Oscar 2014: I Coulda be a Contender–Director Race–Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater still hasn’t entirely adjusted to the fact that, for the first time in 12 years, he and his cast and crew are not scripting, shooting and editing new scenes for “Boyhood,” his tender, intimate portrait of a young Texas lad who grows up in real time onscreen.

“It’s like the first year you’re not in school,” he says. “I’m still processing it.”

If the Austin, Texas, auteur is having a hard time bidding farewell to this long-gestating labor of love, critics and audiences have been anything but reluctant in their embrace of the film, which has grossed nearly six times its $4 million budget, and won Linklater a Silver Bear in Berlin.

It’s an improbably sweet ending for a picture that, by the filmmaker’s own admission, could have gone wrong at any point.

No less than his celebrated “Before” trilogy, “Boyhood” is a modest yet monumental consideration of the passage of time, a poignant attempt to memorialize the fleeting, ungraspable moment. Linklater calls it “a collaboration with time, but also a collaboration with an unknown future.”

“In film, we’re trying to control this alternate reality we’re creating,” he says. “With ‘Boyhood,’ you had to kind of throw that out and say, ‘I will control what I can control, and deal with a reality that is shifting.’ But that’s less filmmaking and closer to our lives, right?”­— Justin Chang