Oscar: Errors of Omission

Errors of Omission

Year after year, the Oscar nominations have been criticized for slighting and bypassing worthy achievements. The Academy’s apologetic response is consistent: there can be only five nominees and only one winner in each category. This inevitably means that not every worthy achievement will be nominated. Yet, errors of omission are particularly visible in years in which the nominees are mediocre, compared with the level of excellence of those overlooked.
 
The most glaring omission is when a movie is nominated for Best Picture, but its director fails to be recognized. The lack of correlation between the Best Picture and the Best Director is a function of the voting procedures: The Directors Branch nominates accomplishments in its league, but all Academy members nominate films for the Best Picture.
 
Oscar 1995: No Match between Films and Directors
 
In 1995, although their films were cited in several categories, directors Ron Howard (Apollo 13) and Ang Lee (Sense and Sensibility) came up empty?handed. Instead, the two slots in the directorial category were filled by Mike Figgis, whose Leaving Las Vegas was nominated in major categories (such as acting) but not Best Picture, and Tim Robbins for Dead Man Walking, which failed to receive Best Picture nomination but was cited in several other fields.
 
Oscar 2001: No Match between Films and Directors
 
In 2001, two directors also failed to receive a nomination for their Best Picture nominees. In the Bedroom secured five nominations (three of which for its actors), but left its novice helmer, Todd Field, in the cold. Similarly, and rather inexplicably, Moulin Rouge received multiple nominations except for Baz Luhrmann, its visionary director who’s responsible for every frame of his postmodern musical. In lieu of Field and Luhrmann, the Directors branch cited Ridley Scott (for the war film Black Hawk Down) and David Lynch for Mulholland Drive, his noirish Hollywood fable-nightmare.