Home Movies Oscars: Why the Big Directors Are Missing from the Nominees

Everyone’s asking the same question today: What happened to nominations for the big directors? Their movies are nominated for Best Picture, but Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino, Tom Hooper and Ben Affleck are all absent from the Oscar finalists.

In their places: odd choices– Michael Haneke, who directed “Amour” and a lot of brutal movies in the past; and first time ever indie director Benh Zeitlin, who made “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

I think I know the answer. Maybe some Academy voters will respond.But it’s more than likely that lacking a list of Directors Guild nominees, many voters were at a loss. Usually the DGA nominees are announced before the Oscar ballots are due back. Oscar nominations for Best Director in the past have lined up with the DGA list. And it makes sense. That DGA list is useful for panicked voters.

But this year the Academy moved their deadline back to January 3 (and then the 4th) so they could trump the Golden Globe weekend. It worked. Everyone’s talking about the Oscars today. Golden Globes have faded. But an unintended result is the lack of a guide for Oscar voters.

The DGA nominated Bigelow and Hooper, along with Spielberg, Affleck and Lee. If their choices had been made available to the Academy, I think we’d have seen a different list today.  So don’t think this is some referendum or that it means anything other than that. The voters were a little adrift. The result is a bunch of name directors–all of whom have had many accolades in the past– are wondering if their Best Pictures directed themselves.

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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