Bryan Singer – Best Director
Considered by many to be the launch of the modern superhero renaissance, X-Men was certainly the first film to take an iconic Marvel property and treat it with the seriousness it deserved. It was a big coup for the film–in development hell since the ’80s–to land a director of Bryan Singer’s caliber, having just come off the acclaimed Oscar-winner The Usual Suspects. Singer honed in on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original themes of intolerance and civil rights among mutants, adding underlying allegory from both the Holocaust and the gay rights movement. That’s pretty heady stuff for a time when Batman & Robin was still fresh in people’s minds. Singer didn’t just give us a long-running franchise, he brought legitimacy to a genre.
V FOR VENDETTA (2006)
Dario Marianelli – Best Original Score
The Wachowskis and director James McTeigue took Alan Moore’s sprawling graphic novel and streamlined it for the screen in ways that the original author didn’t appreciate (Moore took his name off the movie) but audiences responded to. In the hands of lesser creators, the story of anarchic revolutionary V (Hugo Weaving) and his (possibly brainwashed?) sidekick Evey (Natalie Portman) could have been smarmy or “in your face,” but with the aid of Dario Marianelli’s stirring score, the story has an emotional resonance that’s one part Patty Hearst and one part Phantom of the Opera. Marianelli eventually won an Academy Award for Atonement, and his V For Vendetta score was used by Christopher Nolan for the first Interstellar trailer.
Head to page 4 for two very dark DC Comics adaptations!