Oscars 2013 – Best Director

oscars2013-benaffleck-argo

This is our second to last piece previewing the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Part one covered random bits and pieces about some various categories. Part two covered the Screenplay categories. Part three covered the Supporting Roles categories. And part four covered the Leading Roles categories.

This Best Director category has hands-down been the one that has received the most backlash because of a couple of people that failed to be nominated and honestly, the outrage is quite deserved. I’ll get to that in a second but first, here are the nominees:

·         Michael Haneke (Amour)

·         Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

·         David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)

·         Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

·         Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of a Southern Wild)

Any notables names not listed above? Ben Affleck for his work on Argo and Kathryn Bigelow for her work on Zero Dark Thirty, two films that are nominated in many other categories but they failed to gain nominations for their directorial work. Add the fact that Quentin Tarantino wasn’t nominated for Django Unchained either and that’s why this is perhaps the most controversial category not only this year but of the last five years as well. Like I’ve said in previous pieces, I can kind of understand the Tarantino snub because some people were put off by the nature of the film but at the same time, the film itself shows that Tarantino is still operating at his best and is still the best of this generation. There will some consolation from the fact that he’s likely to receive the Best Original Screenplay award but it’s still not quite giving the man his due for some really superb work.

I haven’t gotten a chance to see Zero Dark Thirty yet but Bigelow is a pretty big snub, especially when you take into account that Zero Dark Thirty is her follow-up to 2008’s The Hurt Locker, a film that she won this award for. I’m not saying that just because someone won the award before, that they should automatically be nominated but it’s incredibly clear that she crafted a brilliant film, otherwise the Academy wouldn’t have nominated it in so many other categories. And I don’t even want to go into the fact that she’s a woman and increasing the profile of Hollywood’s female talent is incredibly important because that much should be obvious.

The biggest snub of the entire event is the fact that Affleck is not being nominated for Argo, though. It’s just incredibly mind-boggling because he put together an incredibly rich and smart film that is rightfully getting a lot of recognition for how great it is. So why is it that Affleck himself isn’t being nominated, even though he’s the orchestrator behind it? I honestly don’t know. I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not taking anything away from those that were nominated and I’m sure they incredibly talented themselves and have made a couple of great films but the fact that Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin are nominated but Affleck isn’t is incredibly frustrating. Affleck’s quickly shown that he is incredibly gifted as a filmmaker and he puts together a great film, one that is as captivating as it is uplifting and he gets nothing? It just doesn’t make any sense and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, that the Academy is holding some sort of grudge against him. I obviously has nothing to back that claim up but somebody please give me a valid reason why he wasn’t because I’ve honestly been trying to make sense of it for over two weeks and I still can’t come up with one. It’s a shame and hopefully he’ll get the recognition that he deserves because he’s certainly proven to be worth the recognition.

All of that said, this is pretty much Steven Spielberg’s award for Lincoln. At this point, he is the clear frontrunner and I really don’t have anything more to add to it. I mean, from what I’ve heard, he did a superb job, it’s the type of film that the Academy loves and he is one of the best and most influential directors in the past 50 years so it wouldn’t make sense for anybody else to be a frontrunner. And from the list of candidates, unless they go with an entirely out of left field choice (they did last year, to an extent), then the only other nominee that could be close is David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. The fact that both the principal actors in the film are nominated in the Lead Roles categories is extremely beneficial for his chances but I still don’t see how anybody can overcome Spielberg. That is, of course, other than Ben Affleck but we’ve already gone over that.

That’s all for the Best Director race! The next piece will be our last covering the Oscars and will cover the big category, Best Picture. In the mean time, go out and see Argo so we can all be disappointed together!

Dylan Zellmer

I split time between games journalism and making video games. My love of it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), fitness and my family define me otherwise.