When my little sister was growing up, she used to protest anything she didn’t want to do with the phrase, “You’re not the boss of me!” I imagine that certain actors and actresses, and perhaps even others on the film crews for these Oscar nominees have the same attitude. And yet, there must be a captain to steer the ship. With so many tried and true contenders in the race, it promises to be a good contest to watch. In fact, previous nominations and wins is a strong signal for predicting future wins in the Best Director category. Given that, along with other critical signals we discuss below, Spielberg is the current leader in the race. Below we break down the candidates and the key factors influencing the model.
The Legend: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
The man, the myth and the legend. Spielberg helped inspire the term blockbuster, setting and breaking the Box Office record for a film’s opening three times. As for the Oscars – Spielberg has previously won twice, and he has 7 nominations to his credit. His first nomination came in 1977, 35 years ago. But, he hasn’t been ubiquitous, winning year in and year out. His last nomination was in 2005 for Munich when he lost to Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain. Coincidentally, Lee will contend with Steven again this year. His strengths: He IS the Academy, a demographical archetype of the vast majority of voters. He is known and loved by his peers. From a statistical perspective, Lincoln has more nominations than any other film this year, and the betting markets have placed the odds on Spielberg since day one. While Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) is a strong contender, Spielberg remains in the pole position, at 44.5% – down from a peak of 56.7% the morning of nominations.