THE KAELS 2014: Best Director nominees

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Sarah Polley, Stories We Tell

Natural, informal and intimate, Polley’s Stories We Tell is delivered in a style that highlights the emotions and words that weave seamlessly together to tell a captivating story to which we can all somehow relate.

– Erin

Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Blackfish

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I watched this film about 5 times (no joke). It was fascinating, well-organized, poignant, and not long-winded. I think it will change the way Sea World operates and the way future generations look at parks like it, which makes this movie super important.

– Isa

Sofia Coppola, The Bling Ring


Coppola has such a talent for drawing the viewer into the world she creates, and the world inhabited by rich, bored L.A. teenagers came to life under her careful direction. I both hated the characters and wanted to know what happened to them. That’s talent in storytelling!

– Jenna

Jennifer Lee, Frozen

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It’s a bit tougher to judge the direction on an animated film, which is probably why it’s next to impossible for directors to get nominated for these films. That being said, these directors are no less responsible for the final product we see on-screen; they’ve only switched from directing actors to voice actors, or cinematographers to animators, or whatever the case may be. Not to mention that Frozen is also a comedy—but let’s not get started on that. Now that that’s out of the way, Frozen is a beautifully and brilliantly-crafted film. It’s thoughtful, gorgeous and emotionally-involving.

– Michelle

Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said


Even if you haven’t been a fan of Holofcener’s chatty, day-in-the-life personal dramas (Friends With Kids, Walking and Talking) in previous years, you likely appreciated the uncomfortably funny and moving way that she framed this tale of one woman’s awkwardly tangled middle-aged love life. She coaxed a lovely last performance out of James Gandolfini (not that he needed any help), and paired him with an equally game Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Much like Louis-Dreyfus, who has found an epic second wind with vitrol-spitting Veep, Holofcener is clearly in a new prime.

– Emily

Maggie Carey, The To Do List

This summer sex comedy was highly underrated at the time of its release and it’s a real shame because it manages to be both a truly hilarious and realistic depiction of a Type A young woman’s sexual awakening and a touching commentary on the importance of the timeless adage “Ovaries before brovaries.” Carey manages to have an absolute blast with her cast (lead by a charmingly awkward, yet driven Aubrey Plaza!), the movie’s time period (the ’90s), the frank subject matter (Plaza’s character vows to do all sorts of sex acts–including losing her V card–in the summer before college) and, perhaps best of all, a certain Beaches song, proving that this “Late Night Comedy” game Netflix speaks of is far from an all-boys game.

– Emily

TOMORROW: We reveal our Best Film nominees …. with a twist!

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