I just filled out my projected Top Ten Best Picture list for the Envelope Buzzmeter chart Most seem to be following an equation that includes six or seven Best Picture contenders with serious chops (Up In The Air, Invictus, An Education, A Serious Man, etc.) along with three or four slummers, which is to say films that exude a certain crowd-pleasing popcorn aroma (Avatar, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, Up).

I’m going right now with Up In The Air, The Hurt Locker, Invictus, An Education, Nine, A Serious Man, Precious, A Single Man, Avatar and Inglourious Basterds — eight real contenders and two slummers. What really matters, of course, is whether a potential Best Picture nominee has a Best Director nomination to fortify it. This is what people will be seriously weighing when push comes to shove.

Right now my Best Director projections are based only on films I’ve seen, to wit: Jason Reitman (Up In The Air), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Lone Scherfig (An Education), Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man) and Tom Ford (A Single Man).

I’ve seen Precious, Up and Inglourious Basterds, of course, but it still shakes down as a temporary no-go for Lee Daniels, Peter Jackson, Pete Docter, Quentin Tarantino and James Cameron…for now. If and when it appears that Invictus has the right stuff then maybe Clint Eastwood will step in and bump Ford…maybe. Or the Coen brothers…I haven’t decided yet.