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Oscar PowerGrid Face-Off: Steven Spielberg vs. Benh Zeitlin

The competition for Best Director is a toss up between a beloved Hollywood director and a directorial newcomer as the Oscar race comes to a close. 

Steven Spielberg, Hollywood's most powerful director, and Benh Zeitlin, the young talent, are in the final stretch of the Oscar race for Best Director. Both are contending for the coveted title at the Oscars on Sunday, Spielberg for his historical “Lincoln,” and Zeitlin for the fantasy-drama, “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” 

While they share the nominated category, their status on the Hollywood landscape is far apart according to TheWrap's PowerGrid, which measures the most successful people and projects in the movie industry.

Spielberg, the veteran talent, is the top director on the PowerGrid, coming in with a PowerScore of 98.32. Zeitlin, who was nominated for his very first movie, comes in significantly lower at 176 with a PowerScore of 60.32. (Click on the live widget below to get full details.)

Why the discrepancy? Spielberg has a lengthy filmography, with numerous movies that were blockbuster successes at the box office. "Lincoln" was nominated for 12 Oscars, and has a global box office of $236 million. Spielberg has previously won 3 Oscars, a key factor in the algorithm. The PowerScore favors movies made in the last five years. 

Zeitlin, just 30, has only made one feature film. But he has a relatively high score compared to other directors since this film has been strongly profitable (it cost less than $2 million, and has an 85.30 PowerScore), and he has been nominated this year for two Oscars.

For comparison sake, here are the PowerScores for the rest of the Best Director nominees. Click on each to see their detail pages:

David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook" — 91.98
Ang Lee, "Life of Pi" — 81.46
Michael Haneke, "Amour" — 73.47

Industry insiders and statistician Scott Benecke developed The PowerScore algorithm, which factors in Academy Award nominations and wins, along with the commercial success of each director's movies. 

The PowerScore fluctuates in real time as data is input to the ItsontheGrid database. Therefore, a win at this year’s Oscars for Zeitlin could boost his rank as soon as Sunday evening.

Also read: Oscar PowerGrid Face-off: Jessica Chastain vs. Jennifer Lawrence

The PowerGrid also ranks movie projects, actors, producers and screenwriters.

Refresh your browser during the Oscars to see whose PowerScore goes up and whose goes down.