Oscar pundits set the field before festival madness begins

Posted by · 2:33 pm · August 22nd, 2013

Ah, it’s that time of year again. Do you feel it in the air? Pundits from coast to coast have been roughly awoken from their off-season slumber to groggily begin walking the long, tedious road to Oscar. There will be amazing moments of euphoria, oceans of tears, rivers of laughter, shocking upsets and devious betrayals, but eventually the Academy gods will come down from Mount Olympus (really, it’s right around the corner from Hollywood) and proclaim who is truly worthy of their golden gifts.

That magical night is still a little less than, cough, seven, cough, months away. In the meantime, we have the first look at a consensus field from the ever prestigious…

Gurus of Gold.

Yes, we’re back again. Ringleader David Poland, Kristopher Tapley, Anne Thompson, Pete Hammond, Mark Harris, Sasha Stone and myself, among others, combine our years of knowledge as we predict the players months before the first For Your Consideration ad has even run. And for the first edition before the annual trifecta of awards-friendly festivals begin we’ve voted on the top 15 films we think are major contenders. Some of the results — which can be found in their entirety here — are quite telling.

– Not one film received a vote from every single pundit.

– Only three films received votes from 14 of the 15 Gurus. Those films are “12 Years A Slave,” “American Hustle” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

– Both myself and Glenn Whipp of the LA Times were the only prognosticators not to vote for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

– Early expected awards season player “Before Midnight” only received five of 15 votes.

– Tapley and I disagree on “Wall Street” and “Blue Jasmine” respectively.

Most importantly, however, is the simple fact this list could look radically different by the time the Toronto International Film Festival ends on Sept. 15. How many pundits got it right beforehand? Well, we’re certainly not going to keep track, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

What surprised you about the Gurus’ contenders list? What should be more prominent and what should be less? Share your thoughts below.

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