Friday, January 11, 2013

A conspiracy among directors


I smell a rat.

It was a travesty that Ben Affleck wasn’t included among the best director contenders when the Oscar nominations were announced yesterday morning. But I am convinced now why he wasn’t.

Ben Affleck, the victim of a
conspiracy among directors
Affleck wasn’t nominated because enough members of the director’s branch of the Motion Picture Academy formed a conspiracy to block his nomination. They found enough members of the branch to agree not to include him on their ballots.

Why would they do this? Because they knew if Affleck was nominated he would win the Oscar and these directors are simply tired of actors stealing away awards they think rightfully belong to one of their own.

As everyone probably knows, the Oscar nomination process is somewhat restrictive. Only members of the directing branch can vote for directing nominees. Only members of the writing branch can vote for the contenders in the two writing categories. The only category in which every branch can vote is for best picture.

(As a point of information, the voting branches of the academy are in alphabetical order: Actors, Art Directors, Cinematographers, Directors, Documentary, Executives, Film Editors, Makeup Artists & Hairstylists, Music, Producers, Public Relations. Short Films and Feature Animation, Sound, Visual Effects and Writers. The Academy also has 246 at-large voters.)

However, once the nominations are set, all members of the academy are eligible to vote in most of the categories. The largest branch of the Academy, by far, is the Actors Branch which has 1,172 voting members. The second largest, the Producers Branch, has 450.

When an actor is nominated in the directing category, the Actors Branch rally around that nominee and thus some actors have unjustly won the Oscar in the directing category: Robert Redford in 1980, Kevin Costner in 1990, and Clint Eastwood in 2004 quickly come to mind. Eastwood, however, did deserve his Oscar in 1992 and, although I am loathe to admit it, so did Mel Gibson in 1995.

As further proof that a conspiracy among enough directors in the Oscar’s Directors Branch denied Affleck a nomination is the fact that the Directors Guild did nominate him. But only members of the guild get to vote for the winner of that award, so the winner will be decided by other directors, not by actors rallying around one of their own. It should also be noted that Affleck won the prestigious Critics Choice Award this year for best director.

I was also surprised that the Directors Guild nominated Kathryn Bigelow but the sexist Directors Branch of the Academy passed over her. But this is just a bunch of testosterone injected males who are jealous of the fact that a woman is directing better war movies than they are.

That omission was simply petty, not a conspiracy, but there you have it.

1 comment:

Philip Wuntch said...

Well-stated and insightful, Pete. As for those who conspired against Affleck, they can all "argofuckthemselves."