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Best Director – Robert Altman, “Gosford Park”

Film: Gosford Park

Previous wins for role: best director, Golden Globe; director of the year, AFI; National Society of Film Critics

Previous Oscar wins/nominations:
Nominated for Best Director, Short Cuts (1994)
Nominated for Best Director, The Player (1993)
Nominated for Best Director (and producer for Best Picture), Nashville (1976)
Nominated for Best Director, M.A.S.H. (1971)

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Bio: When he’s good, he’s very, very good (M.A.S.H., Nashville, The Player)–and when he’s bad, he’s really quite awful (Dr. T and the Women, The Gingerbread Man). After 50 years of directing, he’s got to hit it sometime, right? After a decade of misses (the aforementioned, plus let’s not forget Cookie’s Fortune and the dreadful Kansas City) since 1992’s The Player, for which he should have won the Oscar, Altman finally has a hit on his hands.

Oscar odds: The Academy certainly likes to reward longevity, and at 77, with four previous nominations and no wins, Altman has a very, very good shot at winning this year. It’s pretty doubtful Gosford will grab the gold out from under Beautiful Mind, but it wouldn’t be the first time a Best Director’s picture didn’t win. Gosford Park snuck in under the radar–although the movie didn’t make a huge amount at theaters like The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring or A Beautiful Mind, the Academy may give Altman Best Director this time around to not only reward the movie but also his entire body of work. —Stacie Hougland

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