“Tell me you haven’t predicted Best Picture status for The Battle of the Sexes,” I texted a friend this morning. “Or called it the leading Best Picture contender out of Telluride. 

“It’s an acceptable, good-enough film with five or six good scenes. But it’s no more than that, or certainly not in the view of the Telluride chattering class. It’s fine as far as it goes and sufficient for what it tries to do, but nobody I spoke to last weekend was over the moon about it, and a few were underwhelmed.”

The person I texted replied that she hadn’t called The Battle of the Sexes the leading Best Picture candidate out of Telluride, and only that it could (as opposed to would or should) win the Best Picture Oscar. 

Trust me, that’s a very flimsy possibility.

In the HE realm the definite contenders right now are Dunkirk, Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name, probably The Post and possibly Darkest Hour

As acceptable and moderately satisfying as The Battle of the Sexes is, it doesn’t begin to possess those X-factor attributes that often or usually propel a film into Best Picture contention.

And you can probably forget The Shape of Water also. I’m starting to think that the raves out of Venice are going to gradually subside and that more level-headed voices (i.e., fewer fanboys) will start to dominate the conversation. The great Sally Hawkins will almost certainly land a Best Actress nomination, but the film…well, we’ll see.

Other Best Picture potentials: Mudbound, Phantom Thread, Roman Israel, Esq., The Big Sick. Not happening: Downsizing, Wonder Woman, Wonderstruck, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.