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Quentin Tarantino - 'Django Unchained'
Pro: With 20 years (and two Best Director nominations) having passed since he burst onto the scene with “Reservoir Dogs,” Quentin Tarantino is more elder statesman than enfant terrible these days: there's a lot of respect for him in the directors' branch, and with the Weinstein hype machine behind it, “Django Unchained” won't struggle to attract eyeballs when it bows at Christmastime. The slavery-themed period Western is evidently an ambitious effort.
Con: Ambitious, yes, but is it Academy-friendly? Tarantino may have struck twice with the Academy, but most of his films have been too wild and genre-oriented for their liking. “Inglourious Basterds” was an initially unlikely Oscar play that benefited from its summer release, as robust box office overrode its more contentious aspects. QT has less time to make a good impression with “Django,” and will compete with fellow esteemed writer-directors Paul Thomas Anderson and David O. Russell for the Weinsteins' campaign energies.
- Guy Lodge