From Ben Affleck to Joss Whedon
Ben Lewin - 'The Sessions'
Pro: An awards campaign can often be built on a personal narrative, and Lewin's is a good one. The Polish-born Australian-American director had been toiling away in television and low-profile film work for decades before finally striking festival gold at the age of 66 with “The Sessions,” a film that clearly speaks to his own battle with polio and disability. The film is bound to receive acting nominations for John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, and the directors' branch may realize that performances like that don't happen on their own.
Con: Though soundly and surely handled, this small-scale character piece isn't a particularly striking directorial showcase – many will take Lewin's work for granted, particularly given his relatively unfamiliar name. The film doesn't currently have the Best Picture buzz required to sweep him into the mix.
- Guy Lodge