Early Best Picture Predictions: Invictus & Hurt Locker Lead
I know we've still got a good two months left in the year and most of the heavy-hitting films haven't even been seen by anyone yet, but it's never too early to talk about the Oscars. Over the past week, Tom O'Neil of the LA Times' Gold Derby blog polled some 16 Oscar pundits and film critics to get an early pulse on what they think are top contenders right now for Best Picture. Those polled include well-known film critics like Erik Davis, Pete Hammond, Peter Travers, Jeff Wells, and Susan Wloszczyna. And the list of their top picks might not exactly be what you're expecting. Or maybe it is? Read on for their picks and to tell us your own!
The two films that are leading the race, according to these 16 people, are Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker and Clint Eastwood's Invictus. Both of those films got a nod from all 16 people - and I completely agree with them. I wouldn't be surprised to see both of those films at least get a nomination, especially considering we've got 10 slots to fill this year. Falling in closely behind is Lee Daniels' Precious, which I thought was going to be the Best Picture winner until the Invictus trailer hit, and Jason Reitman's Up int he Air, which seems to be getting good industry buzz (and will get audience buzz once it hits theaters).
Other notable top films include Pixar's Up, with 14 people picking it, as well as Rob Marshall's Nine and Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, which haven't been shown to anyone yet, so most of those votes are blind (for the time being). Negative buzz be damned, as James Cameron's Avatar got 10 votes, primarily because the story is looking better after the new trailer and just because it's James Cameron, who last took home 11 Oscars for Titanic in 1997. Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and John Hillcoat's The Road are on their too, but not that high up. There's also the Coen Brothers' A Serious Man to throw in.
A couple of people threw J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and Neill Blomkamp's District 9 into the mix, which I'll be quietly rooting for, but I'm not holding my breath. It's better to consider those two once we know what the entire playing field looks like in January. So although earlier this year many were saying it's a weak year, after looking at these top picks, I'm actually excited to see what happens with this year's Academy Awards. If you want to take a closer look at the 16 people and their predictions, head over to the LA Times. And in the meantime, it's time to check our own Oscar pulse. What are your top picks for Best Picture so far?