The Oscar directing nominations, instead of determining the fate of the best picture race, might just have been the season’s biggest anomaly.
Let’s take a look. Three prevailing and not mutually exclusive theories explain the rise to dominance of “Argo” this awards season:
1) A likeable movie with high stakes, “Argo” was always a movie that would rank highly on preferential ballots.
2) The controversy around “Zero Dark Thirty” knocked out the film that stood to be the top rival to “Argo.”
3) The Oscar directing snub to Ben Affleck energized support for “Argo.”
All three theories are valid, but No. 3 is ultimately the one that has the least significance for me. It seems just as likely to me that the Oscar directing vote was simply a fluke.
There are approximately 371 members of the directors branch. Even if all of them voted in the nominations (a dubious proposition), that means each nominee received probably between 50 and 100 votes.
The fact that Affleck might have gotten, say, 40 votes from the directors branch instead of 60, or whatever it was, does not signal