1. Silver Linings Playbook
This film is just OWNING it. After winning the top prize at TIFF, this film is just getting nothing but love. J. Law is a lock for Best Actress, with The Hunger Games not hurting a single bit.
Runner-up at TIFF. 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert calling it his winner. Ben Affleck needing the love after missing it by this much for The Town. This just begs a nomination, even a win.
Who knows with this one. It's got Spielberg and Day-Lewis. Also, the Academy just eats up period-dramas, with Anna Karenina losing its chances, this film has nowhere to go but up.
4. Life of Pi
This will be the Hugo of 2011. Big name director. High visual effects praise. High praise in general actually. This could be #3 tomorrow for all I know.
5. Les Miserables
Has near-irresistible cast. I think Universal should emphasize the Tom Hooper thing a bit more. The main thing holding this bad boy back is the release day change. Is it ready?
6. The Master
Not everyone loves this movie, that's a bonafide fact. But a select few love it, and that's enough. This will play out like The Tree of Life did.
7. Beasts of the Southern Wild
This will really need the people who love this film to truly love it. Now that it has been deemed ineligible for SAG, it needs the AFI and PGA love. Quevenzhane Wallis is going to need a big boost from Fox Searchlight, but they might be busy promoting...
This film should be higher. All Fox Searchlight has though is a poster. Since the film has been moved forward to a release date this year, Fox Searchlight thinks they have a good deal on their plate. Also, since the Academy is mainly old, white, and male, they probably love Alfred Hitchcock, and Anthony Hopkins. And the young men in the Academy probably dig ScarJo, which doesn't hurt.
Runners-up include Zero Dark Thirty, Promised Land, The Impossible, The Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained, Anna Karenina, and Moonrise Kingdom.
Check back tomorrow for Best Director predictions...