Moreover, we need to look away from the acting awards. Our past and present work suggests that there is a correlation between highly valued screenplays and financially successful movies and that experienced directors can dramatically increase the rate of return on their film investment.
An interesting illustration is that in 40 years of Academy Awards (up to 2013), the director of all but one Best Picture winners ("Driving Miss Daisy") was nominated for an Oscar, and 83 percent of these nominated directors won. On the "dark side", 97 percent of the directors of the worst pictures were nominated for Razzies and 67 percent "won."
Similarly, screenwriting awards are also highly correlated with decorated films. So, if I were handicapping this year's awards, the most surprising Best Film win would be Mad Max, the only contender where the screenwriter is not nominated for an Oscar, or "Bridge of Spies," the only nominated film with no nod for the director. On the other hand, Steven Spielberg is Steven Spielberg so my vote for the most unlikely winner still goes to "Mad Max."
And for the film studio executives in the audience and at home,the scientific evidence is consistent: Ignore the Best Actor and Actress Awards. And tune out after the winner of the Best Director and Best Screenwriter are announced so you can immediately hire them for the next sequel.