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?
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.