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There's an old joke in Hollywood that says some film directors are nothing more than traffic cops. But this year, there's one Traffic director who may just put the cuffs on a fellow named Oscar.

In times past, the Hollywood spotlight shone only on its big stars. Everyone knew who Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy were, but few people, if any, knew the names of any of the creative people behind the camera. But in today's media-fascinated world, fame now belongs not just to stars like Julia Roberts, Michael Douglas and Sylvester Stallone. Directors and producers like Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and Ridley Scott are also getting their share of public attention.

Steven Soderbergh, the director of Erin Brockovich and Traffic, is the latest to join this list of prominent film makers. Soderbergh has been nominated for the best director Oscar and best director Golden Globe for both films. At the Golden Globes, he lost to Ang Lee, who won for the magnificent Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. What does astrology say about Soderbergh’s chances for picking up an Oscar?

Capricorns Hate Phonies

Astrology Horoscope: Steven SoderberghSoderbergh was born January 14, 1963 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a Capricorn. This is the sign known for ambition and integrity. A person with the Sun in Capricorn usually has a strong drive to succeed. But that success is usually won by lots of hard work and effort, not by getting a lucky break. Capricorn integrity is demonstrated by an unswerving devotion to the truth. Capricorn writer J.D. Salinger, for example, wrote Catcher in the Rye, whose protagonist Holden Caulfield spends much of the book despising "phonies."

This trait comes through strongly in the themes Soderbergh tends to work with in his films. His first hit, Sex, Lies and Videotape, was a serious attempt to probe beneath the false exterior layers of human relationships in order to get at the truth of what really occurs between people. His Capricorn tendency to view life in a realistic way was evident even at the age of fifteen, when he made his first short film, a story about a janitor.

Soderbergh's film The Limey is another example of Capricorn archetypes at work. Terrence Stamp plays an old British gangster, a truly tough customer who comes up against a crew of Hollywood bad guys who just think they're tough. The contrast between the real and the phony is the source of much of the enjoyment the film provides. Similarly, Erin Brockovich tells the story of one person's dedication to exposing the levels of hypocrisy and greed of corporate environmental polluters.

Soderbergh also has the Moon, his emotional self, in fastidious, service-oriented Virgo, adding even more of the work ethic to his personality. So while his Capricorn Sun has the drive to succeed, he is not afraid to put muscle and sweat behind his ambition. The Virgo side of his character is also probably why he prefers to work on "smaller" films, rather than big budget extravaganzas, like Gladiator. Virgo likes detail and subtlety.

A Film Maker with a Message

Soderbergh’s chart contains an interesting formation—a t-square formed by philosophical Jupiter opposing (180 degrees) powerful Pluto, both in square (90 degrees) to value-oriented Venus. The Jupiter-Pluto opposition denotes an individual with strong opinions, a crusader perhaps, who may seek to impose his view on others. Soderbergh is a director who wants to make sure we get the message.

In Soderbergh's case, the opposition is softened by its outlet to Venus, the planet of tact, charm and diplomacy. Venus also finds expression through the arts. Make no mistake about it, Soderbergh is serious about filmmaking. He has said he's "been trying to carve out half in, half out of the mainstream ideas for genre films made with some amount of care and intelligence and humor." He may concede to popular tastes and current trends in order to keep his career alive, but his ultimate purpose is to make us confront the truth about ourselves and our world.

Nowhere is this purpose more prevalent than in the current box office hit Traffic, which depicts the futility and frustration experienced by dedicated law enforcement agents waging the war on drugs. The film details the vast levels of corruption that exist in government and business which make winning the drug war next to impossible.

And the Winner Is…

When the Oscar statues are handed out on March 25, what are Soderbergh's chances of winning best director? He faces stiff competition, most likely from Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Ridley Scott for Gladiator.

Looking at the planetary lineup for Oscar night, we see a New Moon in Aries in a favorable 120-degree trine aspect to Soderbergh's Venus, good for his self-worth, and for raising his value in the eyes of everyone connected with movies.

Neptune will be transiting conjunct his Mercury, planet of communication, and Saturn, planet of rules and structure, in Aquarius. Neptune is all about making movies, and also ties into the drug theme of Traffic. Soderbergh may experience the cloud-nine, dream-come-true feeling Neptune is so well known for on Oscar night.

Transiting Jupiter in Gemini will oppose his Venus in Sagittarius, another possible indication of success and reward, since Jupiter tends to make everything it touches bigger, and Venus is associated with value.

Finally, transiting Mercury will be exactly conjunct the director's Jupiter in Pisces, which indicates notification (Mercury) of success (Jupiter). To me this means that whoever opens the envelope that night will read what's written inside and announce, "And the winner for best director is Steven Soderbergh."



John M. Whalen is freelance writer, astrologer, and editor of a business publication based in Washington, D.C. He writes about film, TV, music and travel for various magazines and newspapers. He contributed a chapter on the life and films of director Sam Peckinpah to the new book, The Astrology of Film: The Interface of Movies, Myth, and Archetype.

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For more information about John Whalen, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by John Whalen:

  • Astro-Zen   3/10/2012
  • Astro-Zen   9/10/2004
  • Polarized Politics   8/20/2004
  • Saturn and the Vanquishing of Illusion   11/3/2003
  • The Grand Illusion   1/9/2003
  • Two Degrees of Scorpio   10/10/2002
  • Venus Elements   2/14/2002
  • Timothy McVeigh: The Day of Judgment   5/9/2001
  • Kevin Spacey: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma   4/9/2001
  • Keanu Reeves' Excellent Adventure   3/8/2001
  • The Christmas Eclipse: Bringing Your Heart's Desire   12/25/2000
  • Robert DeNiro: Master of Form and Essence   11/18/2000
  • Sylvester Stallone: A Fallen Star, Rising Again?   10/28/2000
  • Yasser, Ehud, Can We Talk?   8/31/2000
  • Alec Guinness: Reluctant Jedi   8/19/2000
  • Human Genetics: O Brave New World!   8/16/2000
  • Survivor: Candid Camera Runs Amok   7/8/2000
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Shaft for the New Millennium   7/1/2000
  • Jackie Chan: Fearless Aries with the Comic Touch   6/23/2000

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