My view of Ava DuVernay‘s Selma (i.e., a respectable mid-range historical drama but too slow and a bit too self-regarding) is, I recognize, a minority opinion. TheWrap critic James Rocchi recently called it “perhaps the best” American film of the year. Sure enough, the recently posted Gurus of Gold Best Picture chart shows Selma is now in the Best Picture conversation, but not all that strongly with a sixth-place ranking. Who are the friends, fence-sitters and not-so-friendlies regarding this Paramount release? Well, so far Selma‘s Guru heat is really all about three people — Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, Variety‘s Tim Gray and Rogertebert.com and USA Today contributor Susan Wloszczyna, who’ve given Selma their #2, #3 and #4 rankings, respectively.
Remove these three from the equation and Selma is coping with six less-than-ardent handicappers. Fandango‘s Dave Karger, known for his safe, middle-of-the-road, conservative-default predictions, has Selma ranked at #11 — not a good sign. MCN’s David Poland and critic Thelma Adams have it ranked in twelfth place, and Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, almost never an outlier, has it ranked as a #10. TheWrap‘s Steve Pond, a moderate fellow and almost an unofficial spokesperson for soft, slouchy, conservative-minded Academy members who are always on the proverbial hunt for “the one,” has it ranked in ninth place, and L.A. Times critic/reporter Mark Olsen has it in eighth place. Note: “The Gurus re-voted on Best Picture only after the screenings of Selma and American Sniper on Tuesday, 11/11/14. Five Gurus chose not to offer a re-vote: Hammond, Olsen, Pond, and Whipp.”