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Post-PGA Oscar Predictions: 'True Grit' No. 3, Tie for First Place

“True Grit”
Wilson Webb/Paramount Pictures

On the new Gurus o'Gold Oscar pundit poll, I'm stubbornly sticking with The King's Speech for best picture, but my fellow Gurus split the vote. The big news: the Coens' Western galloped from No. 7 to No. 3.

I love The Social Network and bow before its mighty, and mighty smart, $200-million-seeking marketing strategy. But I'm still betting -- barely, with shaky hands -- that the sheet lightning of its intellectual beauty, the whomp of its epic moral combat, will be trumped (just) by the warm bearhug that is Tom Hooper's movie. Have a cuppa tea, luv? Or a series of speeches so dramatically articulate they make seraphim sound tongue-tied?

But neither can match the Oscar drama of True Grit's astounding $100 million-ish success, opening mostly by dumb luck right when the competition self-destructed. Hm, that's four times The King's Speech 's take in about half the time (and 50 times that of the Coens' debut, Blood Simple, a still better movie than True Grit). If we pundits are correct that box office affects Oscar odds, The King's Speech should worry. So should The Social Network. So do I.

Interesting that the central aesthetic fact about all three now-top contenders is language. True Grit's distinctive, Old Testament-inflected lingo sounds like no other movie (except the original 1969 True Grit, though the Coens have a better ear, and eye, and they don't scream vituperatively at their actors like self-defeating Henry Hathaway).

I also think 127 Hours is up a notch, and The Town (barely) edging out Winter's Bone in last place. My predictions for best picture:

1. The King's Speech

2. The Social Network

3. True Grit

4. Black Swan

5. The Fighter

6. Toy Story 3

7. Inception

8. 127 Hours

9. The Kids Are All Right

10. The Town

11. Winter's Bone

The Gurus' consensus:

1. The Social Network and The King's Speech (tie)

3. True Grit

4. The Fighter

5. Black Swan

6. Toy Story 3

7. Inception

8. The Kids Are All Right

9. 127 Hours

10. The Town