Fans of Alfonso Cuaron have been noting, with a mixture of resignation and appreciation, the "Gravity" director’s deliberate work pace -- after all, for reasons both economic and technological, seven years passed between "Children of Men," his previous film, and "Gravity." They ask: Can't he just work quicker?
Cuaron has the same question.
"My dream is to be able to move faster and make more films. But for some reason, I’m incapable of that," Cuaron told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, shortly after being nominated for best director at the Golden Globes. "Part of the thing,” added the director, who took five years between "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "Children of Men," “is that I really like to enjoy life in between films" -- a not-entirely-welcome thought for those of us who take a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately approach to filmmakers.
Cuaron's status as one of this season’s directing frontrunners was given one more thumbs-up Thursday when the Globes put the helmer on its short list. Cuaron is all but assured a spot on the Oscar director list and has a solid shot of winning.
His movie also remains solidly in the best picture race. After the SAG Awards and Golden Globes these last two days, most pundits now peg it as a three-way contest among “Gravity,” "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle.” (If “Gravity” were to win the Oscar for best picture, by the way, it would be the fourth-highest-grossing movie ever to do so, not adjusting for inflation.)
Cuaron, speaking by phone from Heathrow as he was set to board a plane to Italy (he splits his time between that country and London), did acknowledge that "Gravity" was in the mix with the Steve McQueen and David O. Russell films but then spread the wealth around. "It's one of those years," he said. "An amazing year for cinema. And I'm not even talking about 'Gravity,'" acknowledging McQueen and Russell and also giving a shout-out to Paul Greengrass ("Captain Phillips") and Spike Jonze ("Her").
Much of the technology that Cuaron used to make it appear in “Gravity” as if Sandra Bullock and George Clooney were actually in space has, over the last few months, been studied by other filmmakers and studios and will likely continue to draw attention by those seeking to replicate it. But Cuaron played down his fears that the technology -- dozens of cameras surrounding the actors to give the movie its 360-degree feel -- will become co-opted and thus commonplace in the coming years.
"All these things are tools. They're relevant only in terms of the emotional and thematic aspects," he said. "I'm sure a lot of what we experimented with can be applied in different ways. But some will be the same old idea. Some will be eye candy. It's up to the filmmaker to turn the technology into something relevant."