Dave Karger sees this group playing musical chairs for the five coveted spots. Which three will be left out when the music stops on Jan. 22?
By now, nearly every awards-baiting film has screened for the media and members of the Academy. And it appears that the Best Picture contest has narrowed to an octet of contenders: two that have already been released (The Dark Knight and Slumdog Millionaire), two that hit theaters this week (Australia and Milk), and four that are set to debut in December (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/ Nixon, and Revolutionary Road). As of now, there's no true lock à la No Country for Old Men or The Lord of the Rings from years past; in fact, any combination of five seems perfectly feasible at this point. Here's how each of the eight unofficial semifinalists listed in order of likelihood could make it into the final five...and what might leave them on Oscar's cutting-room floor.