You have to know how to read Scott Feinberg‘s regularly updated Hollywood Reporter articles about Oscar spitball guesses. Yes, they reflect his “best attempt to predict the behavior of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and not his personal preferences,” but they also reflect a mid-fall decision that many handicappers make — i.e., it’s easer to insincerely approve of certain mediocre contenders because it’s early yet (not even Halloween!) and why not shrug our shoulders and go with the flow?

Feinberg’s Best Picture Frontrunners:

King Richard (Warner Bros., 11/19, trailer) / HE says: Almost certainly fated to win the Oscar.
Belfast (Focus, 11/12, trailer)
The Power of the Dog (Netflix. 11/17, trailer) / HE says: Will be nominated but that’s all.
A Hero (Amazon) / Excellent film, but belongs in Best Int’l Feature category.
C’mon, C’mon (A24, 11/19, trailer) / HE says “tech categories, otherwise not a chance.”
The Hand of God (Netflix, 12/3, trailer) /
CODA (Apple, 8/13, trailer) / Crowd-pleasing, sitcom-level, calm down.
The Harder They Fall (Netflix, 11/3, trailer) / Why?
Summer of Soul (Searchlight, 7/2, trailer) / a found footage documentary, doesn’t count.

In The Realm of Feinberg-Speak, “Possibilities” means “unlikely but who knows?”

Flee (Neon/Participant, TBD, trailer) / NC
Titane (Neon, TBD, trailer) /
Parallel Mothers (Sony Classics, 12/24, trailer) / HE says “utterly brilliant Pedro, his best in years!”
The Lost Daughter (Netflix, 12/31, TBD)
Spencer (Neon/Topic, 11/5, trailer)

In The Realm of Feinberg-Speak, “Longer Shots” means “dead in the water

The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24/Apple, 12/25, trailer)
Cyrano (MGM/UA, 12/31, TBD)….wrong! Beautifully made, wonderfully acted by Peter Dinklage!
Tick, Tick…Boom! (Netflix, TBD, trailer)
Red Rocket (A24, 12/3, trailer)…grim silence after it played in Telluride’s Galaxy theatre.
The Green Knight (A24, 5/29, trailer)…one of HE’s worst endurance tests of the year….even worse than Dune in this respect.