ENTER OUR CONTEST!
For 82 out of 86 Oscar years the directors have controlled the way Best Picture has been handed down. They matter. They are what the Academy was built to do: professionals deciding the best of the year. The entire Academy has looked to them for guidance in almost every year of their existence. Yet this year, suddenly, they don’t matter. What they think doesn’t matter. They are being passed over. I have to say, that blows my mind just a little.
14,500 DGA members thought Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper should join Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg as the Best Directors of 2012. But their nominations came out after Oscar ballots had already been turned it. Without the DGA to guide them the directors branch at the Academy did what they wanted to do: they picked the five films they thought were the best of the year: Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Michael Haneke’s Amour.
Why does it matter that the directors decided on five different films to win if the whole Academy gets to decide, you might ask? We might be heading into an era where it no longer matters at all. After all, the Oscar race has morphed into a flea circus and the race itself has begun to resemble a reality show, like Dancing with the Stars or the Amazing Race; You have to win the moment by having a compelling “Oscar story.” An Oscar story isn’t: Kathleen Kennedy the most nominated producers in the history of the Academy has never won an Oscar, Steven Spielberg bringing a beloved project to the big screen after 13 years, or that movie about ideas earning an unbelievable $170 million. An Oscar story sure to capture Hollywood’s attention is “Ben Affleck didn’t get nominated for Best Director.” It is art imitating life because Argo is about Tony Mendez who did a great thing then didn’t get recognition for it. Rewarding Affleck is like rewarding his character and believe me, that is irresistible.