Fans truly believe that Ben Affleck was “snubbed” by the Academy and that the Academy will be sorry when Argo wins Best Picture.  Every pundit from Scott Feinberg to Steve Pond is saying Argo can’t lose – by now, the guilds tell the Academy what to do anyway so perhaps the Oscars are just an afterthought — or maybe they will surprise us. Doubt it. This scenario has only played out twice and both times the Academy chose a film that had a corresponding director nomination – they defended their choice.  The DGA backed their choices for Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg but the Academy went a different way with Out of Africa and Braveheart.  Now, Spielberg will be on the losing side of that scenario as Argo sails to victory.  So Spielberg will have lived twice through one of the rarest events in Academy history.  Argo is fifth in line for most nominations and has no director nom.  That pretty much sends the message that the movies the Academy nominated most strongly, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings, Les Mis are not as worthy as the one that got less nominations than any of those.  Funny, that.  Either way, an object in motion stays in motion and the winning streak doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

A tweet just now:

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  • Jerry

    There is no clear reason why Affleck was snubbed. It could have been unintentional with everyone thinking he didn’t need their specific vote. I don’t know how many of them regret voting for the other 5 nominees instead of Affleck. The director’s branch can always make it up to him later. The rest of the academy is going to give his film the biggest prize of the night so that’s more than enough for this year. I’m over the “poor Ben”.

  • André

    As I’ve said before here, I have no real horse in this race. I just have to say that, what with senators getting involved (and I REALLY did like “Argo”, though I wouldn’t call it this year’s best), it just saddens me that this whole thing – and I don’t just mean the Oscars, but all these awards – have become more about politics than what they should be. A celebration of film. And that’s not because I disagree with their choice; it’s just that the discourse has gotten so negative..

  • André

    And, I think I should add, 1 or 2 months ago we were all saying what an amazing year it was for film. And that’s why we’re all here: we all love cinema. No?

  • Spacey

    It’s sad that more time is being spent discussing this supposed snub rather than, say, celebrating Benh Zeitlin’s achievement, or how Haneke is one of the great European directors and it’s nice to see the Academy embrace them both.

  • Mike

    I don’t remember but did it feel this inevitable when Apollo 13 was sweeping the guilds? The only movies I remember that swept the guilds, had no other real 2nd choice based on any precursor or Buzz and didn’t have a shred of doubt leading up to Oscar Night were: Return of the King , No Country For Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire. Sure there were people that may have liked other movies better but there was no real question whatsover. 2000: Gladiator was split with Crouching Tiger and Traffic
    2001: Beautiful Mind Vs. Fellowship of the ring. (Yes ABM won all the guild but LOTR had 13 nominations and was the possible “too big to be ignored” threat)
    2002: Chicago was the clear choice but Pianist had a late season surge and was a big threat.
    2004: Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, The Avitor split at the guilds and it wasn’t a clear cut lock for any of them.
    2005: Crash won the sag, brokeback was the favorite and had controversy.
    2006: We all knew The Departed deserved it but Little Miss Sunshine won the PGA/SAG and in hindsight wasn’t winning but at the time felt like somewhat of a threat.
    2009: Hurt Locker Vs. Avatar
    2010: Yes The Kings speech swept the guilds but everyone clearly preferred The Social Network which had every single precursor except the guilds.
    2011: Artist never felt completely locked. A surge from The Descendants or Hugo could of easily took that but it just never materialized.

    Return of The King, No Country for Old Men, and Slumdog Millionaire are the only one where it felt impossible to lose, no real 2nd choice or buzzy movie to possibly upset and they swept the guilds.
    The ONLY thing about Argo that keeps making people question the inevitability is that Ben Affleck doesn’t have a BD nomination. Yes we can see “but there are better movies out there” but that can be argued every year. We’ve never seen a movie sweep the precursors on this level and NOT have a best director nomination. Sure splits are possible but the movie that splits and only wins BP at least has a bd nomination. Apollo 13 lost the globe for bp and bd. The other thing to note is that every precursor that is not a guild award but a full on awards show (Globes, Critics Choice, Bafta) is a different scenario than the oscars; ben affleck is nominated there. We have yet to see a precursor where Ben Affleck isn’t nominated. So the Oscars is the last and only one we will see with that scenario. Yes Argo is the most likely winner. Yes in hindsight it will probably seem like how could anybody bet against it. But there is still reason to believe that its at least somewhat vulnerable, regardless of all the precursors.

  • I think regular folks who only hear about all the precursors on shows like Access Hollywood or Extra will hear about Ben winning all these Best Director awards then watch the Oscar ceremony, see that he hasn’t even been nominated if they forgot, and think that the Academy Awards don’t make any sense.

    I think you said on twitter that ARGO is now CRASH and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. I don’t agree with CRASH exactly but I do think that if ARGO loses at this point people will evoke BBM. The Academy can do nothing about the Affleck “snub” now. They’ll just have to award him Best Director next time.

  • WTF

    I don’t understand this f**k fest against Argo and Affleck by this author!

    It is not the movie or his fault that they are getting the accolades from everywhere!

    Why can’t this author accept the fact that her Lincoln is not universally loved by critics and the guilds.

