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Right now, Steven Spielberg must be scratching his head in baffled disbelief. His movie Munich was touted as a big Oscar contender before even a single frame had been shot. It wound up on numerous critics’ year-end top-10 lists (including at EW, where Owen Gleiberman named it the year’s best movie and Lisa Schwarzbaum ranked it at No. 5.) Yet its shutout from the Producers, Writers, and Screen Actors Guild award nominations lists announced over the past two days — lists compiled by the sorts of industry insiders who also vote on the Oscars — means Munich is virtually out of the running for major awards. Only the Directors Guild recognized Munich, giving Spielberg a good shot at a Best Director Oscar nomination.

What happened? Was it the film’s ambiguous politics, which some conservative viewers have deemed insufficiently hawkish? Is Spielberg himself to blame for not doing a better job of explaining what he was trying to say in his historical thriller? Was he too unavailable to discuss the film, granting only one pre-release interview (to Time magazine)? Or was it something as simple as Universal’s decision not to send screener DVDs to guild voters? What say you, PopWatchers?

addCredit(“Munich: Karen Ballard”)

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