a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Director’s Branch’

I Solve the Mystery! Why Ben Affleck Was Snubbed for Best Director Oscar!

I think I’ve finally cracked the case, Sherlock. The imponderable Oscar riddle of why Ben Affleck, Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, was unbelievably snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination this year for “Argo.”

Let me also note, that this snub by the AMPAS director’s branch has turned the entire 2012 Oscar race upside down. Since it happened, the affable Affleck and his terrific, suspenseful crowd-pleaser “Argo” is winning every award in sight. And will continue to do so, too, it seems.

Tonight is the DGA, and Affleck will probably win Best Director there, too.

Why then o why did the Director’s branch of merely 370 voters leave him off their list? They left off Kathryn Bigelow, too, but the controversy surrounding her sharp espionage thriller sunk her ship. And Tom Hooper of “Les Miz”? Well, some people just don’t like musicals. And Hooper’s wide-angle, fish-eye-lens, mostly-in-close-up-style-of-shooting of this all sung-through and recorded-live musical, was just too much of a departure for the stodgy director’s branch to take. Too much innovation, methinks.

But “Argo”? And Affleck? A straight forward thriller diller from start to go? Why did the Director’s Branch not go for “Argo”?

Well, I think the answer lies in plain sight. In the movie itself. It’s in John Goodman’s hilarious line “You can teach a Rhesus monkey to direct a Hollywood movie in a day.” THAT’S IT. RIGHT THERE. The Directors Branch Voters, or enough of them to make Affleck just miss(probably) were INSULTED! And I mean insulted!

“He’s making monkeys out of us! Well, we’ll make a monkey out of him!” I think they thought, judging by their actions.

The Director’s Branch has always been very idiosyncratic, to put it mildly, and what else could it have been that made them react this way?

Well, we know one thing for sure. AMPAS has never been known to have much of a sense of humor. They continually favor drama over comedy. (So watch out Jennifer Hudson. I mean, Lawrence. Emmanuelle Riva is creeping up on you.)

And I bet, I just bet dollars to donuts, as Mrs. Patmore, the cook on “Downtown Abbey” would say, that that line about Hollywood directors being as smart as, or less smart than Rhesus monkeys, sunk Ben’s ship for an Oscar nomination. In this VERY competitive year. A few votes could’ve done it. One vote even.

Obviously, the shoe fit.

But by not nominating Ben Affleck, they’ve basically handed him every other award of the season, and probably tonights’ DGA, too.

Mystery solved. He insulted them.Ladies and gentle-persons of the jury, I rest my case.

“Take That, Oscar!” Who’s on the front page of the NYPost? BEN AFFLECK!

Yes, it’s the Day After the Golden Globes and everything has quieted down tremendously in Oscarland. And who is on the FRONT PAGE of the NEW YORK POST? A newspaper that it can be said NEVER mentions the word OSCAR in its’ headlines, esp. with more than a month and a half to go? Why it’s BEN AFFLECK!?! Boldly holding his TWO Golden Globes!

He’s the hero of The Hour! He’s so hot, he’s even selling NEWSPAPERS! And suddenly has the heart of Hollywood on his side. For, of all things, being BUMPED out of the Best Director category by an Austrian auteur Michael Haneke and/or millennial first-timer Ben Zeitlin.

I don’t know WHO is going to win Best Director now, but really who cares?

I mean, isn’t it usually Best Actress or Best Picture or Best Actor, or if you’re gay, Best Supporting Actress, that takes the cake in terms of Oscar ink?

But HOLT ON! This year it’s BEST DIRECTOR that is getting all the attention! I mean, article after article about Ben Affleck AND Kathryn Bigelow being snubbed! With Ms. Bigelow, the reasons are all too clear. All the film’s controversial elements have descended upon HER. What’s the result of HER snub?

Kathryn Bigelow’s film “Zero Dark Thirty” is no #1 at the Box-Office. Is this the price of a Best Director snub? It suddenly seems like A BEST DIRECTING SNUB is the smartest Oscar Accessory to have right now.

Best Director was formerly only a category that Oscar wonks could get excited about. Usually, historically, it’s just been a tag-along award in the Public’s Eye, IMHO, because it almost always since I was a child (yes, I prognosticated for my little brother) went hand in hand with Best Picture. Ho-hum.

But I tell ya, “Argo”s got all the Oscar mojo in the world right now. Warner Brothers is re-releasing it and it will clean up all over again. And “Argo” now has THE STORY. The biggest most important, most elusive element in winning the Golden Guy.

Like for instance, Anne Hathaway this year has THE STORY in Supporting Actress. Her mother was the UNDERSTUDY for Fantine on the first National Tour of “Les Miz” You can’t top that. She’s a second generation Fantine. Done.

