From pinoydvd:slowhand: Ironically, he turned to doing crowd-pleasers like Gangs of New York and The Aviator, both of which didn't get him the directing award anyway (I don't think he deserved them if he won).
I don't think he did Gangs of New York or The Aviator to please crowds. The level of violence in Gangs...and a consistent comment about Aviator is that it isn't very moving. Trust Scorsese to avoid easy sentimentality (something you don't see Eastwood doing).
No, they're not his best work. On the other hand, who else is doing better work in the epic form? I say you have to go back to Terence Malick and Hayao Miyazaki (and no, I don't include Peter Jackson's ribbitt--sorry, hobbit--films). Hopefuly he'll do something else--not the films he's famous for, not just these kind of big-budget productions, but a different direction altogether. Which is what he's been doing for most of his career.
He deserves all kinds of awards; that he doesn't get them is a measure of how difficult and challenging the films are, and Oscar voters hate being challenged.