By Joey Magidson
No matter how we talk about the Oscar race right now, the discussion is fed through the prism of both the Best Picture candidacy of Argo and the Best Director snub of Ben Affleck. Especially now that the Producers Guild crowned Argo with their top prize over the weekend and the Screen Actors Guild did the same just hours ago, all roads of discussion go through that flick and Affleck.
One angle that I haven’t really discussed much yet is the fact that Affleck is still primarily an actor transitioning to being a director as well. This is only his third film, and while he’s seen Oscar nominations for supporting roles in both of his films (Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone and Jeremy Renner for The Town), no wins have come for any of his directorial outings.
This time around, Argo was supposed to be the movie that got him over the hump. In one regard, it did, since the film is nominated for seven Academy Awards and is in serious contention to win at least three or four of them. Obviously, the one place it’s notoriously not competing in is the Best Director category. Affleck was looked at as perhaps the leader of the pack for much of the season, but he wound up out in the cold on nomination morning.
The snub begs the question of whether the Academy truly has the soft spot for films directed by actors that some presume exists. Did Argo get the love it did because of — or in spite of — the admiration voters had for Affleck’s efforts?