Deadline‘s Pete Hammond likes to wait until mid-November to start picking his Best Picture Oscar faves (i.e., most likely to win). So I was excited yesterday when I saw he’d finally posted a 2013 Best Picture handicap piece. My pulse quickened when I read his observation that 2013 has been a high-quality year…yeah. And that the leaders of the pack right now are Gravity, 12 Years A Slave and Captain Phillips. And that the last two not-yet-seen contenders, American Hustle (which screens in Los Angeles this evening) and Wolf of Wall Street, could re-order the situation. He also said that the recent tendency to give Best Picture Oscars to softball audience movies (The King’s Speech, The Artist, Argo) over critical favorites could help mainstream feel-gooders like Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the Weinstein Co.’s Philomena or Paramount’s Nebraska (which could turn out to be, Hammond believes, “the little engine that could for Paramount”). I’m not saying Hammond is wrong about this stuff, but I was hoping he’d stick his neck out like Variety‘s Tim Gray recently did when he declared that Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor is looking like a big Best Picture breakout. Or something like that.