Commentary: Oscar snubs level playing field for nominees
BY KENNETH TURAN Los Angeles Times
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
2/26/13 at 7:11 AM
Now that the dust has settled and cold reality has replaced airy speculation, it's clearer than ever that as far as the 2013 best picture Oscar was concerned, Hollywood's directors gave and took away.
Not content with being the powers on the set, the 300-some members of the director's branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences demonstrated power of another kind. By setting into motion what has come to be known as the Year of the Snub, they left two key directors off of their nominations list and sealed the fates of both pictures involved, elevating one and all but burying the other.
Interestingly enough, leaving "Argo's" Ben Affleck and "Zero Dark Thirty's" Kathryn Bigelow off their list had another, unanticipated effect on the final Oscar tally. By depressing the vote for "Zero Dark Thirty" and amplifying the sentiment for "Argo," the directors' decision, albeit unintentionally, leveled the playing field and made this one of the most balanced Academy Awards results in recent years.
It's possible that Ang Lee would have won director for "Life of Pi" even without the removal of two of his strongest competitors, including former Oscar winner Bigelow, whose "Zero Dark Thirty" demonstrated a mastery of storytelling and heightened realism.
Lee, of course, is a worthy winner. But that said, there was something missing for me in "Life of Pi." I wanted to have more of the kind of human connection that each of the other four films gave me.
I especially felt sad for "Lincoln." This was a different kind of film for Steven Spielberg, a film whose pleasures were restrained, interior and subtle, a film in which the director placed himself at the service of the script and the acting, not his own reputation. This is what Affleck recognized when he gave a shout-out to Spielberg in his acceptance speech, calling him "a genius." It would have been nice if the rest of the academy had shared his sentiments.
Original Print Headline: 2 Oscars snubs level the field