    I know that this is her site, but she is creating so much shit and animosity around that she is ignoring her own mantra!

    But then again, I give her props for having a very thick face against all odds!!!

  • Edkargir

    Ben was not snubbed,Kathryn was. She should have been nominated along with Michael, Benh, Steven and David . I think the directors branch will nominated more than 5 directors next year. If 9 films are nominated for bp as has been the case the last 2 years the top 9 directors will be nominated ,if 8 films are nominated for bp 8 directors will be nominated.

  • Antoinette

    Ben was not snubbed,Kathryn was. She should have been nominated along with Michael, Benh,

    I thought it said ‘She should have been nominated along with Michael Biehn.’ lmao

  • Robert A.

    Since this year gets compared a lot to 1995 and the Apollo 13/Braveheart year, it’s important, I think, to point out a couple of differences between the two years.

    Yes, Apollo 13 won PGA, DGA, and SAG Ensemble. But in only one of those three guild competitions (DGA) was Apollo 13 up against Braveheart. Braveheart was not nominated for SAG Ensemble, nor were any BP nominees other than Apollo 13 and Sense and Sensibility (the other nominees were Get Shorty, Nixon, and How to Make an American Quilt). In other words, the SAG competition wasn’t that fierce that year, and either Apollo or Sense and Sensibility were expected to win. For the PGA, although there were seven nominees, Braveheart was not one of them (only three BP nominees were PGA nominated that year–Apollo, Sense and Sensibility, and Il Postino).

    My point is, Apollo 13 and Braveheart weren’t really in many head-to-head battles with the major guild awards, so it was harder to get a reading on where they stood against each other. Braveheart won WGA, but it was in a different category than Apollo (which lost to Sense and Sensibility). In the high profile award shows before the guilds, BFCA and Globes, Sense and Sensibility won BP and Mel Gibson won director. Before Oscar nominations were announced, Gibson was in a frontrunner position for winning Best Director at the Oscars, given his BFCA and Globe wins (not that BFCA was as noticeable then as it is now).

    In other words, 1995 was a more fractured year, making it harder to call and more ripe for an upset. In 2012, Argo and Affleck have won BFCA/Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG/BAFTA (and let’s toss in the Scripter too), and each time they’ve won against the main competition, assumed to be Lincoln. Time after time after time, including SAG where Argo was considered 4th most likely to win, Argo has won over Lincoln and SLP and its other main competitors, something that can’t be said about 1995.

    Yes, it will be going against precedent for Argo to win BP without a director nomination. But it will also be going against precedent for Lincoln to win BP when it has not won a single high-profile award for either Best Picture or Best Director. (Even Out of Africa had the Globe BP win). As I’ve said before, no matter what movie wins BP this year, it’s going to be busting some precedent that insists it shouldn’t win.

  • Free

    To answer your question, the Academy is ALREADY eating crow. And they should. It’s one of the worst decisions they’ve made (and remember, they nominated Extremely Loud last year, and The Blind Side in 2009).

    “That pretty much sends the message that the movies the Academy nominated most strongly, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings, Les Mis are not as worthy as the one that got less nominations than any of those. Funny, that.”

    Some have addressed this in other posts, but I think we all know more nominations doesn’t necessarily mean the film was viewed as being better. Sometimes it just plays out like that. And I suspect if more people on this site were pro-Argo and not pro-Lincoln, this wouldn’t keep coming up (nor would box office numbers). Does anyone really think that just because Babel got seven nominations and The Departed got five, that meant Babel was more heavily favored? Or The Fellowship of the Ring (13) against A Beautiful Mind (8)?

    @Robert A.: Great post.

  • Daveylow

    This race is nothing like Crash vs Brokeback. That was a much uglier race with homophobic remarks that were totally acceptable by Hollywood insiders.

    What’s strange is that there are so many good/great films this year and Argo keeps winning over and over.

    Affleck will have two Oscars in a few weeks so I hope the Academy doesn’t think after that that they still owe him something.

  • Robert A.

    “That pretty much sends the message that the movies the Academy nominated most strongly, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings, Les Mis are not as worthy as the one that got less nominations than any of those. Funny, that.”

    Well, if we use that reasoning, then The Silence of the Lambs should have lost to Bugsy or JFK. The Departed should have lost to Babel. Annie Hall should have gotten creamed by Julia and The Turning Point, both which had 11 noms, and Star Wars with 10, since Annie Hall only got a crummy five nominations.

    If we should always give BP to the movie with the most nominations, then AMPAS got it right when it gave BP to The King’s Speech over The Social Network?

  • danemychal

    So yeah, the Tweet pictured in this story is misguided. As I pointed out to the person who Tweeted it to Sasha and I: the Guilds, Globes and Critics Choice do not “redirect” AMPAS. That is not their purpose, and that is not what AMPAS wants them to think is their purpose. The folks in AMPAS are a special breed of film vets, not just any Joe Hollywood. For them to being taking direction from the Guilds is like the varsity team learning how to run the offense by observing the JV squad.

