Four and a half months before anyone besides Glenn Whipp starts to even speculate about 2017 Best Picture candidates, Hollywood Elsewhere is projecting that the following nine films (also posted in the Oscar Balloon) are the most likely contenders, and in the following preferential order:

Kathryn Bigelow‘s Detroit, written by Mark Boal; Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics); Michael Gracey and Hugh Jackman‘s The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 12.25); Steven Spielberg‘s “Untitled Pentagon Papers’ Project” (Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks — 20th Century Fox, 12.22); Alexander Payne‘s Downsizing (Paramount, 12.22); Paul Thomas Anderson‘s semi-fictionalized biopic about legendary egomaniacal fashion designer Charles James; Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s The Current War (Weinstein Co., 12.22); Chris Nolan‘s Dunkirk (Warner Bros., 7.19); and Stephen Chbosky‘s Wonder (Lionsgate, 11.17).

Are there any hints of softness or uncertainty among any of these? Yes, but I’d rather not share at this stage. I only have hunches and what are those worth? Which of the above are all-but-guaranteed locks for Best Picture noms? Detroit, Call Me By Your Name, The Greatest Showman, Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers Project (a.k.a. The Post). Everything else feels a bit shaky in this or that way.

I don’t know if Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma, a Spanish-language drama set in 1970s Mexico City, will open later this year or not, but I hope it does. Cuaron is the man.

The following eight (8) films stand the best chance of moving in if some of the above fall out: Todd HaynesWonderstruck (Amazon); Dan Gilroy‘s Inner City (strong ethical-attorney drama on the page); Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘s Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight); Adam McKay‘s Untitled Dick Cheney Drama (Paramount — will it even be ready in time?); John Curran‘s Chappaquiddick (riveting, well-written Ted Kennedy takedown on the page); Martin McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight); and Ritesh Batra‘s Our Souls At Night (Robert Redford, Jane Fonda).