The time for David O. Russell‘s Joy (20th Century Fox, 12.25) draws nigh. A flurry of press screenings will begin next Wednesday, and there are two showings for the Academy/guild crowd this weekend. It’s obviously presumptuous to talk Best Picture odds, but right now it’s still Spotlight on top with The Revenant having dropped a notch or two, basically because it’s the new 12 Years A Slave. (David Poland: “My personal take is that The Revenant will not resonate much with Academy voters…others disagree.”) If Joy turns out to be a heavy hitter it’ll be a Spotlight-vs.-Joy thing all through December, January and February. I’m persuaded that The Hateful Eight won’t seriously compete, and that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be a huge financial hit. If there’s a Best Picture sleeper out there it’s Creed, but there’s another formulaic entertainment (i.e., The Martian) in Best Picture contention already — the only Creed contenders that seriously pop are Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor and composer Ludwig Goransson.