It’s that time of year again with the full list of nominations for this year’s Oscars available here.
As ever, the talk has turned to those unfortunate few who missed out on nominations: John Hawkes was unlucky not to get a nod for Best Actor for his marvelous turn in The Sessions, while Quentin Tarantino- who is nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for Django Unchained– has voiced his disappointment at Leo DiCaprio’s absence from the nominations.
However, the most noticeable omission, and, perhaps, a talking point in Tinseltown for some time to come, is the absence of Ben Affleck’s name from the list of nominations for the Best Director category for his work on Best Picture nominee, Argo. This is the first year since 1989 that a Best Picture nominee has not had a director nominated in the Best Picture category that year, director Bruce Beresford, who helmed 1989 Best Picture winner Driving Miss Daisy was snubbed by the Academy. Though I feel Affleck is deserving of a nomination- possibly, in place of Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild- the award for Best Director is, effectively, a two- horse race between Ang Lee for Life of Pi and Steven Spielberg for Lincoln. Lee previously pipped Spielberg to the post several years ago for Brokeback Mountain. My feeling is the Academy will award the Oscar to Lee for Life of Pi, one of the most artistically successful and enjoyable films I have seen in 3D, which is still finding it’s feet among cinema audiences.
Affleck has successfully rejuvenated his career after a string of flops and unremarkable performances rendered him a Hollywood casualty. Since then, he’s reinvented himself as a director of note, with The Town and, now, Argo.
Between now and the official ceremony, however, Affleck should console himself with this footage of Steven Spielberg watching the live announcement of Oscar nominees in 1975, earnestly hoping for a Best Director nod from the Academy for his work on Jaws. Since then, we all know what Spielberg has gone on to do; one feels this isn’t the last we’ve heard of director Ben Affleck.