USER POLL: No ‘Dark Knight’ or ‘WALL-E’ – Let’s Talk Bottom of the Best Picture Crop

I am just about ready to write The Dark Knight out of the top five contenders for the Oscar Best Picture, but I can’t seem to figure out exactly what film to replace it with. As the headline implies, it won’t be with WALL•E, a film that has earned some definite sympathy after many critics groups named it Best Picture of 2008. However, as much as those critical nods helped WALL•E isn’t it likely they also may have hurt it by giving it its due so the Academy didn’t have to? Not necessarily a theory I subscribe to, but a theory nonetheless.

As a matter of fact, as I am pushing Batman and the robot out of contention for this hypothetical, how about all the assurance that Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon has secured a spot among the top five. Where is the confidence in this picture coming from? Sure, Frost/Nixon was a perfectly fine film, but Best Picture? Was it really one of the five Best Pictures released in 2008? What about that film makes it extraordinary?

Of course, for this scenario I am going to subscribe to the notion that Frost/Nixon is in and the following films make up the list of “locked” Best Picture nominees:

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • Slumdog Millionaire

With that in mind, what film takes that fifth and final spot?

We all know the Oscars aren’t about giving the award to the actual best motion picture of the year. If it were, we would be talking about films like The Class, Ballast and I’ve Loved You So Long. Nope, instead we are talking about generally accepted good films that have received a healthy dose of buzz, are traditional Oscar bait and have done a good job of getting in the face of the voters. The critics’ kudos, reviews and Oscar punditry certainly helps matters as the 5,819 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sit down to make their decision.

However, when this group of actors (1,243), producers (454), executives (440), sound technicians (412), writers (396), directors (374), art directors (373), public relation specialists (369), animation artists (330), visual effects artists (264), members at large (254), musicians (235), editors (223), cinematographers (195), documentarians (141) and makeup artists (116) and they are left to decide between a robot, a man that dresses up as a bat to battle a maniacal clown and a professional wrestler passed his prime and trying to pick up the pieces which direction do you think they will be leaning? I don’t say this as a pessimist, but as a realist.

So what films are left?

In my opinion it comes down to Revolutionary Road, The Wrestler, Doubt and if someone gets really lucky and Harvey Weinstein agrees to pay all the Academy members’ bills in 2009 The Reader.

Now, if you subscribe to my “Frost/Nixon is not worthy” campaign that would imply two of the above films have a chance of worming their way into the Best Picture slot, but I am asking you to pick only one.

In the poll below, pick one of those four films, or the “Other” column, you believe has the best chance of taking that fifth and final slot should neither The Dark Knight or WALL•E get the nod. Also add your comments below as to your reasoning, especially if you pick “Other”.

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