The Best Picture Oscar is The Departed‘s to lose at this stage, most likely. Martin Scorsese has it in the bag for Best Director, and the certainty of this call will probably carry the film to Oscar victory. I think. A bit more than perhaps.
The Queen is admired and respected, but it has no headwind. (None that I can sense, at least.)
Dreamgirls will be nominated (I presume) but the little weasel nip-nippers won’t stop nip-nipping with their razor-sharp teeth…despite the fact that I’m okay with several portions of it, plus the fact that I’m hearing that suburban ticket-buyers are having a good time it and “getting their money’s worth,” etc.
Alfonso Cuaron‘s Children of Men is gaining ground — the notion that it may in fact be the Best Picture of the Year has actually caught on here and there — but it will never be nominated because of its overly-realistic (and therefore overly distur- bing) dystopian visions and how these are apparently affecting the Academy conservatives who voted to give Chicago the Best Picture Oscar. You know…that crowd.
Babel was big with the Golden Globers and ought to slip through — it damn well should in my book but that and $1.75 will get you a bus ticket.
Little Miss Sunshine is the only film that everyone loves without reservation, and may therefore be some kind of plucky Dark Horse.
The “too soon” emotional mules who won’t see United 93 may be heavily dug in…or not. (I strongly suspect that they are.)
Letters From Iwo Jima has been dying in its limited run so far, and it will probably continue to die when it expands, which will give those who don’t like its doomed-Japanese-solder gloominess and its all-caves, all-the-time milieu reason to back away.
The ace-level Pan’s Labyrinth, Volver and The Lives of Others — the latter is my choice for the second Best Picture of the Year — have been relegated to the Best Foreign Language Film category, World Trade Center has been out of the game for weeks; ditto Flags of Our Fathers.