Gold Derby now has Les Miserables back in the lead. The pundits who are now predicting it to win include: Pete Hammond (Deadline), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Ed Douglas (ComingSoon), Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere) and it looks like Dave Karger, too, might be swayed to throw his vote that way. Kris Tapley is already on record predicting not just a Best Picture win but a sweep, with the potential for a record amount of nominations. It will enter the race with 12 nominations, according to Tapley and others.

The holdouts, at least for now, include myself, Anne Thompson, Steve Pond and Scott Feinberg.  But who knows how that might change. Tom Hooper would have to win the DGA and Les Mis would have to win the SAG ensemble and then the PGA.

It’s a risky proposition to predict a film to win without the critics having rung in, though I feel like I’m the last person in the world who even pays attention to critics. Many are saying it won’t matter, that the raves will pour in. If true, this will mark the first year I can remember where a movie came in late, didn’t get any reviews and took the lead in the Oscar race. Does that mean the critics no longer matter?

There are a few tidbits offered up, which I’ve taken from Broadway World:

Mike Ryan, Huffington Post: I will say, as a complete novice to the world of Les Miz (I’ve decided to go with Les Miz, by the way), I thought the film was wonderful and found myself momentarily confused only a handful of times. (This is arguably my fault for being easily confusable.) My personal favorite movie this year is still Argo, but after seeing Les Miz, my gut is telling me that it will beat both Argo and Lincoln for Best Picture. And the talk you may or may not have heard about Anne Hathaway being a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actress as Fantine is true. (Though, again, not knowing anything about Les Miz, I was honestly shocked by how little she is in this movie.)

Tom O’Neil, Gold Derby: Reviews are embargoed until Dec. 11 so it’s tricky to discuss the film, but here goes. The audience flipped for it. It’s (nearly) everything that “Les Miz” nuts hoped for. Eddie Redmayne is the big surprise. His performance wows and, yikes, who knew he could sing like that? Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter try to steal the film — and the contents of every pocket in 19th-century Paris. But Carter can’t win. Anne Hathawayhas Best Supporting Actress in the bag and Hugh Jackman poses a serious threat to Daniel Day-Lewis’ dominion over Best Actor.

It wouldn’t be the first time a musical beat harder hitting, deeper and more relevant fare, but it would be the third year in a row that a European director beat all of the American nominees, and though it’s supposed to be about French people, the characters are speak in British accents, so who’s to say if it’s a British or French movie? Even still, it would kind of end a Euro invasion triple header — The King’s Speech, The Artist and Les Miserables.

It would go down in history beating Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, all great American directors telling American stories. Funny, that.

Meanwhile, The Wrap’s Steve Pond put up a piece about Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables screenings. He is fair minded, I think, about Les Mis, writing:

I’m not convinced that it’s the instant Best Picture frontrunner that some have proclaimed: Much of the film left me cold, as musicals often do. But even well-regarded musicals often leave Academy voters cold, too: witness the 2006 Broadway adaptation “Dreamgirls,” which was considered a Best Picture shoo-in before Oscar voters unexpectedly left it out of the picture, director and lead-acting categories.

“Les Miz” will certainly have enough passionate adherents to give it a truckload of nominations, and probably enough to make it the year’s most-nominated film – and Anne Hathaway might want to start clearing a spot for the Best Supporting Actress trophy that her searing rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” will probably win her.

But for now, particularly given the consensus a movie has to assemble in the final round of voting, I can’t call it the favorite to win.