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Tue, 13 Nov 2012 18:15:57 GMT | By Norman Wilner
When Oscar says he’s sorry

Ron Howard

Ron Howard (© Wireimage/John Sciulli)
  • Renee Zellweger, Sean Penn, Colin Firth (© Wireimage)
  • Paul Newman (© Wireimage/Steve Granitz)
  • Jeremy Irons (© Wireimage/Gregg DeGuire)
  • Martin Landau (© Wireimage/Steve Granitz)
  • Jennifer Connelly (© Wireimage/Steve Granitz)
  • Ron Howard (© Wireimage/John Sciulli)
  • Sean Penn (© Wireimage/Steve Granitz)
  • Peter Jackson (© Wireimage/ Jeff Vespa)
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WINNER: Ron Howard
WON FOR: 'A Beautiful Mind'
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Apollo 13,' the 1995 docudrama that remains his best film - and which somehow managed to score nine nominations, including Best Picture, without a nod for Howard's direction. Howard played on the Academy's guilt pretty aggressively with 'A Beautiful Mind,' aiming the picture straight at voters' sweet spots (He's a tormented genius! No, wait, he's suffering from debilitating mental illness! No, wait, he's a tormented genius suffering from debilitating mental illness who won the Nobel Prize!) and campaigning furiously through the 2001-2002 ballot season. It paid off with a near-sweep, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Connelly. Only Russell Crowe went home empty-handed, partly because it was Denzel Washington's year - and after all, he'd just won the previous year for 'Gladiator.'