Last night I was having drinks with a Manhattan film critic who told me that he was putting both Zodiac and Black Book on his end of year list, no matter what the establishment thought of their awards chances. I was very happy about the latter, since I'm sure that it's one of the best films of the year, and although I didn't see Zodiac until recently, I also feel that it would be absurd if that film loses a slot in awards consideration to lesser (and later released) films like American Gangster or Enchanted. The Academy is, of course, notorious about forgetting what came in the January -- April period of the year, but sometimes they can surprise you, especially in a weak year for Best Picture like this one is. (Aside from No Country for Old Men and Atonement, what other sure bets for a Best Picture nomination are there?) Zodiac in particular seems to be catching some late momentum -- today Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere has released his top ten list and declares Zodiac to be the best of the year. I doubt he really thinks that, but putting it at the top spot may succeeded in the true goal -- getting it noticed.

When we take a look at The Envelope's Buzz meter -- the most comprehensive awards buzz calculator known to man -- we see very few early year contenders, except for Julie Christie forAway from Her. In fact, every movie on The Envelope's Best Picture slate is a movie I've seen in the last few weeks, except for Atonement, which I caught at a festival. A great film like Black Book isn't even a blip on The Envelope's horizon at this point. What early 2007 films do you think are being overlooked?