News

‘Michael Clayton' director Tony Gilroy's Oscar bid

Jan Stuart
Newsday (MCT)

He looks like a Brooks Brothers model, but keeps his feet planted squarely behind the camera. He was raised in upstate New York, yet writes like an acerbic British wordsmith. When he decided to direct, he got four of the most seasoned moviemakers in the business to produce. And everything he touches, at least in 2007, turns to gold.

Now that the writers' strike is settled in time for Sunday's Oscars, expect the TV cameras that night to make repeated glances at Tony Gilroy. When the Manhattan-born writer donned a director's hat for the first time on his legal thriller, "Michael Clayton," he ended up winning nominations for his fleet direction and eminently quotable screenplay, as well as navigated three of his actors into the Oscar race (George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson). The cake's icing: The picture's up for the top prize, as well.

As if all this weren't enough to bag Gilroy a gold statue for best overachiever, he also wrote the screenplay for "The Bourne Ultimatum," which earned three Oscar nominations in addition to "Michael Clayton's" grand total of seven.

The son of Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Frank D. Gilroy ("The Subject Was Roses"), Tony Gilroy is your basic 15-year overnight success. Making his screenwriting debut in 1992 with the ice rink drama "The Cutting Edge," Gilroy carved a swath in Hollywood as a writer of high-end, commercially viable thrillers. Among the more notable successes were the Al Pacino-Keanu Reeves fantasy "The Devil's Advocate" and "Dolores Claiborne," one of the most emotionally resonant screen adaptations of a Stephen King work to date.

It was Gilroy's smart, tricky scripts for the three "Bourne" thrillers, however, that cemented his reputation as the classiest purveyor of breathless suspense films in the business.

The notion for "Michael Clayton" came to Gilroy when he was researching big-city law firms for "The Devil's Advocate." It would take another 10 years before the script would go before the cameras, but by that time, Gilroy had an A-list team behind him that included Steven Soderbergh, Anthony Minghella, Sidney Pollack and his leading man. When you've got this many Oscar winners shoring you up, how can you lose?

___

BEST DIRECTOR NOMINEES

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," Julian Schnabel

"Juno," Jason Reitman

"Michael Clayton," Tony Gilroy

"No Country for Old Men," Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

"There Will Be Blood," Paul Thomas Anderson


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

9
Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.