I was happy to give MovieCityNews webmaster David Poland my top 15 picks for the Best Picture Field. I didn't have to rank them, and while I haven't seen most of them, I could certainly take a stab at where the For Your Consideration ads are likely to go. So now he's assembled a ranking of the Top 15 based on his 15 Gurus.
I am in perfect sync on the top six films. The first three earned 14 votes, the next five 13, :
1. 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight, one of several films dealing with race this season)
2. American Hustle (Sony/Annapurna)
3. Lee Daniels' The Butler (Weinstein Co.) (My review and roundup).
4. August: Osage County (Weinstein Co.)
5. Captain Phillips (Sony)
6. Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)
7. Then comes Disney co-production Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Hancock, which I left off not because I don't think it has an Oscar shot but because I feel the need to see it before I decide. I hear that Emma Thompson is a sure thing for Best Actress but that doesn't mean it's a Best Picture contender. (Here's more on the film.)
8. Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films). Here's our Cannes review.
9. Gravity (Warner Bros.) earned 12 votes.
10. I did not include Monuments Men (Sony) directed by George Clooney, because it could go either way as a delightfully commercial movie or serious Oscar contender or both. Again I need to see the film (11 votes).
11. I passed over Alexander Payne's Nebraska (Paramount) based on the Cannes reviews. Again I need to see the film (10 votes). But it feels like a Best Actor play for Cannes winner Bruce Dern.
12. Fruitvale Station is going all the way if Harvey Weinstein has any say in it. (Here's my Q & A with director Ryan Coogler.) (10 votes.)
13. As for Jason Reitman's Labor Day (Paramount), just because I love his films doesn't mean the Academy will (see "Young Adult"). Kate Winslet is an Oscar perennial. I'll check it out. (10 votes.)
14. Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics). Bennett Miller delivered with "Capote" as well as "Moneyball." Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo? I'm in. (More details here.) (8 votes.)