21 Comments on this Post

  1. Slightly unrelated, but since it has to do with Spielberg, I thought everybody should see this. A forgotten gem:

    Night Gallery (“Eyes”)- Spielberg’s first professional directing gig:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziErheWdijo

    Steven Spielberg talks about directing Joan Crawford:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R74nR9eqDVg

  2. This is news?

    T.

  3. Christophe

    This article made me realize that Martin Short (The Comedian) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) are actually two different people who were born 21 years apart. So I guess it was a useful read in a weird way.

  4. Robert A.

    Since many AD commenters argue that Argo’s and Affleck’s guild wins are just the result of a pity party for Ben not getting nominated for Oscar, maybe the Spielberg standing ovation at DGA was just a pity party for Steven not winning stuff this year?

  5. Affleck and Spielberg could be shaking hands at the Oscar awards too if Affleck presents best director to Spielberg. That would be an irony if Affleck presents the Oscar for best director.

    Spielberg deserves to be in the company of Wyler and Capra with three directing Oscars. But he probably will not reach John Ford’s record of four wins.

  6. Watermelons

    Spielberg deserves to be in the company of Wyler and Capra with three directing Oscars.

    What does this mean?

  7. Apocalypse Pooh

    It means Spielberg should already have three Oscars and possibly four, with the embarassing snub to The Color Purple and again for the brilliant Empire of the Sun. Toss in Jaws, Close Encounters, Raiders, and E.T., the guy should have Best Director Oscars all over his house.

  8. Pierre de Plume

    Thanks, Blake, for the links. Spielberg’s anecdote about Crawford and being a bumbling beginner was fascinating.

  9. Watermelons

    HYPOTHESIS: Ben Affleck is being forced into the company of Kubrick and Hitchcock with zero directing Oscars. He will be forever snubbed as a way of ensuring his reputation as one of the “Too Great!” artists… That tricky Illumicademy!

  10. Affleck has some way to go before he can be put in the same category as Hitchcock. i am more concerned that David Fincher will be like Orson Welles and Hitchock and never win. He has already been screwed out of an Oscar twice.

  11. Christophe

    Kubrick was nominated for 13 Oscars, including 4 for Best Direction. Hitchcock was nominated for 6 Oscars including 5 for Best Direction. His film Rebecca won Best Picture even though Hitch wasn’t listed as a recipient.

    Affleck might “beat” them both if he wins BP for Argo but career-wise, but it’s far from certain that he’ll be a steady presence in the Oscar race in the future.

  12. A bit of venting here, but this Oscar race is really starting to make my blood boil. On the one hand, I’m not even as emotionally invested as I have been in the past, and more than ever I can see which way the wind is blowing. That doesn’t mean I like it. I like Argo more than many Best Picture winners classic and modern, alike, and I’ve never not liked Ben Affleck. I even think The Town was as worthy of a Best Picture nomination as mostly anything else that year. (How interesting that the guilds nominated it and the Academy said no, not unlike this year.) But now if I see something about Affleck, I want to turn the other way.

    I thought Jennifer Lawrence was fantastic in Winter’s Bone, and I was looking forward to the rest of her career. She was my favorite thing about The Hunger Games. But now she’s just the overhyped It Girl for the year.

    I loved most of Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax films of the late ’90s and early ’00s. I thought Shakespeare in Love was worthy, and I was rooting for Chicago and The Hours. But now his name carries with it a stigma of dirty deals and undeserved awards. I liked David O. Russell too because of The Fighter, but sob story or not, I can’t drink the SLP Kool-Aid and it makes me sick.

    If there’s one thing good that’s come out of this year’s Oscar race, it’s made me an Emmanuelle Riva believer out of me, when before I felt only lukewarm toward her performance, if only because I know Naomi Watts has no chance and Riva is the only possible Lawrence upset.

  13. Spielberg has been ripped off countless times, so Bette, you’ll have to live with being in the minority.

    1975 – he probably should have won for Jaws even if One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest still took Picture. That film’s strengths are its acting and writing, whereas Jaws, though the cast is great, is all direction. Barry Lyndon is too slow, and foreign films never have a chance anyway.

    1977 – he really should have won for Close Encounters, which I prefer to Star Wars. I do love Annie Hall, and I’m fine with that win, but Close Encounters is truly visionary.

    1981 – Raiders is better than Reds, no question. (And Chariots.) Again, it’s all direction. Of course it’s not an “Academy film.”

    1982 – E.T. Once again, not an “Academy film,” and Gandhi was a difficult enterprise, so I get it. But E.T. is classic. Sure, Blade Runner was snubbed, but leave in that narrative voiceover and it’s not quite as successful.

