Early Best Picture Predictions: Invictus & Hurt Locker Lead

October 30, 2009
Source: LA Times

The Hurt Locker

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?

Find more posts: Awards, Discuss, Opinions



Another vote for Hurt Locker, one of the most extraordinary, most refreshing war films I have ever seen... in my life. Katrhyn Bigelow who also made the trend-setting, genre-bending Near Dark & Point Break should be privately funded to make more movies.

greg on Oct 30, 2009


There is no way to way to even venture a guess without having seen Avatar or Invictus, which both look amazing. I no longer trust the Oscars after Dark Knight wasn't even nominated for best picture last year. It is a travesty that the movie the most people saw and enjoyed, that included the best individual performance of year, and recieved widespread critical acclaim wasn't even deserving of a nomination.

Peter on Oct 30, 2009


too bad all those good movies are going to be up against Michael Jackson: This Is It, which will make history by being the first documentary to ever win Best Picture. Amazing.

Melissa on Oct 30, 2009


Alex, it is really stupid to post an article about Oscar predictions. ESPECIALLY SINCE HALF THE MOVIES AREN'T EVEN OUT YET! Why not wait at least until the 2010? I am not blaming you for the Oscar idiots for predicting movies that nobody has seen, but posting an article that brings attention to it is just stupid. This is It is NOT going to win Best Picture; that is completely absurd. How are people so stupid?

branden on Oct 30, 2009


The Hurt Locker is the most overrated movie of the year. There was no character development, no story...just couple of US soldiers blowing things up. Some cool action scenes, but overall just plain boring. For sure does not deserve a Best Picture nomination, even if there are 10 slots this year.

one on Oct 30, 2009


what #4 said

Bladerunner 2 on Oct 30, 2009


Exactly what #4 and#5 said.

Filmfan1111 on Oct 30, 2009


i havent seen that many movies this yr, but of the 1's i've seen, they were quite good. hurt locker being one of them. i dunno about a nom. but can u at least give me 10 movies deserving of that this yr?

lego on Oct 30, 2009


Rob Marshall took best picture in 2002 with Chicago with only Richard Gere and Rene Zellweger and so far the trailer for Nine looks better than Chicago. So far the only huge difference is that instead of having Gere and Zellwegger, this movie has Daniel-Day Lewis, Marion Cotillard, and Penelope Cruz thats my vote

Colin on Oct 30, 2009


if i had a vote: District 9, Hurt Locker, Star Trek, Basterds, Up would be my sure things so far for nominations. Bronson would not but I'd give Hardy a best actor vote with Waltz getting my best supporting Actor vote (if not best Actor). I'm not looking forward to seeing Freeman win best actor for portraying Mandela. Watching the trailer he's basically playing the role the same as he played Red, Somerset, the moor in Robin Hood, etc. While I enjoy him, its the same mannerisms/tone, etc every time.

stillwellangel on Oct 30, 2009


Ive said it a million times, Star Trek sucked. Shove it's Best Picture Oscar up your ass. Inglorious Bastards all the way

Chris on Oct 30, 2009


Yeah, ok. I'm sure Invictus will be good, and I'm sure Freeman and Damon will do good jobs. And i'm sure Clint Eastwood will do a good job. But really? I feel like just because a movie has Eastwood's name stamped on it people automatically assume it's incredible! And as for UP... I personally t startehated it. Id off so strong, but it lost me once the ridiculous villain with his army of smart, dog slaves that can talk came in. First of all.. he was the old man's childhood hero... HE SHOULD BE DEAD, he's too old to still be living!!! Second of all, he survives living in the wild for all those years and some how manages to train these dogs and build machines that can translate their thoughts into english?? Seriously? I know it's an animated movie, and I know that the premise is that an old man floats away with balloons on top of his house, but that's all I can take. I felt like the dogs were a sort of Dues Ex Machina, just thrown in out of the sky to serve the writers purpose. UP WAS STUPID. Not a classic. I want to see movies like The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (because Terry Gilliam's movies are beautiful and yet always unnoticed by the academy) and Inglorious Basterds and Bronson and MOON!!!! And if we're opening the range of movies being nominated (like some of you are saying Star Trek should get one) then lets open it up to stuff like Shutter Island! I don't know... I feel like people don't have minds of their own! They just follow what other people are saying is a good movie (or rather a movie good enough for an oscar nom) and automatically believe it is! I know a lot of the movies I mentioned haven't even come out yet, but I can imagine them being better then some of the crap I'm hearing. Make up your own feelings towards films! MY Ten (in no particular order): Inglorious Basterds Avatar Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Shutter Island Invictus Hurt Locker The Lovely Bones (looks amazing) Up in the Air Precious (definitely) Moon

Dude on Oct 30, 2009


TYPO *And as for UP... I personally hated it. It started off so strong, but it lost me....* I dunno what i did but I HATE it when that happens.

Dude on Oct 30, 2009


inglourious basterds so far, there's still a lot to come though

dan on Oct 30, 2009


I've heard great things about Precious but i'll never, ever watch it because I can't stand 10 seconds of Monique in my face let alone 2 hours of her.

stillwellangel on Oct 30, 2009


#12 is another idiot. You have seen less than 5 minutes of half the movies on your list and Shutter Island doesn't come out til January...n00b

branden on Oct 30, 2009


1. District 9, though it won't win because of the body count alone, and it's sci-fi. 2. Moon, Sam Motherf---ing Rockwell Star Trek was okay. Up had horrid pacing, and the great tone set by the opening was destroyed by the Juvenile comedy of the rest of the movie. Inglorious Basterds was destroyed by shitty editing and two many Taratino signatures that got in the way of a film that could have been amazing.

shadow on Oct 30, 2009


#15 "I know a lot of the movies I mentioned haven't even come out yet, but I can imagine them being better then some of the crap I'm hearing." Go fuck yourself.

