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Academy doesn't follow the script in directors' race

Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, considered Oscar favorites for directing, are snubbed.

January 11, 2013|By Steven Zeitchik and Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times

Joe Cavalier, a TV veteran and member of the branch, said that he was "so tired of the same people getting nominated." He added, "I think people should go for dark horses, and other people that I talk to in the academy feel the same way."

But if the choices were a sign of the growing acceptance of independent cinema, they also suggested a shrinking film world. Haneke had won numerous European prizes — including Cannes' prestigious Palme d'Or in two of the last four years. But until Thursday he had never been nominated for an Oscar.

Kevin Hooks, a director who has worked on such TV series as "Prison Break," said he believed "Argo" and "Zero Dark" were hurt because they touched on charged current events.

"I think that it's difficult to dismiss the idea that political controversy has something to do with it. You look at two films that are basically politically themed," he said. "Recent history has shown us that when you have films that are based upon real events that controversy has hurt those films in the past."

He said he voted for Bigelow but not Affleck.

Bigelow and Affleck were not made available for comment Thursday, but a person close to both said they were hit hard by the news.

"I know they are both disappointed," said William Goldenberg, an editor on "Argo" and "Zero Dark". "Both films are such directors' movies … you think, 'how could they not be nominated'?"

Still, some saw the nominations as a positive sign, an indication that the Oscar world has grown more inclusive.

"The history of the Oscars is a history of no Howard Hawks, no Alfred Hitchcock," said Jeanine Basinger, professor of film studies at Wesleyan University, where Zeitlin attended. "I think you have to say hurrah to the academy because they are looking at finally the full picture of moviemaking in the United States. This is everything from the top of the establishment to the top of the real independent movement."

Times staff writers Mark Olsen, Glenn Whipp and Claudia Eller contributed to this report.


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