The scene in Ashes and Diamonds where Cybulski and Pawlikowski light the shots in remembrance of their dead comrades.
Guido with his whip in 8/12.
The merging of the faces of Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann in Persona.
Travis Bickle, watching the seltzer tablet dissolve.
The pagans appearing in the woods in Andrei Rublev.
The birth of the universe in The Tree of Life.
Either Todd Haynes for Carol, or Spike Lee for Chi-Raq.
Both were exquisitely directed. Neither nominated, however.
I agree. This obsession with gear is strange. Story should come first. The gear is used to tell that story, nothing more.
It's strange. Now that good quality gear is available to those on a modest budget, a lot of shorts appear in which the filmmakers can create very complex and professional looking shots and effects, but have no idea how to tell a story or no idea how to use effective mise en scene or proper blocking.
Re-watched Vivre Sa Vie the other day. It's one of Godard's best, I think. Anna Karina is astounding in it.
I think David Fincher uses CGI very well. Always in service of the script, never to fill a narrative / directorial deficit.
The best CGI is always invisible. You react to the thing, not the effects that create the thing, or you don't notice it at all, merely taking the setting / action as read.
François Truffaut's "The Soft Skin" is well worth watching for some excellent black and white cinematography. Very crisp.
Also Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev".