This Year's 'Best Picture' Contenders UPDATED

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Obviously this gets adjusted on a weekly basis. Look at what happened to "Billy Lynn" when it premiered in NY? Two of the ten films listed below have not been seen  by myself or any other critics: "Fences" and "Silence." Those could easily underwhelm and get thrown out of the race. It's been a weak year for contenders, but that makes the race all the more interesting. I do think that we have a clear number one movie and it will likely stay like that until February 26th, 2017. When's the last time that happened this early in the race? 1998 with Saving Private Ryan? We all know what happened with that film come Oscar time ....

Best Picture

1) "La La Land"
Unless "Silence" turns out to be an audience-friendly masterpiece, this looks like the bona-fide Best Picture winner of the year. 

2) "Manchester By The Sea"
A great movie, but too depressing to win. It will be championed by critics circles. 

3) "Fences"

This could win, but I doubt it. Denzel is not a natural director, but audiences might eat it up. This has yet to be screened for critics, maybe in late November? 

4) "Silence"
No trailer. No poster. No problem. It seems like Scorsese can do no wrong for Oscar pundits. 

5) "Sully"
A Box-Office success with solid reviews and Tom Hanks best performance in years. Oh and did I mention Clint Eastwood directs? Saw it again last night and it holds up well.

6) "Lion"
A meh movie, but a crowd pleaser that almost won the audience award at TIFF. I just can't see manstream moviegoers not liking this movie. It manipulates enough to be this year's "Slumdog."

7) "Loving"
A, pardon the pun, "lovingly" rendered picture. Simple yet beautiful, but its simplicity will have some shrugging their heads and saying "that it?"

8) "Jackie"
It's a fascinating movie and Portman deserves an Oscar nod. Simply told yet precise. It's prestige done right, now will the Academy warm up to its artfulness?

9) "Hell or High Water"
A critical darling. I love this movie. Its only undoing might be that a) many more men love it than women and b) it came out in the summer, too early?

10) "Moonlight"
Barry Jenkins' triumph needs to be recognized, but I just can't see Academy fogies warming up to its subject matter.