Last year’s Gravity, and Life of Pi the year before, have flipped-flopped the traditional way Best Picture and Best Director have split. When I stood with Steve Pond in the tent at the Spirit Awards the day before the Oscars and I was trying to convince him why I had changed my mind about Gravity winning Best Director and 12 Years a Slave winning Best Picture he was continuing the line of thinking that made the most sense: the uplifting crowdpleaser wins Best Picture and the film that is more artistically daring wins Best Director. This has been the case throughout Oscar history when looking at the split vote.
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