In a wide-open awards season, one thing you can count on is Christopher Nolan snagging his first Oscar nomination for Best Director. It’s true: despite helming some of the biggest hits of the past decade, including The Dark Knight and Inception, Nolan has been repeatedly overlooked by the Academy. That changes with Dunkirk, his summertime hit that recreates the pivotal World War II battle in remarkable detail. Just yesterday, Nolan received his second Golden Globe nomination as Best Director for that film and seems the early frontrunner to win when those statuettes are handed out on Jan. 7. To understand why, watch this exclusive clip from a behind-the-scenes featurette included on the upcoming Blu-ray release of Dunkirk, due out on Dec. 19. It’s a rare chance to watch Nolan in action on a film set, and hear firsthand accounts of his meticulous directorial method. (Watch the clip above.)
Although Nolan doesn’t appear on camera as one of the British soldiers fighting for survival on the beaches of Dunkirk, he made a point of marching right alongside them. “Chris will never ask anyone to do anything without having done it himself,” remarks Dunkirk‘s cinematographer, Hoyte van Hoytema, himself an Oscar favorite. “That kind of hands-on approach is very motivating for everybody.” It certainly motivated pop star Harry Styles, making his acting debut as an infantry private. “I remember the first day I got dressed and put my uniform on…he looked at me and said ‘Your boots are laced wrong.’ From that moment, he set the precedent of ‘I know my s**t.‘” What more could you want in a Best Director nominee?
Dunkirk will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 19.
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