Oscarologists split between directors Spielberg and Payne

Gold Derby Oscarologists are evenly split between Alexander Payne (“The Descendants“) and Steven Spielberg (“War Horse“) in the Oscar race for Best Director. Spielberg has better odds (9-to-5) than Payne (14-to-5) because of greater support among our editors and users.


Nine of Gold Derby’s Experts are behind Payne, including Thelma Adams (Thelmadams.com), Kyle Buchanan (Vulture), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Chuck Walton (Fandango), Susan Wloszcyna (USA Today), and Gold Derby editor Paul Sheehan.

Another nine have Spielberg at the front of the pack, including Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Kevin Lewin (WENN), Matt McDaniel (Yahoo Movies), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), S.T. VanAirsdale (Movieline), and Gold Derby editor Tom O’Neil. The Experts’ complete Best Director predictions can be viewed here.

Both Payne and Spielberg are former Oscar champions. Payne won for his “Sideways” (2004) screenplay and was nominated for his direction. Spielberg won for directing “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). Another two-time directing champ — Clint Eastwood (“Unforgiven,” 1992; “Million Dollar Baby,” 2004) — may not have the backing of any experts or editors but he is a close second behind Spielberg for his helming of “J. Edgar” according to our users. 

If either Spielberg or Eastwood were to win again, he would be the only modern day director to have three Oscars. During Hollywood’s golden age, John Ford won the category four times while William Wyler and Frank Capra each won three. 

Gold Derby Editors are also split with Rob Licuria touting Payne while Chris Beachum and Andrew Pickett select Spielberg. Daniel Montgomery has Michael Hazanavicius (“The Artist“) in the lead, as does expert Guy Lodge (In Contention). The editors’ full predictions can be seen here.

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Expert Scott Manz (Access Hollywood) and Gold Derby editor Adam Waldowski both believe Stephen Daldry will win for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Daldry has the highest batting average in this category in Oscar history as he has been nominated for each of his first three films — “Billy Elliot” (2000), “The Hours” (2002) and “The Reader” (2008).

The full breakdown of Experts, Editors, and Users predictions can be found here.

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