A lackluster movie year so far is spurring anxious pundits to issue their Oscar predictions even earlier than usual.
Despite the fact that next to no one has seen most of the following films yet, the Los Angeles Times' Patrick Goldstein is laying odds on which fall prestige movies are likely to lead next year's Oscar race.
Ali, Michael Mann's Muhammad Ali biopic starring Will Smith, looks like a winner at 4-1 odds. Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, featuring reigning Best Actor Russell Crowe as a schizophrenic genius, seems to cry out for Oscar nominations. Its odds: 6-1. Jim Carrey plus Frank Darabont plus a Frank Capra-esque tale propels The Majestic to 8-1 odds. Lasse Hallström directs The Shipping News, which stars acting heavyweights Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, and Cate Blanchett and has odds of 10-1. Spacey's other Oscar contender, K-PAX, which has been rumored to be pushed back to next year, gets 30-1 odds. Other long shots, according to Goldstein, are Shrek, a likely nominee in the first-ever Best Animated Film Category (12-1); Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky (15-1); the first The Lord of the Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring, which is a shoo-in for special effects at least (18-1); and Martin Scorsese's three-hour epic Gangs of New York (20-1). Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone is considered an extreme long shot at 60-1, while acclaimed indies Memento and Moulin Rouge are being dealt only slightly better odds. Steven Spielberg's divisive A.I.: Artificial Intelligence wasn't even mentioned in Goldstein's overview. At least the Oscared director has Minority Report to fall back on next year.