Helmer soldiers on through victories and defeats

If one were to identify a theme that runs throughout Oliver Stone’s tours of duty, it might be “casualties of war.” The three-time Oscar winner has certainly experienced his share of stunning victories (Vietnam-themed “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July”) and crushing Waterloos (“Alexander”), but he soldiers on like a battle-tested veteran.

An assaultive filmmaker with a keen interest in films about the perils of leadership (“Nixon,” “JFK”), his seriocomic “W.” was a quick-strike biopic of the exiting U.S. commander-in-chief that was shot, edited and strategically released before the elections, in a matter of months.

While not exactly a box office rout, it earned more than a few salutes from critics for outflanking those expecting liberal bias by showing compassion for an unpopular president.

Trophies: 2 Oscars; 2 DGA Awards; 3 Golden Globes; Independent Spirit Award

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