The recent decision of former Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers to include Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester by the Sea on his list of the ten greatest 21st century films has greatly impressed Sasha Stone. Because this suggests a serious headwind for a Best Picture Oscar, or so she suspects. “Travers, Joe Morgenstern and Kenneth Turan are really your best critics in terms of sussing out what Academy voters might value,’ Stone explains. “With The Birth of a Nation mostly sidelined, can Manchester by the Sea become the first Sundance opener to win Best Picture? We’ve seen Cannes openers deliver winners (The Artist, No Country for Old Men), Toronto (The Hurt Locker) and Telluride (Spotlight, Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire) but so far, nothing from Sundance. Boyhood looked like it might be that movie. The Birth of a Nation looked like it might be that movie.”