Seth MacFarlane‘s Hitler joke during this morning’s announcement of the 2012 Oscar nominations rippled awkwardly through the AMPAS room. (And brought back memories for FishbowlLA of Ricky Gervais‘ aborted plans to come out for one Golden Globes telecast dressed as the F├╝hrer, waving at the crowd “Heil!” style.)

But that was nothing compared to what happened when the nominees for Best Director were announced. The tweets quickly started flying as west coast entertainment journalists rustled up at the break of dawn reeled in the face of the omission of Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty). Tom Hooper was also passed over in the category for Les Miserables, but that was something a number of pundits had actually been expecting.

The first wave of shocked analysis is floating all kinds of theories as to why Bigelow and Affleck were snubbed. Did accusations of Zero Dark Thirty being “pro-torture” hurt Bigelow? Was all that fawning over Affleck this awards season too much for jealous Academy members to bear?

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