For Your Consideration: Best Achievement in Directing
Film: “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Writer: Lynne Ramsay & Rory Kinnear
Realistic Nominations: Best Actress (Tilda Swinton)
Oscar Scene: Kevin’s bow (after the massacre).
Few women find themselves in Oscar’s conversation for Best Director. Most recently we saw Kathryn Bigelow win her much deserved Oscar for “The Hurt Locker” but there have been plenty of women worthy of citation over the past decade. Sofia Coppola was nominated for writing and directing the independent classic, “Lost in Translation” but what of Julie Taymor for her wonderful adaptation of the Beatles’ classic songs in “Across the Universe.” Before the “Twilight” franchise, Catherine Hardwicke put her stamp on the indie film, “Thirteen” starring Evan Rachel Wood and Oscar Winner Holly Hunter. Obviously we’ve seen Jane Campion awarded for her work in “The Piano” but she brought to life the beautiful “Bright Star” and “Portrait of a Lady,” both ignored by the Academy.
The list can continue for days but what Ramsay achieves in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is a clear, concrete theme displayed with stunning visuals and the ability to direct her actors to their finest potentials. Unfortunately, her reward will likely lie with a Best Actress nomination for Tilda Swinton when everything is said and done but it’s hard to believe that Ramsay has only directed two full length features prior to this gritty adaptation of the novel by Lionel Shriver. What Ramsay is able to bring out of Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton in particular is one of the finest takes on character studies seen in some time.
Her use of the color red, while some may find overkill, is used in the proper dosage, illuminating the dark undertones of the subject matter that casts a shadow over the picture. It’s a respectful and diligent take on a very controversial topic that at times can be even more sensitive than 9/11. Ramsay must be praised for her outstanding direction on a very daunting subject while keeping her stylistic qualities intact.