Unlike my esteemed colleagues Mssrs Tapley and Ellwood over on the In Contention blog, I have not assiduously reported this race, so have no idea where the momentum is, what the tea leaves are saying.
However, having watched a few dozen of these, I have developed a few rules that can fit on a napkin. These will lead you to the winner every time.
These rules are based on the fact that this is THE ACADEMY, not the Spirit awards, not the editor's guild, not the Online Critics Association. This is a body of mostly elderly, people who have risen to the top of the entertainment field and were recognized for that fact 1 – 50 years ago. The film that wins is never, ever, ever actually the best movie of the year, so just get over that and stop pretending that has anything to do with it. It's about what an elderly, affluent, cloistered group of people feel is the best face to present their industry to the world.
Which, btw, isn't a terrible motive, and not a terrible institution to have.
Here then are my rules. Pundits, please take them, draw what conclusions you will and thank me later:
1. No film that is in any way ambiguous or confusing ever wins. It must be crystal clear what the point of the film is and what you are meant to think.
2. No film that has the slightest hint of controversy attached to it – deserved or undeserved – ever wins.
3. The film with the best Making Of story has a huge leg up.
3a. The best Making Of story is a comeback story.
4. The more daytime exterior shots the better.
There you have it. And so the winner will be….