David Poland‘s 20 Weeks to Oscar column says “anything can happen,” meaning that it’s a totally wide-open Best Picture race. I don’t know anything either — who does at this point? — but c’mon….c’mon! It’s not a salad toss. It’s a definable universe and we all pretty much know what’s going on so why pretend otherwise?

Barring a cataclysmic rupture in the scheme of things, it’s going to be American Gangster (the spectacular ’70s grit, the tangy, rock-hard performances, the huge grosses), Atonement (the obligatory square-stately romantic drama entry with Vanessa Redgrave‘s killer ending), Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (the go-Sidney! vote — people rooting for a guy still firing away in his mid ’80s — will be all but unstoppable), There Will Be Blood (the presumption that it’s Anderson’s finest coupled with an epic, Giant-like, Citizen Kane-ish brush) and one other.

Elements of doubt are creeping into the Charlie Wilson’s War bandwagon, and No Country for Old Men — the finest, deepest, saddest and most cinematically awesome Coen Bros. movie of all time — may run into resistance from the squares because of the final ten minutes. The fifth contender ought to be (but of course won’t be ) Once, Things We Lost in the Fire, Zodiac or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I will totally keel over and pass out if The Diving Bell and the Butterfly nabs the fifth Best Picture nomination.