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« "The Hours" Discussion Pt. 1: Nervous Hands, Ravenous Kisses | Main | Best Director. My Choices and Theirs. »

Re: Ben Affleck

I would like to go on record... as saying that this hideous idea of a "write-in" vote for Ben Affleck which is making the webrounds should not be humored by any Academy member or Oscar pundit who respects that the votes are what the votes are come what may. We all have disagreements each year. I mean I think it's ludicrous / embarrassing / etcetera that Crash won best picture but I haven't demanded a recount or a retroactive do-over. The Oscars are what they are: a historical document of a given moment in time and what an elite group of people in Hollywood in those fields valued at the time. 

To deny the directors their ability to choose the five Best Directors is tantamount to overthrowing the entire system in which the nominations come from their own branch of expertise. What's next, actors being able to choose which 5 sound engineers should be up for awards? Documentarians choosing which 5 costume designers should be nominated because, they themselves understand so much about character and clothing?

If I were Ben Affleck I would shut this down immediately somehow. No one likes a sore loser. 

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Reader Comments (31)

I agree with you that this is a ridiculous idea, but out of all the deserving directors to choose from, why him? To me, Ben Affleck is just another actor-turned-director that the critics fawn over even though their films (and by relation, their directorial skills) are rather pedestrian (e.g. Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson). It's like critics are surprised that a famous leading man can be halfway-competent directing.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Exactly. And I really resent all this hullabaloo over Ben Affleck's omission from the Best Director category when Kathryn Bigelow's snub was so much more egregious. 'Argo' kind of sucks.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

ZDT does suck, Argo doesn't - but yeah, no write in voting.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark F.

I think the classy thing for Affleck to do would be to say something along the lines of, "I don't want people to change the Academy rules for me. My film was still nominated for 7 awards including Best Picture, so if people really love it, they can vote for it elsewhere." I personally believe it actually has a good shot at winning Best Picture, so I think that would be more than enough compensation for Affleck's Best Director "snub."

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

Ben did a fine job directing "Argo" but white it's well crafted and entertaining picture is it really Oscar worthy?

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

So much word to this, but sadly, I think Ben is too desperate to shut it down.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Well said.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

That Scott Feinberg article really riles me up, the directors branch voted and Affleck got left out end of story, all the nominated directors films are up for Best Picture. It's not like they nominated the director of Twilight or something , thank you for posting this Nat

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRamification

Martin Scorsese, TAXI DRIVER
Steven Spielberg, JAWS
Steven Spielberg, THE COLOR PURPLE
Ron Howard, APOLLO 13
Christopher Nolan, INCEPTION
Philip Kaufman, THE RIGHT STUFF
Costa-Gavras, MISSING
Baz Luhrmann, MOULIN ROUGE!
Vincente Minnelli, FATHER OF THE BRIDE
Michael Powell & Emmerich Pressburger, THE RED SHOES
George Seaton, MIRACLE ON 34th STREET
Michael Curtiz, MILDRED PIERCE

Guess what all those directors and respective films have in common. That's right - Best Picture nominees without a correspondent Best Director nomination. No write-in campaign for them.

See why Affleck - a serviceable and competent but hardly genius filmmaker - can take it?

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo

How sad is it that the critical community is displaying more conservative taste than the Academy nowadays? Affleck over Haneke or Zeitlin would be a classic Crash or King's Speech move from the Academy, and for once they don't do that, and what happens? The critical community throws a fit. This is why we can't have nice things!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

@Mark F. Please, there's no way Ben Affleck could have directed ZDT, savvy as he is.

This entire thing is pretty ridiculous. I'm guessing it wouldn't have been so inflamed if he hadn't won the Golden Globe on top of the critics' award, but if this happened, it would be the second-dumbest Hollywood petition next to Free Polanski.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

If they wanna entertain the idea of write-ins, then they should really go all the way and allow write-ins from the rest of the world (hey, at least the next 5 weeks won't be as boring). Though I'm not sure Mr. Feinberg would be happy with the results, which I'm sure would be The Avengers winning half the award and The Hunger Games winning the other half.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRic

@TB: ABSOLUTELY. I really didn't like Argo, but I don't have a problem with people liking it - variety of taste is a good thing! - but I would have thought most sound-minded critics would be glad that the Academy actually made a couple of daring choices. Apparently not!

I find the whole thing really distasteful - I obviously understand that these people want to win things, and I don't expect everybody to have PTA's level of no-fucks-given about the entire thing, but you just shouldn't care this much. We don't make art to win awards; awards are a gratifying cherry on top at the end of the process. I think all of us who follow this stuff as closely as presumably all readers of this site do understand that the Oscars give out awards based on a lot of factors, of which "quality" is only one, and a very subjective one at that. I disagree with most of the awards the Academy gives out on any given year, but I also know that I am but one lowly viewer! I mean, if I were in charge of the Academy I would have thrown all of the awards at The Master this year, but I wasn't even remotely upset when it didn't get many nominations, because it clearly wasn't in the cards. IT'S JUST NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL. So for everybody to act like a gross human rights violation has been committed in not nominating him is both baffling and really kind of gross to me. Cut it out, guys. Just grow up.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

A loser has a right to their soreness since they lost. I hope nominees find themselves bitching about the eventual winners this year and I hope the camera catches it.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

glad to hear i'm not alone in frustration here. I hate to be right about this (really i do) but this only goes to prove i was right about Clint Eastwood all along. People just go NUTS with hero worship when a movie star becomes a director. It blurs all common sense about their gift.

