Which pony is really ahead in the Oscar Best Picture race? "Silver Linings Playbook" took the lead in early September at the Toronto Film Festival, but now "Argo" is out front, according to the Oscarologists polled by Gold Derby. Meantime, many formidable dark horses loom still unseen, including "Les Miserables," "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Django Unchained."
'Tis time to track this race up close by powwowing with the experts. Here, in this video, I recruit the insights of HuffPo's gurus Michael Hogan and Christopher Rosen. You can see their Best Pic predix stacked up with other Oscarologists here and also view their predix in all categories by clicking these links: Hogan's predix, Rosen's rundown and mine.
Right now, Hogan and Rosen are betting on "Argo"; I'm riding "Les Miz."
"'Argo' has got a lot of different facets going for it," Rosen notes, citing "Ben Affleck's comeback as a narrative and being an actor-turned-director, which has worked in the past for actors like Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood."
"The movie is also a big wet kiss to Hollywood," Hogan adds, referring to its story line of moviemakers rescuing U.S. hostages from Iran. "It's full of gentle joking that flatters the community. He put together a movie that has a brain but also has a pulse."
I believe "Les Miserables" is out front because it's probably going to deliver the biggest emotional wallop of all top contenders, but beware: it's not going to be cool. Often that matters on the Oscar track where the winner needs a strong Rooting Factor. However, let's recall that there wasn't anything hip about "The King's Speech," which prevailed because of its strong emotional tug.
"It's a little early to say whether 'Les Miz' is going to be embarrassing or awesome or both," Hogan says. "I think 'Zero Dark Thirty' as a serious chance to come in and have a serious Cool Factor."
Ditto for "Django Unchained." Even suggesting the idea that it could win Best Picture whips Hogan into a tizzy: "I would love it if that happened!" Talk about rooting factor!
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Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.