Earlier this afternoon I recorded a 39-minute chat with Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet about the likeliest-seeming Best Picture contenders as of now. Early summer Best Picture projections are purely about spitballing, of course, but after that they’re about (a) recognizing possibly profound thematic elements that certain films appear to contain (or at least might contain), and also (b) what appear to be emotionally crowd-pleasing elements that will probably resonate with not-very-hip Academy members. Here’s the mp3.

Nobody really knows anything at this stage, but right now I’m having trouble understanding the presumed inevitability of Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken. As Spencer Tracy said at the end of Judgment in Nuremberg, “You’re going to have to explain that one to me. You’re going to have to explain it very carefully.”

At this juncture I would call myself a Birdman man — Birdman, Interstellar, Wild, Gone Girl, A Very Violent Year and Selma. Or something like that.

Brevet’s spitballs are as follows: 1. Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken; 2. Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher; 3. Jean Marc Vallee‘s Wild; 4. Stephen Daldry‘s Trash; 5. J.C. Chandor‘s A Most Violent Year; 6. Ava Duvernay‘s Selma; 7. Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood; 8. Chris Nolan‘s Interstellar; and 9. Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel.

My Best Picture speculations (in this order): 1. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman; 2. Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar; 3. J.C. Chandor‘s A Very Violent Year; 4. David Fincher‘s Gone Girl; 5. Ava Duvernay‘s Selma, 6. Jean Marc Vallee‘s Wild; 7. Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken.

Maybes/Possibles/Who Knows?: Jeff NicholsMidnight Special, Tim Burton‘s Big Eyes, Saul DibbsSuite Francaise, Sarah Gavron‘s Suffragette (Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep), Noah Baumbach‘s While We’re Young, Stephen Daldry‘s Trash.

Somewhat Less Likely: Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice (PTA doesn’t make Oscar-friendly films), Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings, Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher (seen & praised at Cannes but very dour and darkish), Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood (total Spirit Awards contender), Craig Johnson‘s The Skeleton Twins, Damien Chazelle‘s Whiplash.