By Dave Karger
Updated February 26, 2011 at 02:00 PM EST

Each day leading up to Sunday’s 83rd Academy Awards, we are sharing Dave Karger’s Oscar picks in a major category, as well as his prediction of how the votes will break down (based on previous awards won and conversations with insiders and Academy members). Today, we have his pick for Best Director. Check back tomorrow for Best Picture, and click here for his predictions for Actor/Actress and Supporting Actor/Actress.

Image Credit: Valerie Macon/Getty Images) David Fincher (The Social Network)

The Academy has split the Best Picture and Best Director prizes three times in the past decade. Could it happen again this year? The King’s Speech is the clear front-runner for Best Picture, but as a relative newcomer, Tom Hooper isn’t a sure thing despite his Directors Guild victory. The race’s other first-time nominees, David O. Russell and Darren Aronofsky, probably need to build up their arsenals a bit more to have a real shot at the statuette, while Joel and Ethan Coen may have won too recently (for 2007’s No Country for Old Men) to repeat. So if there is a split, the beneficiary would likely be second-time nominee David Fincher, who’s got the requisite history to go the distance.

Vote percentage prediction:

David Fincher (The Social Network): 35 percent

Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech): 30 percent

Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit): 15 percent

Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan): 10 percent

David O. Russell (The Fighter): 10 percent

More Oscars:

Dave Karger’s Oscar picks for Best Actor/Actress

Dave Karger’s Oscar picks for Best Supporting Actress/Actor

Oscars: Who’ll win (and who should!)