This year's Best Director Oscar race has proven a surprising one, with two of the most-nominated directors at every other awards show being shut out of the big game. We're, of course, talking about Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively. So hopes were high that vindication would be at their backs, guiding at least one of them to gold. And what a victory it was for winner Affleck, who took home the top feature film honors at the ceremony in Hollywood. Affleck's win is just one of many that he's gained for directing the story of Tony Mendez and the six fugitive Americans embassy workers in 1980. At this point, it seems hard to imagine Affleck will miss the Oscar trophy he could've won, had the Academy not snubbed him during nominations. What's one award amongst friends, right?
But it wasn't just a big night for movies. Big names in television — including Lena Dunham, Louis C.K., Bryan Cranston, and Looper's Rian Johnson — were all up for directoral nods on the small screen. But it was the seemingly-unstoppable Dunham that took home the top prize in comedic television for her HBO series Girls — and on her first nomination, to boot! Welcome to 2013: Year of the Dunham. (And you thought it was 2012, pish posh!) Johnson took home the dramatic prize for his work on the Cranston-fronted Breaking Bad. Cranston himself was up for directing an episode of Modern Family. From meth kingpin to primetime comedy director — there's really nothing that man can't do, huh?
Check out the full list of nominees (and winners; bolded) below!
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Argo (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
(Twentieth Century Fox)
(DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series
Political Animals, “Pilot”
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Hatfields & McCoys
Game Change (HBO)
American Horror Story: Asylum, “Dark Cousin”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series
Homeland, "The Choice"
Mad Men, “A Little Kiss”
LESLI LINKA GLATTER
Breaking Bad, “Fifty-One” (AMC)
The Newsroom, “We Just Decided To” (Pilot)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series
Louie, “New Year’s Eve”
The Big Bang Theory, “The Date Night Variable”
Modern Family, “Election Day”
Girls, “Pilot” (HBO)
30 Rock, “Live from Studio 6H”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety
12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief
(Multiple Networks/Cable Outlets)
DON ROY KING
Saturday Night Live with Host Mick Jagger
84th Annual Academy Awards
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, "Episode #17153"
66th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs
America’s Next Top Model, "The Girl Who Becomes America’s Next Top Model"
Face Off, "Scene of the Crime"
Master Chef, “Episode #305” (FOX)
J. RUPERT THOMPSON
Stars Earn Stripes, “Amphibious Assault”
Ink Master, “Pasties and a Cameltoe”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials
Days of Our Lives, “Trapped”
General Hospital, “Bad Water”
General Hospital, “Magic Milo”
General Hospital, “Shot Through The Heart”
One Life To Live, “Between Heaven and Hell” (ABC)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs
Girl vs. Monster
Let it Shine (Disney Channel)
SAVAGE STEVE HOLLAND
Big Time Movie
Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
Searching For Sugar Man
The Invisible War
How To Survive A Plague
The Queen of Versailles
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
What do you think of this year's winners? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Cooked up in the head of Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) comes the movie in which he makes his directorial debut. Without Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze sifting through the maze this time Kaufman himself weaves this crazy quilt with consummate skill. In other words Synecdoche New York is just as successfully quirky humane and head scratching as all the others in the Kaufman ouerve. To sum up the plot succinctly is impossible but it centers on a stage director and hypochondriac Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who trades in his suburban life with wife Adele (Catherine Keener) daughter Olive (Sadie Goldstein) and regional theatrical work in Schenectady for a chance at Broadway. He puts together a cast (resembling those in his own dream world) and brings them to a Manhattan warehouse being designed as a replica of the city outside. As the world he is creating inside these walls expands so does the focus of his own life and relationships. As the years literally fly by he gets deeper into his theatrical self which soon starts to merge with his own increasingly pathetic reality. Whatever you make of the tale Kaufman is telling here the casting could not be better or more suited to the quirky material. Philip Seymour Hoffman offers up a tour-de-force and is simply superb playing all the tics and foibles of the deeply disturbed Caden. His early scenes in his “normal” home are wonderfully alive with all his phobias and hypochondria in view. Later we literally watch this man disintegrate as his master creation overwhelms him. Hoffman seems to fully understand the mental trauma of a man running as far from his own realities as he possibly can. Catherine Keener as always is right on target as his wife Adele. She has a knack for taking what seems like tiny moments and making them define exactly who this woman is. Jennifer Jason Leigh as a mentor to Caden’s daughter is always fascinating to watch and plays Maria with an ounce of irony. Tom Noonan playing the actor portraying Caden in the play is the perfect doppelganger and delightfully adds to Caden’s confused state. The all-pro trio of Michelle Williams as Caden’s new wife Claire; Samantha Morton as the irresistible assistant Hazel; and Hope Davis as Caden’s self-absorbed therapist add greatly to the merry mix. It’s nice to watch Charlie Kaufman seize control of his own work. In this instance he’s really the only one who can deliver us his Fellini-esque vision. Centering it all on the theatrical director’s weird universe Synecdoche does seem like it might be Kaufman’s own take on Fellini’s 8 ½ or even Woody Allen’s paean to that film Stardust Memories. Let’s just say we know most of it must exist somewhere inside Kaufman. Early domestic scenes could have been played flat but the novice director moves the camera around skillfully enough to make us immediately engaged in Caden’s world. Second half of the film set in the phantasmagoric warehouse is a stunning tapestry of scenes from Kaufman’s singularly fertile imagination. It’s nice to note he’s well equipped with the basic tools a director needs for this type of challenging material. Overall his film is a surprising confounding visual feast -- a dream/nightmare come to life and then spinning out of control.