The last 100 hours or so in Hollywood has been intriguing, to say the least. The Oscar nominations on Thursday sent a series of shockwaves throughout the industry and were marvelously reflective of a tightly contended, stellar year of filmmaking. And of course, two names have been on everyone's lips since the Thursday morning bombshell: Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow.
First and foremost, I don't think it's an "embarrassment" that they were left off the list of Best Director nominees. That word has been thrown around a lot this weekend but I think it's a facile direction to go. Let's be honest. Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, Benh Zeitlin and, though I don't like the film, David O. Russell (it is, after all, a genre rarely recognized, certainly for direction) is a strong, fascinating slate of nominees. And it would appear the two who scooted Affleck and Bigelow out of the mix were Haneke and Zeitlin. So let's look at that.