Dude on Oct 30, 2009


I have a sinking feeling that "Watchmen" might get a nod. True, it wasn't universially loved (and I thought it was only ok) but it might be selected by the Acadamy only as a consoldation for not nominating The Dark Knight. It isn't fair, and it may not happen, but you can't trust the acadamy. No to Star Trek, but yes to District 9!

Ajax on Oct 30, 2009


Well if we were to account for the awsomeness per million dollars it would be a district 9 all the way, I think that movie should win something (maybe FX although FX against avatar...) just because of how unique it was. So far its my favorite movie I will add that I do think (in terms of oscar) the hurt locker is over-rated, it was a solid movie which I thorougly enjoyed but I don't think it should win an oscar for best picture I am still hoping avatar will blow everyone away

Janny on Oct 30, 2009


basterds and district 9

sam on Oct 30, 2009


my ten picks (so far) the hurt locker up state of play inglorious bastards where the wild things are star trek amelia the soloist coraline my sisters keeper

rowdy on Oct 30, 2009


I've been saying it for a while and it will be true, while I do think marketing will give Avatar good numbers, it will be less than expected. The general public has no idea what the heck Avatar is. The nerds and their friends can only make up for a small percentage of box office numbers. That and just putting Cameron's name and his movies in the trailers will help it, but the general public sees the trailer and is like "wtf are those freakin blue things?"

branden on Oct 30, 2009


#4 suck it! Hurt Locker for best picture!

LINKFX on Oct 30, 2009


Fuck the Oscars and fuck the people that vote in the Oscars. To paraphrase the late great George Carlin, it's just one big fucking stroke fest.

S on Oct 30, 2009


i'm sorry #3 you are retarded if you think that has the SLIGHTEST shot at the best picture oscar. I don't think it can even be nominated.

#3isanidiot on Oct 30, 2009


Moon has to get a nomination as it is one of the best films to have come out this year. Do not know why it has not been mentioned. Basterds is the same old Nazi comedy crap that has been done SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many times. YAWNSVILLE! Avatar? Who knows. Can people really accept the CG thing as real human emotions? I don't think so.

Have Hope on Oct 30, 2009


There are still movies to come out so far, but Hurt Locker would get my vote from the movies I've seen so far. I wouldn't mind Inglorious Basterds winning either, but I think Hurt Locker deserves it more. District 9 was a great sci-fi movie, but I don't know about it being best picture. I haven't seen Moon yet, but REALLY want to.

Brad on Oct 30, 2009


I gave up on the Oscars after Shakespere In Love won over Saving Private Ryan. Yes, there was a movie called Shakespere in Love and it won best picture.

Hattori Hanzo on Oct 30, 2009


The Oscars are LAME, but The Hurt Locker is still THE best movie I've seen up to this point. Best Actor = Sam Rockwell (Moon) Best Actress = Tilda Swinton (Julia)

Golgo 13 on Oct 30, 2009


The hurt locker was so overrated! I think americans get too much carried away by their emotions while evaluating this kind of movies. Just because this is the best movie ever made about the Iraq war doesnt make it a good war movie. I remember united 93 being very well received when in fact the movie was not that great and was almost identical to a documentary realesed before it. The story on Hurt Locker had not much substance. Not counting the fact that, in my opinion, the movie had lots of flaws concerning the military service (not that i know much about it). Do 3 soldiers walk alone in Iraq defusing bombs, really? And many more just like that (that i wont say because of spoilers). I think the movie was shot like a documentary of the lifes of those men, but it was a very boring one. And alex, saying a movie will win the best pic oscar just cause you've seen the trailer, really?! What kind of film "expert" does this? I just don't get it when you say things like that... 🙁

Ricardo on Oct 31, 2009


#32 - It's the same way all of those other critics made their prediction. Based on what I know about the movie, and the trailer looking great, I've just got that feeling. It's not like I'm saying it'll win for sure, I'm just saying from the trailer, it looks great. How is it so hard to determine what you think of a movie and if it looks good or bad from a trailer? That's what every does every day of their life!

Alex Billington on Oct 31, 2009


Green- zone shutters Island A christmas carol Invictus K20 legend of the mask Avitar Transformers Revenge of the fallen the Road (this film will be a sleeper) pixars up the lovely Bones District 9 But more than ever those who pick the oscar nominees will pick somthing that is political and not somthing that put bums on seats.

Cineprog on Oct 31, 2009


Nine is going to win. The cast is amazing, Rob Marshall is great with musicals (Chicago), Anthony Minghella wrote the reader and the English patient , and Its what it's based on is already critically acclaimed. If not Danial Day-Lewis will win best actor. That man is too good.

PJ H on Oct 31, 2009


Oh and @34 'Transformers Revenge of the fallen' You have to be kidding me.

PJ H on Oct 31, 2009


What about Leaves of Grass? Tim Blake Nelson and Ed Norton could up and surprise us all, don't you think?

AAA on Oct 31, 2009


The Hurt Locker?? I checked it out a few months back after reading about all the hype and let me tell you, it's vastly overrated. Renner gives a good performance but overall the movie is very poorly cast. Felt like there was not enough weight behind the support characters for it to take off the entire time. I would rate the movie overall a 6/10.

Rod Tidwell on Nov 2, 2009

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