All The Money in the World director Ridley Scott has been doing loads of interviews over the last 12 days or so. In itself, his herculean feat of shooting new scenes with Christopher Plummer between 11.20 and 11.29 easily warrants a Best Director nomination. Will it happen? In a fair world, it would, but in the one we live in, probably not. The five likelies are Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and Steven Spielberg (The Post)…right? Which is why the Academy should break tradition and give Scott a special Oscar this year. I wouldn’t be hard — they’d just have to do it.
A friend writes: “I agree that the cigar-chomping, nose-to-the-grindstone ethic of Ridley Scott is something to be admired. But why is it that nobody asks him why his movies fall victim to a lack of humanity? There’s a kind of bloodless current that runs through his stuff, with agonizingly few exceptions. For a dude that smart, at what point does a shooter realize that without heart he’s…. well, a ‘shooter’? It’s great to make your schedule, nobody’s ever said ‘that was the best shooting schedule I’ve ever seen in my life.'”
My reply: “Ridley’s always been a bit of a tough, gruff, flinty type. His movies are never about heart (can you think of one? Thelma and Louise maybe) but bold design, chops, irony, craft. In an oblique or backhanded way All The Money in the World is kind of a ‘heart’ movie because it’s all about a guy who refused to show one when his grandson was kidnapped, and so the void points to what should have been there. Because it’s focuses so much on the crucial absence of heart (except in the case of Michelle Williams‘ character), it’s about the importance of heart.”