    Now, does that mean that Argo will lose BP? Probably not. Argo may have pretty good support in AMPAS and is difficult to dislike, so it should make lots of 1-3 spots on ballots. But Affleck’s direction was not admired by the directors branch of AMPAS, and I guarantee you they don’t feel bad about nominating Haneke or Zeitlin in his place. If anything, they probably feel worse about not nominating Bigelow now that ZDT’s reputation has been mostly restored.

  • Daveylow

    @Jerry–I don’t know why people can’t accept that for the directors branch of the Academy, Ben Affleck was not a first or second choice for the voters. Bigelow, the two Andersons, Tarantino could also have been nominated. Too much attention was devoted to this snub business. Why was it OK for BAFTA to snub Spielberg then? Or even Sam Mendes and Tom Hooper, two of the top British directors?

  • danemychal

    RobertA. – I think (okay, I KNOW) Sasha’s point is about Argo having the FIFTH most nominations and no director or lead acting, yet being the favorite to win BP. That’s never happened and will likely never happen again.

    TSN had 2nd most nominations, including director and actor.
    Lambs had 7 to JFK’s 8.
    etc. etc.

  • Reno

    I find it incredibly hard to believe that George Clooney already has 8 Oscar nominations.

  • Danemychal

    Reno – Several lead acting nods for Clooney, not to mention the Supporting win. People tend to forget screenwriting ones for Ides of March & Goodnight and Good Luck. And Director and now a producer nod. He does it all.

    I’m reading Monuments Men right now, and can’t wait to see what he does with it. With the talent he has assembled, its not out of the question to think, come December (and even on the heels of a probable win for Argo), that he may find himself up for screenwriting, directing and producing Oscars. And if Gravity is as good as we think/hope it will be, perhaps another lead acting Oscar. What a year that would be.

  • Aaron Bailey

    At last some people are speaking sense. For me the Oscars are about the awards and I also get upset by ‘snubs’ and my favourite not winning/ being nominated. But Sasha’s comments have never felt so negative and one sided. I’ve been with Oscar watch from the start and have found it hard not to tune out this year so I can enjoy the run up. I realise that she might want the oscars to be over but some of the site’s loyal fans don’t and thought they had a site that would get excited with them. ‘The trick is not minding’ love this site and Sasha. Hope to have my faith restore next year.

  • André

    Can I just also ask, and this is completely off topic here… Why is SLP such a maligned piece of cinema round here? As I’ve said before, I’ve struggled with mental illness since I was 13 (I am an amazingly gorgeous 27 year old now =P) and I frankly consider it to be an incredibly accurate portrayal of mental illness. I don’t look like Bradley Cooper, but my family sure as hell looks like his! In fact, my brothers (my mum is a shrink and she’s awesome) said that, even though the film made them extremely uncomfortable, it made them understand me better. And I was in a mental hospital last year too. Oh wait. That makes me LESS credible =P

  • “Fans truly believe that Ben Affleck was “snubbed” by the Academy and that the Academy will be sorry when Argo wins Best Picture.”

    Excuse me? Fans truly believe that Ben Affleck was “snubbed” by the Academy?

    So, it’s not a crazy thing in Affleck’s ou Argo’s fans mind.
    I really confess it went to far…
    All this blind love for Lincoln and hate for Argo (or another movie that was the clear frontrunner as Argo is) is unprofessional.
    I really don’t have pleasure or patience to read the same thing pisted everyday.
    If Academy even don’t give Best Picture to ARGO, it will make the worst mistake possible. The second about ARGO in less than 2 months. And they must be VERY FUCKING STUPID on making this twice.
    My favorite movie of the year, THE MASTER, was seriously snubbed. Another very loved, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, was snubbed too. And I’m not crying as a child.
    One more time, and I say whit real respect, it’s not professional. It’s really disgusting.

  • danny

    One of two things could be happening, and there’s really no way to tell the difference.

    1. Ben Affleck and argo were always the front runners and always had the support and the lack of best director nomination is a freak that occurred because everyone thought he was a lock and that everyone else was nominating him.


    2. The best director perceived snub was what suddenly caused everyone to side with argo. The whole poor ben argument.

    To be honest I find neither of them very plausible and both of them utterly baffling. If I had to make a bet I think that it’s a mixture of 1 and 2 and that the so called snub is actually easily explained. Movie directors in the academy don’t like Ben Affleck as much as everyone else in the industry likes Ben Affleck. He is after all an actor super star and figure of fun who then had the gaul to try and step into their shoes and recast himself as a respected film director. The actors branch love him because deep down they all want to direct. The directors branch hate him because, much like christopher nolan, he is essentially showing them up!

    What irritates me is that whichever way you cut it, Argo is winning because of ben Affleck and not because of the movie. I had enough of popularity contests at school, why do they keep having to creep into my adult life.


  • Sally-in-Chicago

    @ Spacey: Was thinking the same thing. It’s a triumph for Benh Zeitlin. His first directing is nom’d, his movie is nom’d as is the 9 yr old star. But he’s being shuffled aside while the big boys fight in the schoolyard.

  • nixon

    What if argo loses best pic?? You cannot call it a snub then…it would be awesome if life of pi or slp or lincoln wins

  • Roger Tennenbaum

    I really love this site, but the frustation over Argo’s winning streak gets really annoying. It somehow dimishes the overall quality of your posts, Sasha.

