Watch This: Has a stranger, more mysterious film ever been nominated for Best Director?

One week a month, Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by new releases or premieres. This week: With the Academy Awards a few days away, we look back at some of the unlikeliest Oscar nominees, picking a different major category every day.

Woman In The Dunes (1964)

Now that the Academy nominates between five and 10 movies for Best Picture every year, there are rarely any surprises in the adjacent Best Director roster; only once this decade has a filmmaker (Bennett Miller) scored a nomination despite his film (Foxcatcher) being left out of the Picture race. But back when only five movies competed for the top prize, complete overlap between the two categories wasn’t as inevitable. In its prouder moments, the directing branch of the Academy would smuggle some real auteurs into its lineup, from American mavericks like John Cassavetes, David Lynch, and Spike Jonze to the same class …

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