"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.
The nine experts who predict "Slave" will rule as master on Oscar night: Thelma Adams (Yahoo), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Michael Musto (Gawker, Out.com), Kevin Polowy (NextMovie), Steve Pond (TheWrap), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood/ Indiewire), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere).
The seven Oscar seers picking "American Hustle": Edward Douglas (Comingsoon), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Alex Suskind (Moviefone), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone).
Current racetrack odds: "12 Years a Slave" (9/2), "American Hustle" (11/2), "Wolf of Wall Street" (9/1), "Gravity" (10/1). See more.
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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.
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.