Top ten best picture Oscar contenders

Cheers, fellas! "Argo" is at the top of the heap this Oscar season.

It’s never too early to start thinking about the Oscars. September marks the beginning of the season in which most of the contenders are released and we’ve already seen some strong candidates for the win. Metro Hollywood’s Ned Ehrbar selects the films he thinks will top every Academy member’s list this year.

1. “Argo”

At this point, Ben Affleck’s true-life CIA rescue thriller is pretty much a lock for a Best Picture nomination — and the odds-on favorite to win. The subject matter is Hollywood-friendly, poking fun at the industry while also making it heroic, and its continued box office success means it’s also a popular favorite.

2. “The Master”

A likely nominee but a long-shot to win, P.T. Anderson’s drama suffers less from any uproar over its Scientology subtext — turns out there was no outrage — than it does from it generally leaving audiences cold. It’s still a work of art, but one that won’t break through with more crowd-pleasing competition.

3. “Life of Pi”

Ang Lee’s ambitious, 3-D behemoth is a bit of a question mark, but it   will probably earn a nomination for sheer artistry. Whether audiences connect with its shipwrecked hero and animal companions, though, is yet to be seen. It could just as easily find itself facing the same uphill battle as…

4. “Cloud Atlas”

A big, messy, ambitious film that’s guaranteed not to win Best Picture but deserves at least to be nominated, “Cloud Atlas” — which has so far divided critics and left audiences cold — will likely pick up a good share of technical nominations but miss winning in any of the name-brand categories, a proud tradition carried on by “Inception” in 2011 and “Hugo” in 2012.

5. “Les Miserables”

If it’s about crowd-pleasing, this may give “Argo” its stiffest competition. It’s got a rousing, power-to-the-people story, an all-star cast led by Hugh Jackman, “The King’s Speech” director Tom Hooper and famous, tear-jerking songs. Yes, we hear the people sing.

6. “Lincoln”

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Tony Kushner. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. It’s almost as if “Lincoln” was built in an Oscar Bait lab. Of course, that’s how Spielberg’s “War Horse” appeared last year until people actually saw it. The difference is that “Lincoln” is actually good, and Day-Lewis is a lock for a Best Actor nod.

7. “The Impossible”

Depending how audiences respond, this true-life survival tale could also be tough competition for “Argo.” It’s equal parts harrowing and uplifting, with a standout performance by Naomi Watts and a chilling recreation of the 2004 Tsunami. Already a runaway success in the director’s native Spain, we’ll see if Americans flip for it as well.

8. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

While this gorgeous indie about New Orleans bayou dwellers battling a hurricane is expected to sweep the Film Independent Spirit Awards, it’s a bit more of a long-shot for an Oscar nod — but a deserving one. Maybe the devastation of super-storm Sandy will boost its relevance.

9. “Silver Linings Playbook”

This one has also been earning raves at festivals for director David O. Russell (“The Fighter”) and actors Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper (as a man with a mental condition) and Jennifer Lawrence (as the woman who helps him), who has a lot of Best Actress heat building around her.

10. “Skyfall”

A Bond film as a Best Picture nominee? If ever there was a chance, it’s with this one. And after all, the Best Picture category was expanded specifically to make room for smartly made action films like this. It’s a shame “The Dark Knight Rises” didn’t live up to its predecessor, or it might be on the list instead.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

Local

East Village woman fights off rape attempt from…

An East Village woman fought off an attempted rapist that she woke to find standing on her bed over the weekend, police said.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

Movies

Slideshow: Check out Johnny Depp looking weird through…

Johnny Depp says he looks like himself in "Transcendence." He usually doesn't. Here's a slideshow of his weirder faces.

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

NHL

Islanders back to rebuilding mode after disappointing season

One season after qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, the Islanders finished 2013-14 with a 34-37-11 record.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.