In any ordinary year, I wouldn’t be bringing this up so soon. I wouldn’t bring it up for a couple of reasons. The first is that you never want the film you think is the best film of the year to be called the frontrunner. That kills its chances almost immediately. When people stop referring to it as the best film of the year and instead start calling in “the frontrunner” it deflates, ever so slightly.
Nonetheless, the excitement is palpable. Roger Ebert called it “the film of the year,” adding “so far” in his latest tweet and NPR’s Bob Mondello closed his review this way:
Oh, and it’s one that sends you out of the theater buzzing, breathless and eager to tell all of your friends, and friends of friends, that you’ve just seen what might end up being the best picture of the year.
So why then am I now asking about whether it can win or not? Simply because there is a whole cluster of muggles (people who don’t follow the minutiae of the Oscar race) who keep asking the question. Also, Tom O’Neil addressed something of this sort on Gold Derby, wondering whether or not the Academy members wouldn’t get the film, or wouldn’t respond to it.
The responses to that piece are here.
As always with Oscar, the first question you ask is “can it win?” And the answer is, of course, sure it can. The next question is, will it win? And that question can’t be answered until all of the films have been released – that means, mainly, True Grit and The Fighter.