When the Academy Award nominees for director were announced Thursday morning, Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) and Steven Spielberg (“Bridge of Spies”) were noticeably missing from the list. The Scott snub was especially surprising since he is a Directors Guild Award and BAFTA nominee and was in contention for a Golden Globe.
But Scott is in good company.
Oscar director snubs are nothing new and some of the biggest directors working today have found themselves out in the cold in their category on nomination day.
Just last year, two-time Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood failed to earn an Oscar nomination in the category, though his film “American Sniper" earned six nominations including best film, actor and adapted screenplay.
Ben Affleck also didn’t make the director’s cut though his motion picture “Argo” won the best picture Oscar three years ago. But Affleck did quite well that year, receiving the DGA Award, a Golden Globe, BAFTA and several critics’ honors.
Ron Howard also found himself shut out of the director nominees for his 1995 picture nominee “Apollo 13," though the DGA honor did honor him for the historical piece. And Howard eventually won the Oscar for directing the 2001 Academy Award-winning best picture, “A Beautiful Mind.”
Steven Spielberg found himself in the same position as Affleck and Howard 30 years ago when his movie “The Color Purple” earned 11 Oscar nominations but failed to pick up one for director. The DGA honored him with its award and Spielberg would win Oscars for directing 1993’s “Schindler’s List” and 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.”
Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic “Taxi Driver” is one of the seminal films of that decade, but Scorsese was snubbed for a director Oscar. In fact, it wasn’t until 1980’s “Raging Bull” that he earned an Oscar nomination in the director category. Scorsese finally received Oscar gold for directing the 2006 best picture winner, “The Departed.”