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

||| Sergio Leone |||
Sergio Leone

Leone’s career is remarkable in its unrelenting attention to both American culture and the American genre film, exploring the mythic America he created with each successive film examining the established characters in greater depth.

Only his second feature (a remake of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo), Leone's landmark "spaghetti western" caused a revolution and features Clint Eastwood in his breakthrough role as "The Man With No Name". This classic brutal drama of feuding families wasn’t the first spaghetti Western, but it was far and away the most successful up to that time.

Plot is of minimal interest, but character is everything to Leone, who places immense meaning in the slightest flick of an eyelid, extensively using the extreme close-up on the eyes to reveal any feeling, as demonstrated by Clint, who squints his way through this slam-bang sequel to A Fistful of Dollars as a wandering gunslinger that must combine forces with his nemesis to track down a wanted killer.

The final chapter in the groundbreaking trilogy follows Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach as they form an uneasy alliance to find a stash of hidden gold. Leone focuses on his central theme as they find themselves facing greed, treachery, and murder, showing that the desire for wealth and power turns men into ruthless creatures who violate land and family and believe that a man’s death is less important than how he faces it.

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Oscar Handicap 2014: Director

By EdwardHavens

March 1st, 2013

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

Oscar Handicap 2014: 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.)

With Argo's much-honored director out of the running here, does that leave this category wide open or is there a clear-cut front-runner?

The Breakdowns
1) Best Director winners have also been nominated for the same award at the BAFTAs 21 of the last 22 years (95.45%), when British and American releases started to better align themselves. Advantage: Cuaron, McQueen, Russell, Scorsese
2) Winners of the Directors' Guild Award for Best Director have gone on to win here 58 of the 65 times the former award has been given (89.23%). Advantage: Cuaron
3) As long as you're not the oldest nominee, you've won here 31 of 35 (88.24%). Advantage: Cuaron, McQueen, Payne, Russell
4) Movies primarily set outside the past twenty years have won here 25 of 35 (71.43%). Advantage: McQueen, Russell
5) Movies based on works of fiction have won 25 of 35 (71.43%). Advantage: Cuaron, Payne
6) The film with the most nominations has won for Best Director 23 of 35 (65.71%). Advantage: Cuaron, Russell
7) Xenophobia is still (mostly) alive, with American-born filmmakers winning 22 of 35 (62.86%). Advantage: Payne, Russell, Scorsese
8) Directors who are not writers of their projects have won 22 of 35 (62.86%). Advantage: McQueen, Payne
9) First-time nominees in this category have won 21 of 35 (60%). Advantage: Cuaron, McQueen
10) Directors who are also producers on their film have won 19 of 35 (54.29%). Advantage: Cuaron, McQueen, Scorsese

By The Numbers
It is quite likely this will be the first time in sixty-two years that we've had split Best Picture/Best Director winners two years in a row
Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity": +1, +2, +3, -4, +5, +6, -7, -8, +9, +10 (234 of 367, 63.76%)
Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave": +1, -2, +3, +4, -5, -6, -7, +8, +9, +10 (181 of 367, 49.32%)
Alexander Payne, "Nebraska": -1, -2, +3, -4, +5, -6, +7, +8, -9, -10 (160 of 367, 43.60%)
David O. Russell, "American Hustle": +1, -2, +3, +4, -5, +6, +7, -8, -9, -10 (182 of 367, 49.59%)
Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street": +1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6, +7, +8, -9, +10 (141 of 367, 38.42%)


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 Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature