"12 Years a Slave" just pulled ahead of "American Hustle" in the Oscars Best Picture race, according to 18 leading Oscarologists polled by Gold Derby. Nine pundits now pick it to prevail compared to seven for "American Hustle" and two for "The Wolf of Wall Street." See the experts' full rankings here, how their combined views translate into racetrack odds and how their lead horses track on our charts.
Just three days ago when 15 pundits piped in, "American Hustle" led with six votes compared to three for "The Wolf of Wall Street," two for "12 Years a Slave," one for "Nebraska" and one for "August: Osage County." "American Hustle" has led Gold Derby's survey since it began in late August even though it is still unseen. "12 Years a Slave" and "August: Osage County" were viewed this past week at the Toronto International Film Festival where "Slave" and "Gravity" emerged as bona-fide hits. Two weeks ago, "Gravity" ranked 10th by Gold Derby's Oscarologists, but now it's leapt up to fourth place.
It's no surprise that war movies have done so well at the Oscars. They provide everything a voter would want to see for range, impact, and empathy: heroism, toughness, surprise, suffering, and death.
The most recent Best Picture winner to start this gallery is "The Hurt Locker" (2009), which defeated "Avatar," "The Blind Side," "District 9," "An Education," "Inglourious Basterds," "Precious," "A Serious Man," "Up," and "Up in the Air." Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the film was about a three-man bomb disposal team in the Iraq War. It prevailed at the Oscars in six out of nine categories (Picture, Director, Film Editing, Original Screenplay, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing). It lost Actor (Jeremy Renner), Cinematography, and Original Score.