Last week "Boyhood" producer John Sloss asked me why I thought his film could win the Best Picture Oscar this year. Of course, it's only just August, so all you have is the same thing everyone else has: instincts, observation of the lay of the land, etc. And I'm nowhere near calling it for the little engine that could. Rather, I see in it the kind of special quality that tends to light the fuse of many an Oscar winner. But there's plenty that could stand in its way between now and Feb. 22, 2015.
Then again, looking ahead at this year's potential Oscar slate, I'm not really sensing a banner year. Many of these films could end up absolute masterworks; we just don't know yet. But in the awards fray, lately I've just been thinking, "I see 'Unbroken' and then I see everything else." Angelina Jolie's upcoming POW saga about the life of the late Louis Zamperini seems to have all the bells and whistles that you'd expect of a power Oscar player (and of countless potential players that have hit a brick wall, it should be said), so like most of you, probably, I'm expecting it to clean up. But everyone is getting their narratives in order and Sony sure got a nice smooch from The New York Times over the weekend, setting David Ayer's "Fury" up as an unflinching look at the dark underbelly of heroism in World War II.