    Yes, it would be strange for a movie withour best director nom and 5th in overall nominations to win best picture. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a lesser picture. In case of Argo, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Any other given year oscar pundits would love the breeze of fresh air and embrace a best picture winner, which isn’t the frontrunner in any given category. But it seems you are so much in love for Lincoln (which is really, really great but not the revolutionary piece of art you call it), that your informative posts all turn angry and bitter.

  • Tony

    “They’ll just have to award him Best Director next time.”

    What is wrong with you people???? i’m sick and tired of hearing of Affleck and his mediocre Argo as the second return of the Christ!!! Nothing special about Argo, nor about his directorial contribution or his producers (yeah those with the beard!).. It’s obvious that Argo is not the best movie of the year. Political controversy around the real masterpieces of the year spiced with several high profile politicians’ illiteracy + ridiculous journalist rampage + annoying aggressive campaigning = the industry stands behind the least offensive and the most average of them all. COWARDS!!!
    And stop being so carried away with the poor Ben snub thing!! Far more superior and REAL filmmakers (not the king of average-actors-turned- (politicians)directors such as Clooney or Affleck) have waited YEARS before winning the big one!! Need any example??? Some masters have never even won best director (I don’t even think of mentioning the likes of Hitchcock, Kubrick, Lynch etc. in the same sentence with the aforementioned “directors”). This year’s Oscar burlesque starts to remind me of the contemporary Grammy’s.

    And Sasha, i liked you back in 2010 season, but i think i adore, first of all you and then your devotion to Lincoln this year. Thank you for standing behind the really best film of the year!

  • Glenn UK

    I am also one of those people that does not have a horse in the race to root for – well, I did, Les Mis but that baby got mauled by practically every person on the planet with the exception of half a dozen people on here.

    It was very clear when Argo first opened that Ben had produced something very special (I still prefer The Town and Gone Baby Gone btw) and that awards were coming its way. Argo was a highly critically praised movie …. even Sasha gushed about it on here.

    What I find more disturbing is that once a person “settles” for their horse, there is just no give for anything else. If someone’s film is not getting its just rewards then the back-biting begins. For example, Lincoln is top of the box office draw for Oscar nominated movies and this year that is important. Back when The Hurt Locker was bottom of the pile for box office numbers then box office was totally irrelevant despite the box office revelation of Avatar. Double standards?

    Every year the numbers are fudged and the statistics tweaked to make a film fit and that goes for most people. They state their case for their film and heaven help any movie that gets in the way.

    If Argo had been, say High School Musical, then the backlash could be justied. But Argo is, and always has been, a strong contender. It was always going to be in the running, just as Lincoln was.

    Bottom line is Spielberg won’t give a shit whether his film wins anything. His goal was to make a great film about a great man – mission accomplished. He has won every award going, probably multiple times. He probably doesn’t give a shit any more.

    Best film is in the eye of the beholder. Argo would not be my number one film – Les Mis and Life of Pi would top my list. Everyone has differing feelings and passion towards movies they watch. For someone to come on here and tell me SLP is the best movie, and my opinions mean nothing, is just wrong. Same applies for Lincoln, same applies for Les Mis, same applies for Argo. If there is a popular consensus, and Argo seems to be that right now, then nothing is going to stop of from winning.

    So we have to respect all our different opinions and try not to beat up on people for disagreeing with your personal opinion. If we all had the same opinions, there would be no awards season.

  • Scotty

    I think people are overstating whatever guilt/shame the Academy feels. They made their choice, and are now focusing on picking a winner.

    They really don’t care that much about public perception (other than worrying about ratings on the telecast). The Oscars will be around no matter how angry we get over snubs (of the past and present) because crazy people like us (movie buffs, lovers of cinema), trivia fans (who just need to know who won what every year), fashion/celebrity followers, and people who simply like to bitch and moan will continue to keep the Oscars relevant.

    Now, overstatement does not mean that there won’t be pressure for the future. One thing I hate about the whole “Poor Ben” mentality is that it may affect the Director’s Branch in the future in that if they get pressure from the powers that be to keep their nominations more in-line with the guilds and popular handsome people, then they will be discouraged from making a daring choice like nominating the very daring choice of Haneke and Zeitlin ever again.

    I don’t know how anyone could watch Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild and then bitch about Affleck (not because he doesn’t deserve to be there because I think a strong case is made that he should) but because that means people are truly saying their work in those two films aren’t worthy of a BD nomination, and that’s just baffling to me. Those films absolutely deserve a Best Director nod. Shame people are too blinded by their Ben devotion (or crush) to see it.

  • Mel V.

    GlennUK: How nice to read that someone else has Les Miserables and Life of PI as his top two favorite films of 2012. I absolutely liked those two the best out of all the nominated films (Argo a distant third).

    Like everyone else, I want my favorite of the nominated films to win, but it rarely happens. I realize that I enjoy the awards season more if my favorites are not the strong contenders…I don’t want the The Social Network heartbreak of 2011 to happen all over again. It’s so much better to be pleasantly surprised because of lowered expectation, rather than be massively disappointed after expecting so much.

