Countdown to the Academy Awards: Who will get the Oscar for Best Director? (With Poll)



NOMINEES: Avatar — James Cameron, The Hurt Locker — Kathryn Bigelow, Inglourious Basterds — Quentin Tarantino, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire — Lee Daniels and Up in the Air — Jason Reitman.

VEGAS ODDS: The bookies have Bigelow as the favorite, but ex-husband James Cameron (3-1) is uncomfortably breathing down her neck. Vegas sees this as a two-way race, with Tarantino (23-1) well behind, and Daniels and Reitman (both 80-1) beyond long-shots.

WHO WILL WIN: Kathryn Bigelow for her terrific work on The Hurt Locker. We can have an debate about who really deserves the award, with James Cameron partisans arguing their director made the actual groundbreaking movie in Avatar. Two things about Cameron: 1. The last time he won Best Director, for 1999's Titanic, he made what is remembered as one of Oscar's all-time most-egotastic speeches, leaving the Academy reluctant to put the self-proclaimed "King of the World" back on its biggest stage. 2. Cameron and Bigelow used to be married, and the idea that Academy voters are going to send Kathryn Bigelow home empty-handed while awarding her renowned prick ex-husband a golden statue is simply too much for my brain to handle. And while we're talking numbers, here's a few more for you: 82: Number of years the Oscars have been handed out. 0: Number of times a woman has won Best Director. That streak ends Sunday.

POSSIBLE DARK HORSE: Then again, Academy voters have gone all 82 years without electing a woman Best Director. Maybe there really is rampant misogyny in Hollywood, in which case Cameron takes it.

Your turn. Why do you think will win Best Director?

[poll id="79"]

Check back tomorrow for my breakdown of the race for Best Picture.

A Note on the Vegas Odds: I have no idea how to read the odds at the link provided when it comes to the front-runners. If someone else can figure it out, please explain it to me in the comments section.

[Programming Note: The 82nd Annual Academy Awards telecast is this Sun., March 7 at 8 p.m. and Movies & TV Editor Joe Bardi will be live-blogging the event. Come share your thoughts and help Joe celebrate the movies by mercilessly picking on people much more famous and good-looking than he is.]

Yesterday I covered the race for Best Actor in a Lead Role, picking Crazy Heart's Jeff Bridges as the likely winner. (Check out the full list of Oscar hopefuls here.) Today, we turn our attention to the one category where some history could be made. Which auteur is about to cast Oscar in a lead role in their next opus? Check out my breakdown of the race after the break, and then vote for your favorite in our online poll.

And the nominees are:

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