Nobody knows what Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken has in its quiver and nobody should say anything until they do…period. And yet the spitball games continue. For whatever reason (most likely the instinct to show obeisance before power) Jolie’s World War II-era survival saga has been enjoying a kind of speculative semi-front-runner status. Not king of the mountain-y but roughly on par with the Best Picture prospects of Boyhood, The Imitation Game and Birdman…all at the front of the pack.

At the very least Unbroken has seemed like one of the top hotties since Tom O’Neil‘s Gold Derby and David Poland‘s “Gurus of Gold” began asking Oscar-watchers for their hunches and guesses just before Telluride/Toronto. That’s been the general impression, I mean.

Which is why I was surprised to discover a couple of days ago that in the latest Guru chart Unbroken is now ranked seventh…even though it’s still ranked as the #2 favorite at Gold Derby. Seventh is almost indistinguishable from ninth, and if you’re going to be in ninth place you might as well be in tenth. Yes, it’s all hot air and bullshit, I know. But I was curious about who the actual friends of Unbroken are at this stage. And I was wondering how to explain the disparity between being a #2 choice vs. being seventh-ranked.

Guru-wise the only spitballer who has believes it’s the ultimate Best Picture fave is Fandango‘s Dave Karger. Susan Wloszczyna has Unbroken as a #2 choice and L.A. Times staffer Mark Olsen and Thelma Adams have it ranked as a #3 pick.

Gold Derby‘s friends-of-Unbroken are more numerous. The #1 pickers are GD’s Tom O’Neil and Paul Sheehan, Fox News’ Tariq Khan and Coming Soon‘s Ed Douglas. The GD handicappers who’ve ranked it second are Wloszczyna, Variety‘s Jenelle Riley, columnist Michael Musto and Rotten TomatoesMatt Atchity, Entertainment Weekly‘s Thom Geier and Hollywood Reporter award-columnist Scott Feinberg.

That’s a lot of love for an unseen film but that’s the power of Brad-and-Angie and the urge to kowtow to a big-studio prestige flick that’ll probably appeal to the Academy’s lowest common denominator.

“This is what Oscar pundits do,” a friend wrote the the other day when the subject came up. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Unbroken attracted high expectations. WWII movie. Heroic lead character. Written by or co-written by the Coen brothers. Shot by Roger Deakins. The only snag is that Jolie is not experienced.” Aaah, but she is in a sense! In The Land of Blood and Honey is/was a very impressive directorial debut.

All I’ve heard gossip-wise is that there have been issues with Unbroken‘s length or more particularly in getting the heavily-invested Angie (“I feel such a huge responsibility to get it right, because I love [Louis] Zamperini so much, and because he’s helped me so much in my life”) to agree to trim this or that. I’m told that Unbroken is somewhere around 2 hours and 20 minutes as things now stand. But it’s all hot air until the film is screened. Over and out.