  • Ryan Adams

    Glenn UK,

    You say “double standards” like it’s a bad thing. You say “double standards” as if different standards don’t exist or shouldn’t exist.

    Two different standards. One standard for a sci-fi thrill-ride dumbed down to a level so simplistic that even a 7-yr-old can follow it vs. another standard for a richly layered historical drama with a script so literate it still reveals more and more depth on 4th and 5th viewing.

    Yes, dude, I’d say double standards are in order.

    Besides, get real please.

    Nobody here ever said The Hurt Locker’s meager box office was “irrelevant.” On the contrary, we all always knew that its lack of mass appeal was one of its biggest hurdles to overcome.

    On the flip side, surely you don’t think for an instant that if Avatar — costing $300 million — had only barely broke even that it would ever in a million years been nominated for BP. Avatar WAS nominated and WAS a frontrunner ONLY because it earned a billion dollars so fast. Box office was extraordinarily relevant to Avatar’s nomination, and we all knew it, right? We never dismissed it; we were friggen flabbergasted by it.

    Nobody is saying the movie that makes the most money should win BP but you’re being silly if you think we never consider it an important factor — and you’re being even sillier if you don’t think we should not allow different “double standards” for different types of movies.

    Do you not think there should be double standards when comparing the box office for Beasts of the Southern Wild and the box office for The Avengers?

    Or are you just hung up on some weird idea that double standards are some kind of sneaky hypocrisy — instead acknowledging realistically that double standards are a fact of fucking life.

  • Jason Travis

    1. Nomination count means nothing. The Departed had only 5 nominations, and won Best Picture. Million Dollar Baby had 7 and won Best Picture. Crash had 6, won too. It doesn’t mean anything. Argo sits fine in that regard.

    2. I keep hearing people say next year the academy will expand the directing nominees to 9 just like Best Picture. Please no. The academy needs to revert having 5 Best Picture nominees. It helps increase the credibility of the award and also helps maintain the quality and suspense of the award; and it weeds out unnecessary choices like The Blind Side and Extremley Loud & Incredibly Close, arguably the worst best picture nominees in the past ten years. If the academy decides to increase the directing nominees, then they might as well increase the acting nominees and the tech nominees. This is getting too out of control. It’s the Academy Awards, not the MTV awards. If you don’t make the cut, sorry- better luck next year. No reason to pout that you weren’t selected as one of the best of the year- the director nominees this time are still very strong, they just dont consist of Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow. As someone mentioned earlier, this was an extremley difficult year in choosing the best because the competition was so fierce. NOTE TO ACADEMY: Go back to 5 Best Picture nominees. It will make life easier on you, and the whiners that get upset when they see their flick up for best film and not director; and it will make the award mean something.

    3. If Argo wins Best Picture, will it set the mold for future films that get a best picture nomination with no director nod? “Well Argo won best picture with no director nod, so can ___________”. Just curious.

  • John H. Foote

    1974 — why is no one talking about 1974? Going into the awards The Godfather Part II (1974) was given no chance of winning the major awards because of Chinatown (1974) — no one thought for a moment Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, and it is and was a masterpiece had a chance, yet it won six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director — CALL ME CRAZY BUT I AM STICKING WITH LINCOLN FOR BEST PICTURE AND SPIELBERG FOR BEST DIRECTOR SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DESERVE TO WIN — we forget that every once in a while the Academy gets it right — bear in mind I do not think for moment the Academy members like reading that the guilds tell them what to do — I think they are going to go their own way and honor Lincoln…because they should.

  • terri woods

    This site has become so negative against Argo since it started receiving many awards and became the general favorite to win Best Film and it does leave a sour taste in the mouth. I love movies and this year has given us some of the best but I refuse to trash another work just because my own favorite is not getting the accolades that I believe it should. Argo is a wonderful piece of entertainment and the amount of negative articles that have been written about it on here does this usually excellent blog a huge disservice. I will be so glad when it is all over and we can concentrate on the year ahead for movies.Already hearing great things about the new Coen Brothers movie.

  • Jason Travis

    Also all this talk about the academy choosing the wrong film every year- should we be mad at only the academy? The guilds also chose the bulk of what the academy does. So do the Globes- so do the BAFTAs. Why blame just the academy? Other voters outside of the acadmey also liked The King’s Speech better than The Social Network.

    The only film that felt blatantly suspicious and unfair in winning the Best Picture Oscar recently was Crash. Because it was obviously a choice made on the basis of rejecting the “gay” movie for the “safer, race conscience” film. Other then that Best Picture winners the academy go for have matched up pretty close. So if you are to blame anyone, blame the guild voters first. They’re the ones that start the so-called trends.

  • Zach

    Lots of great posts here.

    danny’s is spot-on. I agree 100% with both your analysis and your frustration about the race being turned into the Ben Affleck f*** fest.

    May I just add this: except for Affleck, Sean Penn, and Ron Howard the first time, the Directors Branch usually nominates actor-directors who are expected to be nominated. Not only the obvious ones who won, but also Clooney, Eastwood every time, and Tim Robbins for Dead Man Walking. So why not Affleck or Howard?

