LOS ANGELES – Ben Affleck has run the table this awards season for his political thriller “Argo,” taking home top directorial honors from every major (and minor) awards show, including the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Golden Globes, San Diego Film Critics and the Directors Guild of America (DGA).
All this would normally make him a shoo-in for Best Director at this month’s Oscar’s ceremony, but just one problem: he wasn’t even nominated.
Yahoo! Movies Contributing Editor Thelma Adams says Affleck’s winning streak is “embarrassing to the Academy,” and his snub may be due to the Oscar’s announcing their nominations earlier than normal.
“Blame this year’s fluky awards calendar where the Academy tried to get the jump on the guilds and the critics groups to break news. They had already voted for their nominees by January 4, while the DGA didn’t announce their nominees until January 8th,” she explained. “In other words, the Oscar-voters didn’t have their usual crib sheet.”
Jami Philbrick, Managing Editor of film news website iamRogue.com, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column: “This does undermine the Oscar nominations since clearly the best director of the year was not even nominated. I do think that ‘Argo’ will win Best Picture, and that may have a small part to do with the fact that Ben was overlooked for director."
Other industry experts are also wondering whether the eventual Oscars winner – be it Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln,” Ang Lee for “Life of Pi,” Benh Zeitlin for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” David O’Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook” or Michael Haneke for “Amour” – will essentially be regarded as the runner-up, given that Affleck has dominated the season thus far.
“There will certainly be a bit of second-guessing over whether Ben somehow should have won among showbiz pundits and water-cooler experts, but because this year’s crop of directing nominees remains so strong, there probably won’t be too much scoffing over the eventual winner,” said Hollywood-based entertainment reporter Scott Huver. “But Affleck and ‘Argo’s’ pre-Oscar awards sweep slightly tarnishes the ceremony by creating the impression that something went awry inside the Academy’s process.”
What that may have been still has awards season insiders and movie buffs scratching their heads.
“The most prevailing wisdom I’ve heard circulating the industry is that Affleck and ‘Argo’ held front-running positions in the Oscar race so presumably solidly that the voting membership may have simply assumed his nomination was a given and devoted their vote to other filmmaker needing extra support,” Huver said. “In the process, Affleck, and other likely candidates such as Kathryn Bigelow, did not make the cut.”
But Todd Gold, Executive Editor of Xfinity TV, says the Affleck Oscar drama is much ado about nothing.
“Whoever wins the Oscar gets to thank the Academy, take the statue home, and forever be known as the year’s Best Director. The list of winners doesn’t include a back story of also-rans and should’ve won,” he stated. “However, the next time someone is snubbed, Ben’s name will be mentioned in stories about others who’ve been overlooked.”
But it seems Affleck, who has also won a slew of other “Argo” related awards including the top Producing honor from the Producer’s Guild of America, Best Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes and Overall Cast Performance at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, seems to be taking the much-discussed “snub” in his stride.
“I’m sorry,” he joked to a reporter trying in vain to get a question in backstage at last week’s SAG Awards. “I know what it feels like to be overlooked.”
Cue a room full of laughter.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not respond to a request for comment.