After Hurt Locker wins with the PGA, DGA, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA, NSFC, NYFCC, LAFCA, ACE, GIFA, and IPA plus a co-leading nine AMPAS nods including vital ones for directing, acting, screenwriting, and editing, “we can now say with more than a fair degree of certainty that we know which film will win the top Oscar,” writes And The Winner Is columnist Scott Feinberg.

“Sure, arguments can be made for other films (and both studios and pundits are making them), and upsets can happen (you don’t have to remind me). But the fact of the matter is this: the raw data (precursor awards) and anecdotal evidence (conversations with actual voters) have rarely, if ever, given the same indication as clearly and consistently as they have this year: The Hurt Locker will win the 2009 Best Picture Oscar. Believe it — It’s true.”

Notes on Season‘s Pete Hammond half concurs, but he also says “not so fast, Sherlock.”

“The Academy’s new list of 10 best picture nominees, rather than five at BAFTA, plus the unknown effect of the preferential voting system (which BAFTA does not use) make it more difficult to gauge the influence of some of these precursor awards, save for PGA, which used the new Academy system this year. Of course we should remember Locker won a shocker of a win there too.

Plus Mark Boal‘s WGA win “was done without key Oscar nominees Inglourious Basterds and Up (both ruled ineligible by the WGA) as competition, so Boal was a lead pipe cinch to win there. He’s in a much tighter race for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar with Quentin Tarantino. But it should be noted that both Up and Basterds were against him at BAFTA where he had another victory for his script.

“Before either the WGA or BAFTA awards, I spoke to a producer and former studio head who told me he very much understands the psychology of Oscar voting. He predicted Hurt Locker would go all the way at the Oscars and said he voted for Carey Mulligan for Actress. I also keep hearing from others who say they are voting for Avatar, but as the above-noted producer points out, the ‘cumulative’ factor of a series of pre-Oscar wins can be a powerful aphrodesiac for Academy voters.”

The Wrap‘s Steve Pond adds this to the conversation:

Avatar is the reason the Oscar show will see its ratings increase dramatically, and Academy voters know that. Which makes Avatar the film that could possibly, conceivably throw the usual rules out the window and grab a win that hasn’t been indicated at any of the significant precursor awards.

I don’t believe it will. I look at all the other awards and see unmistakable indications that the people who decide these things think that The Hurt Locker is the best picture of the year.

“I think The Hurt Locker will win. I think it deserves to win. And I think that win will be extraordinarily popular within the Kodak Theater in two weeks. But over? Even after the events of the weekend, I can’t go there. Not yet, anyway.”