And now Ben Affleck and “Argo” has THE STORY. Oscar snub-bee par excellence, the voters will rally around this egregious error, and vote for “Argo” all over the place, but especially, for Best Picture, well, just BECAUSE, he was snubbed!!! I’m not kidding! They think like that. Or rather they FEEL like that. Oscar voters notoriously vote with their hearts, not their heads. It’s not an intellectual choice. And everybody loved “Argo” anyway. It was always a consensus choice since it opened at Toronto in Sept.

And they all secretly, or not so secretly, hate directors anyway, and this is their way of getting back at that pesky, idiosyncratic(I’m being kind) Director’s Branch.

The New York Post said it all “TAKE THAT, OSCAR!”

And my idol Liz Smith has said it was going to be “Argo” all the time. And what the director’s branch did was turn AMPAS into an ARMY of JEFF WELLS’. Did I say this already? But it bears repeating.

At http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com Jeff Wells, who has been a memorable guest on my TV show at the Toronto Film Festival, yes, and talking about “Argo”too!

Yes, you can see it here http://www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow, then search for “Jeff Wells” in the search box…

Jeff Wells has been “Anything BUT ‘Lincoln'” since, it seems forever. He doesn’t bear his grudges lightly, and he HATES Stephen Spielberg.

I don’t think “Lincoln” with its’ 11 nominations is going to win anywhere. It might get totally shut out, a la “The Color Purple”. Sorry if I’m repeating myself, but history does, ya know, repeat itself, too. 11 Nominations for a Spielberg “breakthrough” film and ZEE-ROW wins.

Stephen Spielberg didn’t look too happy last night at the Golden Globes. And this is exactly what happened at the Broadcast Film Critics only just on THURSDAY.
Only Daniel Day-Lewis won. No. I take that back. Tony Kusher won, too, but they gave him Best Screenplay DURING A COMMERCIAL! No that is also saying something. Probably more about what that stupid TV station the BFCA aligned with this year. Talk about lowering the level.

And no, I’m not a member.

What all this BEN-love has done though is push Hugh Jackman off the front-and-center of the Golden Globes coverage. The headlines should be screaming “Les Miserables win the most Golden Globes!” But no, it’s all about Ben winning TWO!

Yes, Ben Affleck has got the Oscar mojo going on. And Spielberg probably alienated all the members of the Academy who voted for “The Blind Side” – well, SOMEbody did! It even got a Best Picture nomination and of course won for the acting-challenged Sandra Bullock. All those members, let’s call them, well, Republicans, did NOT enjoy seeing President Bill Clinton turn up to present the Golden Globe clips of “Lincoln.”

AMPAS voters see that as taking an unfair advantage. ESPECIALLY if they are Republicans and that whole Bill Clinton moment last night reminded me of the George Clooney/Viola Davis Oscar Issue cover of EW last year. Remember THAT?

P.S. neither of them won. It was Jean DuJardin and Meryl Streep.

And “Argo”s win at the Globes last night also reminded Oscar voters that yes, they can kill two birds with one stone and if they vote for “Argo” they get George Clooney up onstage as well as Ben, since he was one of the film’s producers, and they get to FINALLY give Gorgeous George that second Oscar he’s been drooling over for YEARS now, since “Syrianna.” Which since it was Supporting, just wasn’t enough.

The OTHER story that could get rolling is the “David v. Goliath” scenario of “Silver Linings Playbook” v. “Lincoln” or Harvey v. Stephen AGAIN OR “Shakespeare in Love” v. “Saving Private Ryan.”

And you KNOW Harvey Weinstein is gonna get that one going big time.

And whither for that matter was TWC last night? Well their efforts. their magical implied powers yielded them TWO Golden Globes for “Django Unchained” for Quentin Tarantino(screenplay) and Christophe Waltz(Best Supp. Actor) for what a few weeks ago was a leading role. But Waltz was really, really good in that movie and made it watchable and made it all make sense, and spoiler alert! Gets to die violently, too. But he JUST WON an Oscar two years ago, but since it’s Harvey’s only Oscar shot with “Django”s actors, he may just put all his efforts into, except wait!

He’s got TWO other nominees in the category, too, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, for the fading “Master” and for the very lively “Silver Linings Playbook” Robert DeNiro insulted the HFPA two years ago when he got a Lifetime Achievement Award, and so he wasn’t nominated for “SLP” this year, but he IS for the Oscar.

So Harvey ended up with just the situation he didn’t want THREE in a category. It’s almost like “Which one will HARVEY pick?” Hmmmm…

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