January 19, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Hoping to become the newest Oscar bellwether, the American Film Institute weighed in last week with its first-ever roundup of top 10 films. Since the jury was made up of a dozen critics, scholars, and an odd mix of industry types (Hannibal writer Steven Zaillian and, curiously, ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith), the selections are eclectic. Read: no Chocolat or Cast Away. And that pesky word American ruled out Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (it earned a special mention). Here’s how we think AFI’s unranked picks factor into Oscar’s Best Picture race, from long shots to sure things.

ALMOST FAMOUS: Safe Bet
BEFORE NIGHT FALLS: (Maybe) Safe Bet
BEST IN SHOW: Not a Chance
ERIN BROCKOVICH: Safe Bet
GLADIATOR: Safe Bet
HIGH FIDELITY: Not a Chance
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM: Not Safe Enough
TRAFFIC: Safe Bet
YOU CAN COUNT ON ME: Safe Bet
WONDER BOYS: Could Go Either Way

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