Where is this year's Best Picture surprise?
Over the last several years we’ve seen a handful of unexpected Oscar contenders: Out-of-nowhere film festival entries (Slumdog Millionaire, Juno), hastily planned late-year releases (The Reader), and whatever Clint Eastwood decides to put out at the last minute (Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima). But now that the Venice/Telluride/Toronto trilogy has ended and October is nearing, I’m wondering if this Oscar season will be shocker-free. Right now it certainly looks like the 10 Best Picture nominees will simply consist of summer successes like Up and The Hurt Locker, festival hits like Precious and Up in the Air, and holiday awards bait like The Lovely Bones, Invictus, and Nine. So is there still a chance for a bona fide left-field contender? And if so, what is it? A comedy like Nancy Meyers’ boomer love triangle It’s Complicated? Something family-friendly along the lines of Where the Wild Things Are or The Fantastic Mr. Fox? The mysterious Terrence Malick drama The Tree of Life? Or something we don’t know about at all? Surprise me, OscarWatchers—I need the jolt.