Which pony is really ahead in the Oscar Best Picture race? Silver Linings Playbook took the lead in early September at the Toronto Film Festival, but now Argo is out front, according to the Oscarologists polled by Gold Derby. Meantime, many formidable dark horses loom still unseen, including Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained.
'Tis time to track this race up close by powwowing with the experts. Here, in this video, I recruit the insights of HuffPost's gurus Michael Hogan and Christopher Rosen. You can see their Best Picture predictions stacked up with other Oscarologists here and also view their predictions in all categories by clicking these links: Hogan's predictions, Rosen's rundown and mine. Read their latest Gold Rush rant here.
Right now, Hogan and Rosen are betting on Argo; I'm riding Les Miz.
"Argo has got a lot of different facets going for it," Rosen notes, citing "Ben Affleck's comeback as a narrative and being an actor-turned-director, which has worked in the past for actors like Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood."
"The movie is also a big wet kiss to Hollywood," Hogan adds, referring to its story line of moviemakers rescuing U.S. hostages from Iran. "It's full of gentle joking that flatters the community. He put together a movie that has a brain but also has a pulse."
I believe Les Miserables is out front because it's probably going to deliver the biggest emotional wallop of all top contenders, but beware: it's not going to be cool. Often that matters on the Oscar track where the winner needs a strong Rooting Factor. However, let's recall that there wasn't anything hip about The King's Speech, which prevailed because of its strong emotional tug.
"It's a little early to say whether Les Miz is going to be embarrassing or awesome or both," Hogan says. "I think Zero Dark Thirty has a serious chance to come in and have a serious Cool Factor."
Ditto for Django Unchained. Even suggesting the idea that it could win Best Picture whips Hogan into a tizzy: "I would love it if that happened!" Talk about Rooting Factor!
UPDATE: The video is experiencing some technical difficulties. Please stand by.
Photos: Argo (Warner Bros.), Django Unchained (Weinstein Co.), Les Miserables (Universal)