Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ could pull off a rare feat - Best Picture without Best Director at Oscars

By Daniel S Levine,

Ever since Ben Affleck’s Argo won Best Director and Best Picture - Drama at Sunday’s Golden Globes, the media has been buzzing about the film again. With the Academy’s decision not to nominate Affleck as Best Director, some have speculated that the film could pull off something that hasn’t been done in over two decades: win Best Picture without a Best Director nod.

This year’s Best Directors category was the source of the most shocking surprises of last week’s nominations announcement. Affleck, Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow and Django Unchained’s Quentin Tarantino had been considered guaranteed nominees. But instead, Ang Lee (Life of Pi), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Michael Haneke (Amour) snagged nominations.

If Argo’s Golden Globe win does power it to a Best Picture win, it would only be the first time since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy won. It would be the fourth time in history overall -- the other two instances came in the Oscars’ early years when Wings (1927) and Grand Hotel (1932) won. (Grand Hotel is also the only movie ever to win and receive no other nominations, which is something that will never happen again.)

The Hollywood Reporter notes that if the Academy ever re-introduced the write-in vote, Affleck’s support could gain traction and he might even win. However, write-in nominees have been banned since the 1930s. Only one person ever won on a write-in vote, which was 1935’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream cinematographer Hal Mohr.

So, while Affleck can’t win Best Director, his film still has a chance to be the Best Picture of the year and the same can be said for Zero Dark Thirty and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables. Argo earned a total of seven nominations, including best adapted screenplay.

image: NBC

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