After winning the Golden Globe, “Roma” helmer Alfonso Cuaron has solidified his hold on first place in the race for Best Director at the Oscars according to our 30 experts from major media outlets. He has the votes of 28 of these pundits. One expert opts for “BlacKkKlansman” writer/director Spike Lee while another is touting triple threat Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”).
But while Cuaron has leading odds of 16/5 to win Best Director, only five of our experts expect his memoir to take home the top Academy Award. Nineteen expect Cooper’s remake of the classic tale of Hollywood to be named Best Picture. Another four favor Peter Farrelly‘ charmer “Green Book” while two tout Yorgos Lanthimos‘s period piece “The Favourite” and one embraces Ryan Coogler‘s blockbuster “Black Panther.”
Before the academy reintroduced the preferential ballot for Best Picture in 2010, such divides between the two top Oscars were fairly rare. Now, they are the rule rather than the exception at the Academy Awards.
Indeed, the winners of Best Picture and Best Director have split at five of the last six Oscars. While Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”), Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“The Revenant”) and Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) all took home the Best Director Academy Award, their films lost the top prize to “Argo” (2013), “12 Years a Slave” (2014), “Spotlight” (2016) and “Moonlight” (2017) respectively. Inarritu did win for directing the 2015 Best Picture champ “Birdman” and Guillermo del Toro claimed both prizes last year for “The Shape of Water.”
Unlike all the other Oscar categories, which are decided by a popular vote, the winner of the Best Picture award is determined by a weighted ballot. Voters rank their choices from first to last, and if one nominee garners more than 50% of the first place vote, it automatically wins. If, however, no nominee can meet that threshold, the film with the fewest first place votes gets eliminated, with its ballot getting reapportioned to the second place choice. This process continues until one nominee reaches 50% plus one vote. The goal, says the academy, is to award the top Oscar to a consensus choice.
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 22.