No, do not take my word for this... but if this happens, you heard it from me first.
So, I thought about this awhile back. The main reason Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture (despite its February release date,) was home media and dead controversy. Sure, in February people called it "gross", "misogynistic", and "stupid", but by the next year (when it was nominated,) people viewed it at home as an "intense, unpredictable thriller with top-notch performances."
So controversy tends to bite many films in the butt, especially the ones late out of the gate (er hem Zero Dark Thirty er hem). When Argo won a couple of months back, the film had almost celebrated a week on Blu-ray, easily accessible to anyone at home. It's been awhile since a BP winner was on video before it won, so could this year be the year?
Place Beyond the Pines has many things going for it, some things Hollywood as ignored for a long time:
1. It's an epic, even if its a small-town epic, its canvas is epic.
2. Great ensemble cast (SAG nomination...?)
3. Up-and-coming director Derek Cianfrance. Lately, many Best Director winners are first timers (Ben Affleck probably would have won, if he was nominated.
4. Can get the #1 votes required for a nomination. It really can. Rex Reed, Richard Roeper, and Chris Stuckmann all gave the film their highest rating... and consider the vast size of the Academy that loves it.
The fifth point, rewatchability, is a crucial one. When the film hits home media in July/August, fans and people who haven't seen it yet will probably watch it again. Hey, if a lot of frontrunners flop like fish, this one just might be able to squeeze its way into Dolby Theater. Right now I'll count it in as a potential nominee.