Oscar winning director Ang Lee received wonderful news this morning when he received his third Best Director nomination for Life of Pi. But after learning of his fellow nominees in the category, he tells ET Canada that he was shocked that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were snubbed by the Academy, despite their respective movies (Argo and Zero Dark Thirty) being nominated for Best Picture.
"I was shocked," says Lee. "It's not that I don't think the others should have been nominated -- I'm happy for everyone including myself -- but these two seemed to be the sure thing from the beginning. They didn't miss any of the [other award season] nominations."
In fact, both Affleck and Bigelow were just announced to be the finalist for the Directors Guild of America's top honor alongside Lee, Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables). Both Affleck and Bigelow also received director noms for the BAFTA Film Awards, Critics Choice and Golden Globes.
Despite not landing what Lee calls "the last one, the big one" of the entire awards season, he says he is is looking forward to meeting them at the DGA this week.
Lee reveals that he found out about Life of Pi's 11 nominations from his assistant on the phone: "I heard heavy breathing on the other end, and I thought, 'Oh this is gonna be good.'" He adds, "I was expecting a lot less, so this is more than I could have hoped for."
Hosted by Seth MacFarlane, the 85th Academy Awards will air live from Hollywood Sunday, February 24, 2013 on ABC.