Best Picture Contenders

We are more than a month away from the Academy Awards, and a few weeks away from official nominations, which will be announced on Tuesday, January 24. But it's not too early to begin speculating about which movies will make this year's Best Picture field.

The Academy changed its rules a few years back. No longer are we required to nominate just five, or required to nominate 10 films. Instead, there must be a minimum of five, and can be a maximum of 10. That leaves plenty of questions as to how many will make the cut.

Below I've broken it down into Locks, Probables, and Wild Cards. We'll find out on January 24 home many make the cut.

The Locks:
* La La Land — This musical has been sweeping up awards and nominations, including going seven-for-seven at the Golden Globes. It is the finest film of the year, and a favorite to win it all.

* Moonlight — I haven't seen this one, but it's another that's sweeping up plenty of awards, including the other Best Picture prize at the Golden Globes

* Manchester By the Sea — This was a festival darling, and a film that's garnered plenty of buzz for the performance of Casey Affleck. This is close to a shoe-in.

* Hidden Figures — This film wasn't a Golden Globe nominee, because it's been a later entry to the field, but it's gotten a lot of critical acclaim and popular Box Office buzz.

* Arrival — One of the most nominated films from the BAFTA awards, and one of the more recognized films by critics, I think this certainly makes the final field.

* Fences — Some might consider this a long-shot, but I think this film will make the field fairly easily. There's plenty of star power here, and this is a powerful adaptation of August Wilson's play.

* Lion — This is a story that's been inspirational for many. It was among the field at the Golden Globes and feels like a good bet to make the short list at the Academy Awards, too.

Wild Cards:
* Silence — Martin Scorsese is a favorite among the Academy, but his latest film hasn't exactly bowled people over. Still, he can't be dismissed.

* Sully — Clint Eastwood is another Academy favorite. It's been largely overlooked by the awards bodies, but there's still always a chance for the film and Tom Hanks.

* Deadpool — What is a movie like this doing in this conversation? Well, it's a possibility of getting in. There's been a wave of support, and it's a populist film, which could help.


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