    Well, I think the Directors Branch DOES skew older, which is why Spielberg, Lee, Scorsese, and Howard finally find themselves in both the winner’s circle and the auto-nominee pile, despite being snubbed for more daring, unconventional, visionary work earlier in their career, all of them but Lee arguably snubbed multiple times! But now they’re firmly entrenched, so they don’t get snubbed.

    On the other hand, as film lovers we often praise the auteurs with the strongest sense of style. The Directors Branch has never been about that. Sure, the sweeping, politically important historical epics always win, which explains the support for Beatty, Costner, and Gibson. But so many of the Best Director winners had the support of the actors’ branch behind them because they directed Oscar-winning performances. That’s how Redford and Eastwood (the second time, at least) won.

    To me Affleck did a good job directing Argo, and because it was such an obvious hit from such a high-profile star, his lack of a nomination WAS a snub. Was it paint-by-numbers by the end? Sure, but it was also one of the least flawed films this year. And the opening scenes inside and outside the Embassy showcased a strong eye and ability to “mobilize the masses,” which usually gets recognized.

    But Argo is not a historical epic and it is not an actors’ showcase. So maybe Affleck’s snub was a fluke. Maybe not. But it IS consistent with the notion that you have to either “mobilize the masses” (real people, not CGI), turn out great performances from a large cast, or be a true auteur to get an Oscar nomination, ESPECIALLY if you’re a young-ish actor-turned-director.

    The only thing surprising about this year’s nominees, ignoring the snubs, is that Zeitlin was nominated, not because he isn’t deserving or the direction doesn’t stand out, but because the “little indie that could” usually doesn’t have the support to crack the top 5 directors.

  • Zach

    I should correct that to say that in order to get nominated, you have to “mobilize the masses” in a historical epic, or at least throughout your film, not in the first five minutes.

  • Ryan Adams

    “They really don’t care that much about public perception (other than worrying about ratings on the telecast)”

    I like to try to dispel this myth every year. The only Academy members who give a damn about the TV ratings are the very small handful who hold positions with the Board of Governors.

    When people attempt to assign presumed intentions to “the Academy” I wish more often we would try to remember 5000 members don’t hold meetings to discuss a unified strategy or agree on Academy desires.

    It’s easy to remind yourself how the Academy actually operate — they operate as 5000 separate distinct independent stubborn individuals. Just remind yourself by visualizing Sean Penn or David Lynch or Robert Richardson or Thomas Newman with their ballots in the secret privacy of their own homes and ask yourself why in hell any of them would care about TV ratings. If you yourself were an Academy member would you care about TV ratings? Why? What do you care?

    The Oscar producers care about TV ratings. ABC cares about TV ratings. Adam Sandler and Ang Lee and Dakota Fanning do not care. At all.

    And none of the individual members gives much thought to public perception either, so you’re right about that, Scotty, I agree.

  • Jason Travis

    People are saying the first five minutes of Argo are the best- I disagree. I was a bit confused at what was going on and it took me a while to warm up to the film. The FINAL minutes of Argo are, to me, what sells it – suspenseful and edge of your seat entertainment.

  • The Dude

    André- Because SLP is simply dishonest. It tries to position itself as a serious portrayal of mental illness, you see it’s even filmed in a more gritty way, but then in the 3rd act essentially abandons everything than it builds in name of a romantic comedy movie, expecting us to believe people heal easily, if two extremely disturbed people get together, all their problems will be solved and everything will be all right.

    And of course it enables and validates the gambling addiction/compulsion of Robert De Niro’s character.

  • Glenn UK

    Aw, sorry if I hit a nerve Ryan. And I sincerely apologise for having the gaul to use Avatar/THL as an example ….. please feel free to comment on perhaps the next movie down from Avatar with the biggest box office ….. the same applies. I remember that season very well and your good self and Sasha fully justified THL’s poor box office ….. I do apologise for having been around long enough to observe the double standards in play this year. But Sasha has rammed down our throat the size of Lincoln’s box office this year as if it should matter. It would be so nice if regular Joe’s could make these kind of casual observations without being attacked and made to feel like we have done something wrote. My comments were in no way threatening or aggressive in nature – if you deemed them to be so then that is YOUR interpretation. So I don’t understand why you so aggressively attack other people’s views who do not happen to match yours. Yeah yeah it’s Sasha’s house and we all have to go along with what is said, but if you don’t want people to leave comments as they see it then perhaps Sasha needs to consider removing the comments box!!!!!!

  • Ryan Adams

    “My comments were in no way threatening or aggressive in nature ”

    Gosh, I hope you don’t feel threatened by my reply. I don’t own a gun, ok? Don’t be frightened.

    ” So I don’t understand why you so aggressively attack…”

    Oh, here we go. It’s ok for Glenn UK to point a finger and call us hypocrites who dare to be aware that there are different double standards for different types of movies… But if I step up and say, “hey wait a minute, I believe different standards do apply for different types of movies.” — then “Oh My God, Run and Hide! Ryan is being threatening and aggressive again! Into the storm shelter, kids! Ryan is trying to make a point. A strongly-worded point!! Pray to Baby Jesus he calms down soon!”

    So Glenn can say I’m an aggressive hypocrite, but it’s not at all aggressive for Glenn to call me an aggressive hypocrite.

