

Who thinks btw, that every "best picture" nomination should also be in the best director category? I mean... kinda doesn't make sense

February 16, 2014 at 4:59PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Really not intone with directing if you think American Hustle is as entertaining and well directed as Wolf Of Wall Street.....If Martin Scorsese get Robbed again.....I'll boycott the Academy Awards for one year....lol

February 16, 2014 at 8:55PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


I liked American Hustle ,it's a fun film and the Russel has directed it well but to Pit against Alfonso Cuaron ...hmm.The prime rule of great film making is that it should be least manipulative of the emotions of the viewer at any instance in its whole runtime and it should be honest.The films which followed this rule the most are Gravity,12 years a slave and Nebraska.I feel Gravity is the greatest major Scifi film since 2001 a space Odyssey....hopefully it wins the Best picture.

February 16, 2014 at 9:12PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Perhaps you mean that the film not manipulate emotions in a hamfisted (clumsy) fashion. The very nature of story telling is to "manipulate emotions". I've yet to see "Hustle" but i'm not sure I'd consider Gravity innocent of the intentional emotional tug (for instance the embryo shot).

February 17, 2014 at 7:06AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


regardless - this article/video is garbage.

February 17, 2014 at 7:07AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


+1 , sorry Renee i usually dig your articles, but epic fail on this one, Cringe worthy video. Maybe it has to do with the author rooting for Russel, the least worthy of getting a best director oscar this year, Cuaron should win Best Director and Best Picture for Gravity. But obviously 12 years will win best picture, being about slavery and all, god I hate the Oscars.

Gravity should win all the accolades IMO, only because it stirred something in my while I was watching that I havent felt with a motion picture since forever. It was a thrill ride from the first frame to the last. Groundbreaking.

February 17, 2014 at 9:14AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


The Coen Brothers

February 17, 2014 at 9:29AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


It would seem this video is incredibly biased towards American Hustle.
Easily the weakest film nominated

February 17, 2014 at 11:57AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


These type of videos remind me of when a teenage designer tells me what the greatest logos of 2013 were on some half-assed design blog.

No understanding or experience in the field he/she is commenting on.

February 17, 2014 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

Fresno Bob

This isnt really EXAMINING anything. Just a subjective video expressing opinions that I (and many above) think are wrong.

February 17, 2014 at 7:01PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Hmm. His analogies for Russell's greatness are on the same grounds for why I dislike him so much. "Russell's tone is all over the map... while searching for bigger payoffs" I agree minus the payoff and I'd take all over the map further to sloppy. likewise in Silver linings

March 3, 2014 at 12:22AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Jesus Fucking Christ this video is beyond idiotic. American Hustle blew. How dare you compare David to Marty. This video and its points is a huge joke.

June 17, 2015 at 10:50AM

Josh Wolf

This video is a joke...

June 17, 2015 at 1:19PM

Taylan Sinan Yilmaz