Oscar Handicap 2008: Director

Here, we will look at the recent voting patterns for the category of Best Director.

(For explanations as to how our scoring system works, make sure to read our first article in the series, Best Picture of the Year, linked at the bottom of this article.)

The conventional thinking is that the Coens will win here as they are due to win an Oscar. Except they already have one, winning for Best Original Screenplay for Fargo back in 1997. It was their consolation prize for making a damn good movie but not being the sweeping epic like The English Patient the more-elderly voters prefer. While No Country is not the epic that, say, There Will Be Blood is, does it have the momentum to give them a directing award to sit alongside their writing one?

The Breakdowns

1) Best Directors have won for a film with at least one acting nomination 26 of the last 29 times (89.66%). Advantage: Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Gilroy, Reitman

2) As long as you’re not the oldest nominee, you’ve won 26 of 29 (89.66%). Advantage: Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Gilroy, Reitman

3) The DGA Award winner has also won the Best Directing Oscar 52 of 59 (88.14%). Advantage: The Coen Brothers

4) Best Directors have come from a film released after October 1st 21 of 29 (72.41%). Advantage: All films

5) Directors of stories not predominantly set in the present or past decade have won 20 of 29 (68.97%). Advantage: Anderson, The Coen Brothers

6) The film with the most nominations has won for Best Director 19 of 29 (65.52%). Advantage: Anderson, The Coen Brothers

7) Directors who did not have a hand in writing the story and/or the screenplay have won 19 of 29 (65.52%). Advantage: Reitman, Schnabel

8) First-time nominees in this category have won 17 of 29 (58.62%). Advantage: Anderson, Gilroy, Reitman, Schnabel

9) Directors of stories with some basis in fact have won 15 of 29 (51.72%). “Advantage”: Schnabel

10) Directors who have also produced their film have won 15 of 29 (51.72%). “Advantage”: Anderson, The Coen Brothers

By The Numbers

It does appear the Coens have a distinct lead in this category as well.

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood: +1, +2, -3, +4, +5, +6, -7, +8, -9, +10 (170 of 320, 53.13%)

Ethan and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men: +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, -7, -8, -9, +10 (215 of 320, 67.19%)

Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton: +1, +2, -3, +4, -5, -6, -7, +8, -9, -10 (154 of 320, 48.13%)

Jason Reitman, Juno: +1, +2, -3, +4, -5, -6, +7, +8, -9, -10 (163 of 320, 50.94%)

Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: -1, -2, -3, +4, -5, -6, +7, +8, +9, -10 (118 of 320, 36.88%)

Personal prediction for Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Personal choice in this category: Julian Schnabel

All articles in this series:

Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Score, Best Editing and Best Art Direction
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature