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Benh Zeitlin - 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'
Pro: Wrangling the kinds of performances Benh Zeitlin did out of non-actors while producing a piece full of wonder and imagination unlike anything else in the race is the kind of thing his peers will surely respect. Every once in a while Oscar likes to be swept off his feet by up-and-coming talent...
Con: …but more often it tends to make such talent wait a while before gaining acceptance. David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan (still) and countless others can attest to this. Plus, there is still the question of whether the film will truly resonate or be merely an admirable indie darling. The Screen Actors Guild, as previously reported, won't offer much help as the film is disqualified there. That's a crucial boost lost late in the game.
- Kristopher Tapley