"Brooklyn" opens in limited release next Wednesday (Nov. 4) after wowing audiences and critics at a slew of film festivals. It debuted at Sundance in January, screened at both Toronto and New York in September and just won the People's Choice Award at the Vancouver film festival. And it is being distributed by Fox Searchlight which can boast of back-to-back Best Picture champs ("12 Years a Slave" in 2013 and "Birdman" last year).
Yet, of our 22 Oscar experts drawn from journalists at major media like Yahoo, Variety and USA Today who cover this beat year-round, only 14 are predicting it to be nominated for Best Picture and none of them have it winning this top prize. That level of support is only good enough for 10th place on our chart and translates into odds of 20/1.
But are we underestimating the Oscar potential of this feel-good film?
After all, as of this writing, the film has a jaw-dropping score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews assessed on a pass-fail scale (fresh or rotten). Over on Metacritic, which measures on a sliding scale, it has a score of 74. With no negative reviews to date, "Brooklyn" is obviously a crowd pleaser and could appeal to Oscar voters the way that "Midnight in Paris" and "An Education" did.
"Brooklyn" leading lady Saoirse Ronan is ranked fourth by our experts for Best Actress. She reaped a Supporting Actress bid back in 2004 for "Atonement." Since then she proven a strong possibility for her starring roles in "The Lovely Bones" and "Hanna" and a supporting turn in last year’s "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
Likewise, screenwriter Nick Hornby is in fifth place for his adaptation of Colm Toibin's 2009 best-seller of the same name. He contended in this category back in 2009 for "An Education," losing to Geoffrey Fletcher ("Precious"). Hornby was back in the mix last year for his adapation of Cheryl Strayed's autobiography "Wild."
Period pieces like "Brooklyn" often pick up steam in the below-the-line races where they can beef up their presence with nominations for the various precurso guild awards. "Brooklyn" can boast of detailed production and costume designs and could also be a factor for its lush cinematography.
With no other film from the other side of the pond ranked so highly, "Brooklyn" could follow in the path 2010 Best Picture champ "The King’s Speech" as well as 2013 nominee "Philomena" and both "The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything" last year.
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Photo: Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen in "Brookyn." Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures