Spielberg has been nominated for directing honors by the Golden Globes, Directors Guild Awards and Thursday's Critics Choice Movie Awards. But it has to nag the "Lincoln" camp that he hasn't been honored by any of the couple dozen critics groups that have weighed in, and that other organizations like BAFTA have overlooked him for nominations entirely.
The DGA nom, of course, was the key one. That, combined with strong support in the SAG Awards realm (ensemble plus three individual noms) speaks to the potential for "Lincoln" to win both directing and picture honors.
And yet, I offer you this: Only once since 1990 has a director won an Oscar – or has a film won best picture – without getting a director nomination from BAFTA. That was Clint Eastwood and "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004.
As a result, Spielberg and "Lincoln" have to do something that hasn't happened in 21 of the past 22 Oscars – win without BAFTA directing support.
Ben Affleck of "Argo" and Kathryn Bigelow of "Zero Dark Thirty," who have dominated the directing honors from the critics groups, were nominated for BAFTA helmer honors along with Michael Haneke of "Amour," Ang Lee of "Life of Pi" and Quentin Tarantino of "Django Unchained." They won't have the same hurdle.
Affleck, Bigelow and Lee are the only ones this year who are DGA and BAFTA nominated. (By the way, Eastwood won the 2004 DGAs.) Interpret that as you wish ...
Update: Sasha Stone of Awards Daily reminds me that the BAFTA voting procedures were revamped this year, with the branch picking the director nominations instead of the BAFTA membership at large. That makes this year unique and certainly leaves the door a little more open for Spielberg to rally. At the same time, you sense there's uncertainty out there as far as the top prize.