Yes, the Academy Awards are giving us ten Best Picture nominees this year. But there are only five available. Let's be honest here and lock up Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious and Up In The Air for nominations. I suppose, if nothing else, we can thank the Academy for making the guessers sweat a little bit. The Best Picture race would be all but sewn up already while prognosticators wonder if Precious will be replaced on Feb. 2 with one of any number of surprises. Not this year. Oscar ballots were due yesterday, so every nomination and victory from here on out just feeds the numbers game. Let us take a closer look at the ten films still duking it out for the next five slots though. (Editor's Note: The AMPAS polls actually close on Jan. 23.)

Crazy Heart
One of four films on this list to not receive a Best Picture nomination from either the Broadcast "Film Critics" Association, the Golden Globes, the Chicago Film Critics Association or one from the SAG Ensemble category, this is a chink in the armor to Crazy Heart's chances. It makes the list for recently pulling in some notices for something other than Jeff Bridges' performance and the score by Stephen Bruton & T-Bone Burnett. Scott Cooper's screenplay has received nods from both the Writer's Guild and the USC Scripters (which honors adaptations.) In the last ten years there have been five films that have equated this singular feat - High Fidelity (2000), Wonder Boys (2000), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), A History of Violence (2005) and Zodiac (2007) - and I think we can see what those films also have in common. No Best Picture nod. 2000's Chocolat did manage a Best Picture nod after getting WGA & Scripter noms (and failing with the Producers' & Directors' Guilds) but it also received nominations from the Globes and the SAG Ensemble - something Crazy Heart cannot boast.

Best Picture chances: 10%
categories Oscars, Awards, Cinematical