Best Director, 2004
(Click on the linked film titles for reviews of the corresponding films.)


Nominee
Clint Eastwood
Million Dollar Baby


5:2
Pluses

Won the Golden Globe despite The Aviator's victory in the Best Picture race. His reputation as an artist has slowly but surely matched his inviolable credibility as a star. Million Dollar Baby is probably not a movie anyone else could have directed, at least without turning it into outright schmaltz.
Minuses

Basically just that he's won before while Scorsese hasn't.
Taylor Hackford
Ray


50:1
His Mama will vote for him, if she's alive and an Academy member. So will Helen Mirren. That's two votes right there.
The other 6,000 or so members who won't consider voting for him, even for a sec.
Mike Leigh
Vera Drake


45:1
Brenda Blethyn will vote for him. For all I know, he has a good personality.
Don't make me say it.
Alexander Payne
Sideways


6:1
If Eastwood and Scorsese split the Grand Old Man vote, which conceivably could happen, Payne might be carried to victory by a groundswell of young turks and pinot lovers.
Eastwood and Scorsese could split the Grand Old Man vote and still wind up leagues ahead of the competition. Even the young turks want to work with those two more than they want to play a schlub in a Payne film (though that could change).
Martin Scorsese
The Aviator


2:1
Thirty years of plaudits since Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, the first of his films to enjoy a major brush with Oscar. Legions of Academy members who were inspired by Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to join these professions in the first place. The no-win streak. The most-nominated picture. Scorsese has never been as popular on the West Coast or in the industry as he is on the East Coast and in film-nerd circles, none of whom have a big lobby in the Academy.

WHO WILL WIN: It could easily tip to Eastwood, but I'm still going with Martin Scorsese.

WHO SHOULD WIN: I could easily go with Leigh, but I'm even more impressed by the alchemy worked by Clint Eastwood.

...AND WHO OUGHTA BEEN INVITED: If you've checked out my Best Picture page, you already know I'm ruing the absence of Michel Gondry and Joshua Marston for Eternal Sunshine and Maria Full of Grace, respectively. Among other directors who might have had a shot with the directors, I think Richard Linklater would have been a nice addition to the lineup.



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