    1985 – sorry, Out of Africa is dry, dull, emotionless. It might actually be Meryl’s most unappealing performance. How do you nominate it for 11 Oscars and rip him off? Some of us love our sentiment more than a lack of feeling, thank you very much. And Prizzi’s Honor sucks, so unfunny. I like Witness a lot, but it wasn’t a Best Picture to me. Of course, Back to the Future was snubbed, but that’s neither an “Academy film” or an “arthouse film” that will place on Sight & Sound polls for years to come. Well, screw that.

    1993 – Schindler’s List. Hands down. Even if he hadn’t already been snubbed or directed so many great films. Everyone’s entitled to her opinion, but wow, I’ve never seen so many people try to take down Schindler’s List as I have this year on this website. Wow, just wow. It’s the Holocaust and it’s a masterpiece. I’m sure Jane Campion wasn’t expecting the Oscar and how anyone can complain about this film, I don’t get. The Pianist, blah, blah. Schindler’s is an absolute masterpiece that deserves its reputation as one of the greatest films of all time, and arguably the best of the ’90s. And that’s not a legacy I expect to change in the years to come, despite a bunch of contrarian critics’ and film scholars’ best efforts to the contrary.

    1998 – Saving Private Ryan. Guess what? Not even close to my favorite film of that year, and outside of the D-Day sequence, I wasn’t overly impressed or moved. But of course I’m happy he won again.

    Now I don’t think he deserved wins for Empire of the Sun, Jurassic Park (same year as Schindler’s List), Amistad, A.I., Munich, or War Horse.

    But his contribution to filmdom is unparalleled. And the Oscars are rarely about the “best” anyway, so nothing will be worse than seeing Steven Spielberg lose for a superior piece of downright Oscar-bait to Hollywood’s flavor of the month.

  14. Never mind the precursors, or who won the actual award, Spielberg got the bigger ovation at DGA…and, Lincoln got bigger claps at the luncheon….Lincoln is sooooo winning BP now

  15. Pierre de Plume

    So, to be clear, it doesn’t mean I don’t think Schindler is an excellent film, I just don’t think it was the “best”. The American Film Institute currently ranks Schindler #8 ever. Wow, I don’t get that.

    Bette, I tend to agree with your overall assessment of Spielberg as a director. He’s created some compelling stuff but, yeah, the guy does tend to go overboard a lot with the schmaltz. A lot of the time, certain films receive an excess of recognition and praise – apart from true cinematic quality – because of their subject matter. Schindler is a good example of that. I’m not saying Schindler isn’t a great film (it’s damned good), but considering its subject matter and the feelings it invokes, there’s no way it could lose and no way it wouldn’t appear frequently “best ever” lists.

    Gandhi is another – maybe even better – example of this point because, despite its many excellent qualities, the film tends to slog along forever. But there’s no way it could lose, in the eyes of the Academy. If a film does a decent enough job of telling the story, its subject matter, combined with the audience’s emotional connection to it, do the rest. This is why films like Driving Miss Daisy, for example, can win and, conversely, why a film like Do the Right Thing won’t win. The latter example, a true achievement, is viewed by many as being too pointed in its sociopolitical perspective. Because of this, its general reception becomes thought of as “too negative” or “not inspiring enough.”

    AMPAS is an institution that reflects consensus and has an eye clearly directed toward general public taste and commercialism as much as artistry. For barometers of true quality we must look elsewhere and appreciate that the Academy occasionally does the right thing (no pun intended).

  16. Pierre de Plume

    HYPOTHESIS: Ben Affleck is being forced into the company of Kubrick and Hitchcock with zero directing Oscars. He will be forever snubbed as a way of ensuring his reputation as one of the “Too Great!” artists… That tricky Illumicademy!

    On the money again, Watermelons! In that tradition, may I posit that Mr. Affleck’s best chances of enshrinement as a “best director” lie in whether he can in the future cast the great Kate Winslet (“Holy Smoke!”; “Christmas Carol: The Movie”).

  17. Watermelons

    may I posit that Mr. Affleck’s best chances of enshrinement as a “best director” lie in whether he can in the future cast the great Oscar-winning Kate Winslet (“Holy Smoke!”; “Christmas Carol: The Movie”).

    I agree that this would be Ben’s best path to Directorial Oscar Gold.

  18. Sorry whoever said Out of Africa is “dull”.

    but its one of the best oscar winners of all time.

    T.

  19. @Tufas – I agree one thousand times. Is there any film this year near the quality of Out of Africa?

  20. Apocalypse Pooh

    I had dinner with Allison Anders back in the mid-90’s, and after I expressed my admiration for Empire of the Sun, she told me a date took her to see Schindler’s List, and that she “watched the entire film with a sneer on my face”. She said she thought he made the film simply to win an Oscar. The snubs for Jaws, The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun are, in my opinion, born of this toxic jealousy of Spielberg’s talent, and his success. It’s human nature, I know. It’s still ugly and sad.

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