    Weird how that almost seems like a double standard.

  • Kevin Landry

    Is there a possibility that Affleck could still win the BD Oscar via write-in ballots?

  • Scotty


    I only mentioned tv ratings because it seems like it’s always mentioned every year. Even if the members don’t hold secret meetings discussing which films they should nominate that would help boost ratings, I can’t help but think that the idea that the Academy is “out-of-touch” or needs to appeal to more viewers play some sort of role in their minds even if it’s not the dominant factor in their decision-making.

    However, they did snub The Dark Knight, Wall-E (my personal best film of that year), and many other popular choices. However, out of the movies they don’t snub, they seem to like to reward the more financially-successful ones. When they don’t, people criticize them for being too focused on indie films (like the year No Country for Old Men won).

  • Scotty

    Kevin Landry,

    I truly hope not. Even if people vehemently disagree with the Affleck snub, the Academy would lose so much credibility and would show such a lack of principles if they do that.

    Also, what a slap-in-face to Zeitlin, Haneke, Lee, Spielberg, and O. Russell (though I wouldn’t mind O. Russell getting that philosophical slap in the face).

  • Spacey

    Is there a possibility that Affleck could still win the BD Oscar via write-in ballots?

    Not really, Kevin. Think for a moment how insulting that would be to the five Directors who deservedly were nominated.

  • Robert A.

    @ Kevin Landry

    No. I don’t think AMPAS allows write-in votes anymore. This write-in for Affleck as director is reaching the level of an urban myth!

  • Armando

    “I really love this site, but the frustation over Argo’s winning streak gets really annoying”

    @Roger Tennenbaum
    Were you around when The Social Network lost to The King’s Speech?

  • Ryan Adams

    “I really love this site, but the frustation over Argo’s winning streak gets really annoying”

    @Roger Tennenbaum
    Were you around when The Social Network lost to The King’s Speech?”

    Nobody noticed how frustrated I was last year when The Artist was winning everything all season? (My fault. I probably wasn’t aggressive and threatening enough for my voice to be heard above all the squealy orgasms).

    I don’t like streaks when a single movie steamrolls everything in sight. Not ever. It’s dead boring.

    But especially in a year when there are more than half a dozen astonishingly great films, it’s just sad to me when every award goes to the same damn vanilla milkshake for weeks on end.

    Sorry I said damn. You can take your shrapnel helmets off now. I’m bored with this page now too.

    See ya in other topic sometime. Y’all just keep the ruby slippers. The wicked witch is outta here.

  • steve50

    “But especially in a year when there are more than half a dozen astonishingly great films, it’s just sad to me when every award goes to the same damn vanilla milkshake for weeks on end.”

    It’s downright gloomy. While it doesn’t in any way impair my appreciation of movies in general, it does put another nail in the coffin for my interest for the award season in general and the Oscars, specifically. As a matter of fact, there are so many nails in that coffin right now that I don’t really care who wins.

    Even if by the wildest fluke one of their choices agreed with my own, that film would be forever tarred knowing the maneuvering it took to win it – and that has nothing to do with filmmaking.

    Give the Oscar to anybody or nobody. Have a couple of ties. The the cast of Chicago toddle out and present an award to another lot who everyone knows aren’t the best, just the flavor of the month. Declare the BP “self-directed” and give BD oscar for not directing the best film. Ignore a real achievement by rewarding someone who has been perennially shafted instead. Pick the scripts that told you – simply – what you wanted to hear, not the ones that made your head hurt.

    Popularism, guilt and salemanship – none of this has anything to do with quality.

  • Elton Almeida

    Something I would really like to know: How many academy members actually vote? I guess that it’s a smaller number than we usually thought. I would say about 3000 from the whole membership.

  • Zach

    Ugh, why does Chicago always have to be dragged through the mud?? There is nothing wrong with making a really entertaining movie musical. Not every Best Picture has to be The Most Important Movie Made This Year. The frustration I have with Sasha is that while it’s good, relevant, and well made, it’s neither the most important movie of the year nor a film that’s so entertaining that it should be winning over more ambitious, smarter, and meaningful.

  • Zach


    *The frustration I have with ARGO

    I would never mean to draw a comparison between Sasha and Argo!

  • Armando

    “Nobody noticed how frustrated I was last year when The Artist was winning everything all season? (My fault. I probably wasn’t aggressive and threatening enough for my voice to be heard above all the squealy orgasms).”

    Ryan– Of course we noticed… : )

  • Glenn UK

    Ryan said – Gosh, I hope you don’t feel threatened by my reply. I don’t own a gun, ok? Don’t be frightened.

    You don’t frighten me …. you just put me off making observations ….. aren’t we allowed to have them? When someone takes the time to make an observation and then gets a reaction like yours it is very off putting. Your post turned into an attack because you thought I was some Avatar lover when I’m not …. I was using the analagy regarding box office – its that simple.

