With five months remaining in 2010, it may be folly to reserve a spot on the Best Picture Oscar ballot for Christopher Nolan's 'Inception.' But let's say it came to me in a dream; this multi-genre blockbuster is in, and may go all the way.

True, there are at least three dozen movies with Oscar potential yet to be seen, among them films by such admired directors as Terrence Malick, David Fincher, James L. Brooks, Peter Weir, Robert Redford, the Coen brothers and the always-peaking Clint Eastwood. But it will be a bigger Oscar surprise than an Ashton Kutcher nomination if there are 10 better movies coming than 'Inception,' or -- to acknowledge the film's small but vocal core of critics -- 10 with better reasons for Academy members to vote for them.

Like James Cameron's 'Avatar' a year ago, 'Inception' is a money-making spectacle that is priming the pump at the sagging multiplex, getting people back in the mood to spend their hoarded leisure bucks on movies. Unlike 'Avatar,' it is not the brainchild of an insufferable egotist. But a brainchild it literally is.
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