Best Picture 1982 Oscar

Oscars 2014: What Are the Odds of a Best Picture-Best Director Split?

best director picture splitFox Searchlight/Getty

The 85-year history of the Academy Awards is rife with statistical oddities, and one that has the potential to play out this Sunday is among the most intriguing: a split between the films that win Best Picture and Best Director.

Though conventional wisdom has long held that only one film will walk away with both prizes on Oscar night, many pundits are predicting that the awards will instead go to two different movies this year, with "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron expected to snag the Best Director statuette, while "12 Years a Slave" (or ", " depending on where your loyalties lie) is the favorite to win Best Picture.

While such a split has occurred just 22 times since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started handing out trophies in 1929, four of the first five ceremonies produced a divide between the Best Director and Best Picture prizes. "Wings, " dubbed the original Best Picture at the very first Academy Awards ceremony, didn't even receive a Best Director nomination for helmer William Wellman; instead, the trophy went to Frank Borzage for his film "Seventh Heaven." (In 2013, Ben Affleck would become the fourth director in Oscar history to be snubbed by the Best Director category only to see his film go on to win the big prize.)

And while we're on the subject of the inaugural Oscars, that year holds the distinction of honoring not just one, but two directors whose films didn't win the big prize. That was the first and last time the Best Director award was split in two: one trophy for Dramatic Direction, the other for Comedy Direction. Borzage is remembered as the sole Best Director winner that year because his movie landed on the Dramatic side, and the Comedy prize was scrapped for the following year's ceremony. But 1929 Best Comedy Direction winner Lewis Milestone ("Two Arabian Nights") would make up for that history book oversight by claiming the sole Best Director prize in November 1930 for - which, naturally, also won Best Picture.

All told, it's obviously far more common for Best Picture and Best Director to go to the same film, with splits happening just under 26 percent of the time throughout Oscar history. But, merits of each film aside, this year's predicted "12 Years a Slave"-"Gravity" split actually has a decent chance of happening when considering past patterns. History shows that the splits seem to come in bunches - including seven times during the Oscars's first decade of existence, and five times in the past 15 years - making the likelihood that we'll see one Sunday that much better.

As these 22 anomalies prove, anything can happen on Sunday night, when the ceremony could mark yet another idiosyncratic notch in Oscar's belt. Below, we recount every Director-Picture split from the past 85 years, with extended commentary for the most notable. All dates are the year the Academy Awards ceremony was held.

1929
Best Picture: "Wings"
Best Director: Frank Borzage, "Seventh Heaven"
"Wings" director William Wellman was not nominated for Best Director, one of only four times that the eventual Best Picture winner's director was not a nominee himself.

1930
Best Picture:
Best Director: Frank Lloyd, (beats director Harry Beaumont)
was not nominated for Best Picture, marking the only time in Academy Awards history that the eventual Best Director winner went to a non-Best Picture nominee. (Sadly, 1929's Best Comedy Direction winner Lewis Milestone, whose film "Two Arabian Nights" was also shunned from that year's Best Picture category, doesn't technically share this milestone statistic, since his category was eliminated after the first Oscar ceremony.)

1931
Best Picture: "Cimarron"
Best Director: Norman Taurog, (beats "Cimarron" director Wesley Ruggles)

1932
Best Picture:
Best Director: Frank Borzage, "Bad Girl"
director Edmund Goulding was not nominated, one of only four times the eventual Best Picture winner's director was not a nominee.

1936
Best Picture:
Best Director:, "The Informer" (beats director Frank Lloyd)
This was the first Best Director win for, who'd go on to win the prize three more times. Only one of his wins coincided with the eventual Best Picture winner: 1942's ", " which famously edged out "."

1937
Best Picture: "The Great Ziefeld"
Best Director: Frank Capra, (beats "Ziefeld" director Robert Z. Leonard)

1938
Best Picture:
Best Director: Leo McCarey, "The Awful Truth" (beats "Emile Zola" director William Dieterle)

1941
Best Picture:
Best Director: John Ford, "The Grapes of Wrath" (beats director Alfred Hitchcock)
Hitchcock was nominated for Best Director five times, but never won. He picked up an honorary Oscar, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, in 1968.

1949
Best Picture:
Best Director:, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (beats director )

1950
Best Picture: "All the Kings Men"
Best Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, (beats "Kings" director Robert Rossen)

1952
Best Picture: "An American in Paris"
Best Director: George Stevens, (beats director Vincente Minnelli)

1953
Best Picture:
Best Director: John Ford, (beats "Greatest Show" director Cecil B. DeMille)
This was Ford's fourth Best Director win - a record that still holds today - and his third win that split with the eventual Best Picture winner.

1957
Best Picture:
Best Director: George Stevens, "Giant" (beats "Days" director Michael Anderson)

1968
Best Picture:
Best Director: Mike Nichols, (beats director Norman Jewison)

1973
Best Picture:
Best Director: Bob Fosse, (beats "Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola)
set the record as the movie to win the most Oscars - eight - without also winning Best Picture.

1982
Best Picture:
Best Director:, (beats "Chariots" director Hugh Hudson)

1990
Best Picture:
Best Director:, "Born on the Fourth of July"
director Bruce Beresford was not nominated for Best Director, one of only four times in Academy history that the eventual Best Picture winner's director was not a nominee, and the first time it happened since the 1930s.

1999
Best Picture:
Best Director: Steven Spielberg, (beats "Shakespeare" director )
One of the most controversial splits of the modern Oscar era, "Shakespeare"'s Weinstein-fueled win over the critically favored still inspires heated debate to this day.

2001

1982 Topps #472 Oscar Gamble NEW YORK YANKEES
Collectibles ()
  • BACKSPACE TO ADD MORE TO YOUR CART :)
  • 1s of items in our store!
  • We Ship Worldwide!
  • Order more within one cart and SAVE more!
  • Check out our current FREE shipping promotion ;-)
You might also like
Warren Beatty ‪Wins Best Directing: 1982 Oscars
Warren Beatty ‪Wins Best Directing: 1982 Oscars
Bette Midler / Oscars 1982 / Presents Best Song / Complete
Bette Midler / Oscars 1982 / Presents Best Song / Complete
Related Posts