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A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| John Sturges |||
John Sturges

Helming the “Magnificent Seven” should be reason enough, demonstrating that Sturges had the happy talent of taking what was considered strictly “male” oriented stories and making them sexy enough and humorous enough to appeal to female movie-goer as well.

Sturges takes this star-studded gunslinger film based on the Japanese favorite "The Seven Samurai", and makes it a bone fide all-American classic featuring Yul Brynner. At the request of Mexican peasants, Brynner recruits a band of fellow mercenaries, half of whom Sturges introduces as the next generation of action film super-stars including Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Steve McQueen. Widescreen!

Sturges is responsible for what is renowned as one of the greatest war films ever made, featuring Steve McQueen and his unforgettably daring motorcycle jumps in the face of the enemy. Allied prisoners escape from a German POW camp in this superior effort, noted for a brilliant international cast and Elmer Bernstein's triumphant score. Widescreen!

This day in the life of a stranger in an isolated town has since been done to death, and this is why. In the hands of a lesser director the talents of this exceedingly manly cast (Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan) would otherwise overwhelm this compelling drama with a prejudice theme, but Sturges is able to maintain a firm grasp of the reigns, keeping his actors this side of mellow drama. Widescreen!

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Oscar Handicap 2007: Leading Actor and Actress

By EdwardHavens

February 21st, 2007

Here, we will examine the surprising results of voting patters for Best Actor and Best Actress

Oscar Handicap 2007: Leading Actor and Actress

(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.)


Best Actor
For the first time in a very long time, if not ever, four of the five nominees are their respective film's only chance for a win. The last time someone in this situation did win was 19 years ago, in 1987, when Michael Douglas won for "Wall Street." Before that was Cliff Robertson in 1968, which was 19 years earlier. Hmm... another strange pattern. If only Jose Ferrer had won for Cyrano De Bergerac in 1949 instead of 1950. However, this does bode well for Forest Whitaker, who is the clear front-runner in the category... or is he?

The Breakdowns
1) As long as you're not the nominee in the lowest grossing film in this category, you've won 27 of the past 28 times (96.43%). Advantage: DiCaprio, Gosling, Smith, Whitaker
2) If you're not your film's only chance to win, you've won 27 of 28 (96.43%). Advantage: DiCaprio
3) As long as you're not the oldest nominee, you've won 25 of 28 times (89.29%). Advantage: DiCaprio, Gosling, Smith, Whitaker
4) The Best Actor winner has starred in a Best Picture nominee 60 of 78 times (76.92%). Advantage: None (and thus will not be factored into the percentages this year)
5) The nominee with at least two major pre-awards has gone on to win the Oscar 20 of 28 times (71.43%). Advantage: Whitaker
6) The SAG Award winner in this category has gone on to win the Oscar in the same category 8 of 12 times (66.67%). Advantage: Whitaker
7) Playing a fictional character has helped the winner 19 of 28 times (67.86%). Advantage: DiCaprio, Gosling, O'Toole
8) Nominees who have received the Golden Globe for drama have won the Oscar 17 of 28 times (60.71%). Advantage: Whitaker
9) First-time nominees in this category have won 15 of 28 (53.57%). Advantage: Gosling, Whitaker

By The Numbers
Statistically, Mr. DiCaprio has a decent lead on Mr. Whitaker, not that anyone honestly believes Leo will win
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond: +1, +2, +3, -5, -6, +7, -8, -9 (134 of 208, 64.42%)
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson: +1, -2, +3, -5, -6, +7, -8, +9 (110 of 208, 52.88%)
Peter O’Toole, Venus: -1, -2, -3, -5, -6, +7, -8, -9 (60 of 208, 28.85%)
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness: +1, -2, +3, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9 (98 of 208, 47.12%)
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland: +1, -2, +3, +5, +6, -7, +8, +9 (122 of 208, 58.65%)


Best Actress
It is Helen Mirren's world, and we're just living in it, right?

The Breakdowns
1) As long as you're not the nominee in the lowest grossing film in this category, you've won 26 of the last 28 times (92.86%). Advantage: Cruz, Dench, Mirren, Streep
2) If you are not your film's only chance to win, you've won 67 of 78 times (85.90%). Advantage: Dench, Mirren, Streep, Winslet
3) Playing a fictional character has helped the winner 23 of 28 times (82.14%). Advantage: Cruz, Dench, Streep, Winslet
4) The winner in this category has played an American character 23 of 28 times (82.14%). Advantage: Streep, Winslet
5) First-time nominees in this category have won 23 of 28 (82.14%). Advantage: Cruz, Mirren
6) The SAG Award winner in this category has gone on to win the Oscar in the same category 9 of 12 (75%). Advantage: Mirren
7) Winners have come from films with an original screenplay 18 of 28 (64.29%). Advantage: Cruz, Mirren
8) The Best Actress winner has starred in a Best Picture nominee 17 of 28 times (60.71%). Advantage: Mirren
9) A nominee with prior acting nominations has gone on to win in this category 16 of 28 times (57.14%). Advantage: Dench, Mirren, Streep, Winslet
10) Nominees who have received the Golden Globe for drama have won the Oscar 16 of 28 times (57.14%). Advantage: Mirren

By The Numbers
Ms. Streep has a decent statistical edge over Ms. Mirren. Why couldn't the Queen of England be a creation of Peter Morgan's mind and Miranda Priestly be called Anna Wintour?
Penélope Cruz, Volver: +1, -2, +3, -4, +5, -6, +7, -8, -9, -10 (144 of 314, 45.86%)
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal: +1, +2, +3, -4, -5, -6, +7, -8, +9, -10 (178 of 314, 56.69%)
Helen Mirren, The Queen: +1, +2, -3, -4, +5, +6, +7, +8, +9, +10 (202 of 314, 64.33%)
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada: +1, +2, +3, +4, -5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10 (220 of 314, 70.06%)
Kate Winslet, Little Children: -1, +2, +3, +4, -5, -6, -7, -8, +9, -10 (172 of 314, 54.78%)


Find out who wins this year's Oscars, when the Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 are presented on Sunday, February 25, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, televised live on ABC beginning at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST. A one-hour red carpet arrivals show will precede the telecast at 4 PM PST/7 PM EST.


Addition articles in this series:
Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
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