Will Oscars split Best Picture and Best Director for third year in a row?

Our overall odds are predicting that while “Boyhood” will win Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday, it will be “Birdman” helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who takes home Best Director over Richard Linklater. These forecasts are based on a combination of the four sets of forecasts at Gold Derby: Experts, Editors, the Top 24 Users (highest scorers predicting last year’s winners), and All Users.

Do you think this will happen? Yes, it would be the third year in a row that the academy split its top two prizes. However, it would mark only the 24th time in the 87-year history of the Academy Awards that voters went separate ways in these races. Be sure to make your predictions for Best Picture at the bottom of this post. 

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Last year, “12 Years a Slave” won Best Picture but Steve McQueen lost Best Director to Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity“). And In 2012, Ang Lee won his second Academy Award for helming the 3-D spectacle “Life of Pi” while “Argo” won Best Picture despite director Ben Affleck not being nominated. That was only the fourth time in Oscar history that the director of the Best Picture had been snubbed by the academy. The other instances:

1927/28: “Wings” won Best Picture; William Wellman was snubbed: Frank Borzage won Best Director for “Seventh Heaven”;

1931/32: “Grand Hotel” won Best Picture; Edmund Goulding was snubbed: Frank Borzage won Best Director for “Bad Girl”; and

1989: “Driving Miss Daisy” won Best Picture winner; Bruce Beresford was snubbed; Oliver Stone won Best Director for “Born on the Fourth of July”

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There have been 18 other years besides this one where Best Picture went to one film and Best Director went to another even though the helmer of the big winner was nominated. 

At the second Oscars (1928/29), Frank Lloyd won Best Director for “The Divine Lady.” That was the only time this race went to the helmer of a film not nominated for Best Picture. “The Broadway Melody” won that award while Harry Beaumont lost his Best Director bid.  

John Ford won Best Director three times even though his film lost the big prize. He edged out fellow nominees in:

1935: Frank Lloyd‘s “Mutiny on the Bounty” won Best Picture; Ford won his first Oscar for “The Informer”;

1940: Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” won Best Picture; Ford won his second Oscar for “The Grapes of Wrath”;

1952: Cecil B. DeMille‘s “The Greatest Show on Earth” won Best Picture; Ford won his record fourth Oscar for “The Quiet Man” (he had claimed this third in 1941 for helming Best Picture champ “How Green Was My Valley”). 

And George Stevens pulled off the same surprise twice: 

1951: Vincente Minnelli‘s “An American in Paris” won Best Picture; Stevens won Best Director for “A Place in the Sun”; and 

1956: Michael Anderson‘s “Around the World in 80 Days” won Best Picture; Stevens won Best Director for “Giant.”

OSCARS FLASHBACK: When Best Picture was decided by preferential ballot (1934-1945)

The other dozen times that the prizes split came in:

1930/31: Wesley Ruggles‘ “Cimarron” won Best Picture; Norman Taurog won Best Director for “Skippy”; 

1936: Robert Z. Leonard‘s’ “The Great Ziefeld” won Best Picture; Frank Capra won Best Director for “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town”; 

1937: William Dieterle‘s “The Life of Emile Zola” won Best Picture; Leo McCarey won Best Director for “The Awful Truth”; 

1948: Laurence Olivier‘s “Hamlet” won Best Picture; John Huston won Best Director for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”; 

1949: Robert Rossen‘s “All the Kings Men” won Best Picture; Joseph L. Mankiewicz won Best Director for “A Letter to Three Wives”; 

1967: Norman Jewison‘s “In the Heat of the Night” won Best Picture; Mike Nichols won Best Director for “The Graduate”; 

1972: Francis Ford Coppola‘s “The Godfather” won Best Picture; Bob Fosse won Best Director for “Cabaret” which set the record for most Oscars (8) without taking the top prize; 

1981: Hugh Hudson‘s “Chariots of Fire” won Best Picture; Warren Beatty won Best Director for “Reds”; 

1998: John Madden‘s “Shakespeare in Love” won Best Picture; Steven Spielberg won Best Director for “Saving Private Ryan”; 

2000: Ridley Scott‘s “Gladiator” won Best Picture; Steven Soderbergh won Best Director for “Traffic”; 

2002: Rob Marshall‘s “Chicago” won Best Picture; Roman Polanski won Best Director for “The Pianist”; and

2005: Paul Haggis‘ “Crash” won Best Picture; Ang Lee won Best Director for “Brokeback Mountain.”

Make your Oscars picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Picture winner using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Best predictions will win $1,000 prize. And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. See who’s in our current Top 24 and their early Oscar predictions. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict Oscar nominations this year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. Register/log in to your account so you can also compete to predict the Indie Spirits, Razzies, “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and more.

 

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