Ben Affleck is a decent director. He's made three decent to really good films that people liked.

That's about the extent of it!

Wes Anderson, Werner Herzog, Richard Linklater, David Cronenberg, Lars von Trier Baz Luhrmann and many others have MUCH stronger filmographies and have made at least one masterpiece each and none have never been nominated for Best Director.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Costner - Beatty - Redford - Gibson

Hitchcock - Bergman - Altman - Fincher

What's wrong with this picture?

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Beatty deserves his Oscar for directing.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Yeesh, I just read the Scott Feinberg article, and it's so ridiculous! (Like, Sasha Stone-level ridiculous.)
And I quote, "Either it’s time to dismiss the Globes as any kind of legitimate prognosticator or time for the Academy to recognize it has made a mistake and do the right thing: reintroduce a write-in vote."
These are our choices?!

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

3rtful -- agreed. Beatty is of the only examples of actor turned director who was just as deserving as your typical "real" director. Not that actors directing aren't real. NEVER MIND.

Patryk -- but yeah, listing them makes you see.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

When I read about this, I got excited because if they asked for best director, they would asked for the other categories, and it would've been great to see Jean-Louis Trintignant for "Amour" in the best actor category.

January 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

His movie was a huge hit, people loved it, he got the golden globe for best director and the movie was nominated for several Oscar categories including best picture and people still complain? I agree completely with you guys. Affleck should make a statement to shut this down. And let's be honest, in terms of direction, Amour and Beasts are far more challenging movies to make.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I'm outraged. Thanks Nathaniel for these words!

Affleck is really acting like some low-level prima donna. It's NOT about the Awards, dear. Learn from Kathryn Bigelow.

I suppose he's the Streisand of the year. And I really hope something else wins Best Picture.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdinasztie

Tee-hee! Love the Crash mention! 7 years going strong and people are still upset. I rate it one of the Academy's finest hours. Let's see if Silver Linings can bring us as much joy by taking down Lincoln! MAKE IT HAPPEN, HARVEY!!!!!!

Re: Affleck, if that means we can also have a write-in campaign for Condoleeza Rice, for directing Zero Dark Thirty, I say bring it! Buh-ring it!

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwhy not?

Didn't Bette Davis get a huge write-in push one year and pretty sure someone won once as a write in. Point being, this isn't exactly a reason for " spitting in the face of history!" outrage. Affleck actively campaigning for this would be tacky, but he's not. Saying you're disappointed in a few interviews when directly asked is not whining, it's a reasonable reaction. Affleck doesn't need to condemn anything to be "classy." He's already being classy. This won't result in a win, so it's really not worth getting upset about.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Yeah, guys, let's not mistake the write-in people for Affleck. Other than his Critics Choice Awards quip (which was entirely harmless) and his acknowledgement of his disappointment, I think he's been pretty grounded about this whole thing. Didn't he say after the Globes that he was very happy with the recognition that Argo had received, and that anyone who couldn't be "had poor prospects for long-term happiness"? Something of the sort.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlaurie

I feel a little bad for Ben Affleck - not for the "snub", since I'm happy to have Zeitlin and Haneke (and Russell and Lee and Spielberg) in the lineup, but for the awkward position of having to respond to the "snub" while collecting hardware from other organizations. I don't think he needs to "shut this down" so much as just ignore it.
Why respond to an article with statements as ridiculous as:
"Either it's time to dismiss the Globes as any kind of legitimate prognosticator or time for the Academy to recognize it has made a mistake and do the right thing: reintroduce a write-in vote."
I have about 10 separate problems with that ONE SENTENCE, let alone the whole, dumb Feinberg article.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I think a huge part of this is that people have lost track of the precursors as an honor in their own right rather than just a predictor of the Oscars. Hell, we even call them the precursors.

Getting nominated for the DGA is HUGE honor in its own right. Not just as a vague promise that an Oscar nomination is headed your way

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

Michael -- you're absolutely correct of course. we're all a part of the problem in making it a yellow brick road to Oscar rather than independent glories (of course the origanizations themselves don't help matters with their scheduling which generally try very hard to be part of a road to... )

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Is really sad that we were waiting for years to the directors branch be as brave as they were this year... I mean, despite if you like or not the films this was a triumph for foreign films & independent first time filmmakers!!! and now is like everyone wants to happen the same things we all hate, how many times we said f*ck the academy for nominating actors turned directors instead of really auteurs... since this write-in vote thing is mentioned I really fear we have some The Dark Knight effect again in the academy and this result in less independence between branches to avoid 'lack of communication'' and ''terrible snubs like this'' won't happen again


January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChecko

My favourite bit of movie trivia is that George Cukor tried to get a write-in vote for Holly Woodlawn in Andy Warhol's TRASH. Ben Gazzara and Joanne Woodward were signatories!! How insane is that? I love it.

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Why can't everyone just pick all the nominees from a popular ballot? Ben Affleck would have been nominated then. And his snub isn't even the worst one of the year. It's Kathryn Bigelow.

A write-in ballot option is stupid.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLes

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