Although its reception at Sundance was kind of mezzo mezzo, there is no doubt that Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has the stuff to become one of the nine by year’s end. There are several factors that will contribute to this but the top of the list would be Linklater’s dedication to the project. Indiewire’s Erik Kohn calls it an “unprecedented achievement in fictional storytelling.” Starting in 2002, Boyhood tracks a child as he comes of age. His parents, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke are divorced and both play significant parts in the film.
The film is already setting itself up as a favorite among many film critics who’ve seen it, though its subtlety and careful construction requires more careful viewing and consideration than the usual chew it up and spit it out process of the Oscar race, particularly in the early phases of it.
Nonetheless, given the reviews, the subject matter, and Linklater’s own uncelebrated career thus far, it seems to me like it could be not just one of the nine but perhaps one of the five Best Directing nominees.
As a side note: I wish for a female director out there to think about this film and maybe make a corresponding film called “girlhood.”