Think about it a second: the film that the experts agree has the best odds is The Artist -- a black and white, French silent film that was a hit at Cannes! When's the last time you read the words "French" and "Oscar" in the same sentence other than on a Lunchables? In any other year, that would be the long shot, even with Generalissimo Weinstein damning the torpedoes. There are also more head-to-head races than ever this year. Who gets Best Actor: Brad Pitt for making baseball sexy or George Clooney for making himself unsexy? Or how about Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer for coming out of the closet in Beginners or Albert Brooks for dumping a body back in it in Drive? Even if it seems that an artful crowd-pleaser like The Artist must win Best Picture, you can't ignore the meaty honesty of Alexander Payne's The Descendants, or the fact that The Help was one of the most talked about and profitable dramas in a while. In fact, with prestigious Pixar's subpar Cars 2 competing against Gore Verbinski's imaginative Rango, even the snooze-fest that is Best Animated Feature is up for grabs. In fact, thanks to the new Oscar voting rules, we don't even know how many pictures will get nominated for Best Picture -- it could be anywhere between five and ten. Academy members, like hyperactive kindergartners, need structure. I wouldn't be surprised if they just filled in their nomination ballots with the last ten films in their Netflix queues. Deprive them of any trace of herd-mentality groupthink, and they'll be looking at anything for a clue. And like the rest of us, even they want to see Ricky Gervais stick their frenemies' feet over the fire Sunday. So they will be watching the Globes. And in between all the uncomfortable laughter and awkward silences, they might actually start making up their minds.
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