  • I was using the analagy regarding box office – its that simple.

    no Glenn, it wasn’t that simple. you said we indulge in double standards, and to me that’s thisclose to saying we’re slippery hypocrites.

    so I wanted to explain why there’s nothing wrong with double standards because everything in life is held to all kinds of different standards.

    it’s you brought up the words “threatening and aggressive” too. Why? I’m letting you know that I’m no threat, and I’m telling you that it’s no more aggressive for me to defend the site than it is for you to attack the site for what you falsely call double standards.

    it wasn’t “that simple” to me, Glenn. You come at the site with flimsy accusations of unfair unjust standards, it was you who chose the dumb Hurt Locker Avatar comparison — mocking the site by falsely claiming that we said box was “irrelevant” — nobody ever said that. You’re either mistaken or you’re trying to be misleading.

    So I’m setting the record straight, alright? I replied swiftly and firmly, and you say that’s aggressions. I say if you come to pick a fight then man up.

  • Roberto

    I want to explain why I would not like to see Argo winning. It is a great movie with a great opening scene and end sequence, but I think it does not deserve the main award because of its competition and what, I think, makes it smaller compared with others and light is the escape sequence:

    Affleck and hostages are escaping and in the same range of time there are suspicious guys, and it turns out that these guys have a “Variety magazine” (come on, muslims who do not like western culture), and they manage to get a pone number to call those producers in Hollywood, who turn out to be outside their office but somehow manage to answer the pone in the last ring and in the meantime the iranian intelligence achieves to reveal the pictures of the hostages and to send a fax to the airport but the hostages now are in the plane so that the bad guy has enough time to see the fax and send an army to stop the plane. This is the part of the film and screenplay that makes it to lose seriousness.

    The other part I do not like is to see the reaction of not including Affleck in the list of nominees in a very crowded best director race, kind of the end of the world, as if this is the monumental first time. Director omission has happened plenty of times and to legends like Hichcock, Spielberg, Scorsese, Ang Lee, etc.; so that I do not like to see fans elevating Ben Affleck to tha ranks of the Orson Wells of modern times.

  • Niles

    I think the reason why he is winning all of theses pre awards is a clear indication the reason him getting snubbed for Best Director at the Oscars.

  • Glenn UK

    Ryan, you read in between the lines way too much, and that is all I have to say on the matter. Double standards and hypocrocy are two different things but if you wish to tie them together that is your doing, not mine. If you wish to continue to unravel what was originally said go ahead. The year THL won I remember the defending of the box office on here. Sometimes you just need to read things at face value and stop looking for what is not said and what is not there! No need to man up here, I can stand fine on my own feet. As far as the agression goes you need to go back and re-read your first response to me. I still see aggression in your writing and that is at face value and not reading between the lines.

  • SiSi

    Well said, Glenn UK! It’s great that you are making a point of this site’s editors (Adams and Stone) for their outright double standards! It looks like (IMHO) they only want to see comments about how great and wonderful “Lincoln” is.
    I’ve seen almost all of the BP nomineess (except Django and Amour) and I can say that Lincoln, although a good movie with good a good winning performances by DDL and Sally Field, IS NOT a masterpiece!

  • The year THL won I remember the defending of the box office on here.

    That’s not your original accusation, Glenn. You said that we claimed box-office was “irrelevant” .

    But in face we always acknowledged that weak box-office was the film’s stickiest problem to overcome. And then you went further by comparing The Hurt Locker to ” the box office revelation of Avatar.”

    and the 3rd step, most grating of all, you suggest that we’re playing “double standards” again — as if the The Hurt Locker (made for $15mil) should NOT be allowed to occupy a different standard than a sci-fi blockbuster that cost $310 million?

    So that’s why I ask you: Would you say we’re playing double standards again by supporting Beasts of the Southern Wild over, say, The Avengers? Or do you not agree that TWO standards of measure might be appropriate?

    double standard? yes. I’m not ashamed of having flexible standards for different types of films. That’s the point I’m defending.

    I hate that you had to come back at me with a crack about “touching a nerve” .. You didn’t touch a nerve, dude. What you touched was the neuron in my brain that tells me how to distinguish between Avatar and Lincoln,

    “despite the box office revelation of Avatar,” Lincoln and Avatar have nothing in common. Nothing. Bizarre to me that you want to compare them.

    “Every year the numbers are fudged ” you claim. Then you’ve got the nerve to tell me I can’t see what those words mean “at face value”

    I do see what it means. You’re saying you think we fudge numbers. That’s false. Some of us are just smart enough to see that the numbers for Lincoln have fuck all in common with the numbers for Avatar.

  • Andre


    I can see why you think it’s dishonest and I DO ALSO have a problem with its “magic solution” for the 3rd act – I can shake my ass like no one’s business and it has helped my bipolar none so far =P

    however, I do think it is a VERY good film, mostly because of its actors. some of those scenes with Pat and his parents WERE scenes here at my house with me and my mom and my siblings. I also do take issue with the idea that the film presents (though does not state – but this is me defending it; it should not have ended like that) a magic solution like THAT ONE SPECIAL PERSON – especially someone as fucked up as you, if not more so – as an abrakadabra.

    but after some thought, I don’t think that’s what the film wanted to say… and that is THEIR fault, which is why I would NEVER call it this year’s best. these two people should not be with anyone, especially not each other.

    still think it’s a lovely film nonetheless, and a fine companion to “The Fighter”, in a “I’m glad that’s not MY family” kinda way =)

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