It’s still early (only 63 lists have been posted and the final number usually comes in around 300) but the current data is already displaying some interesting trends.
In the first and second spots are two “non-traditional” genres — the animated Wall-E and superhero flick The Dark Knight. In terms of the Oscar race, Wall-E will no doubt be ghettoized in the Best Animated Film category, but The Dark Knight is increasingly looking like a future Best Picture nominee.
Filling in the top six are three other films I expect to make the Oscar cut: Milk, Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
If those titles hold, what will fill out the fifth slot? Perhaps The Wrestler (#5 on this list), Frost/Nixon (#15) or Doubt (#30). I’d love to see Rachel Getting Married (#7) or Iron Man (#33) make the cut but I don’t think either has much of a chance. It would be a nice surprise to see something as bizarre and “artsy” as Synecdoche, New York (#9) slide into that final slot, but that seems like the longest shot of all.
I’ll revisit this list when another batch of critics is added. I’m most interested to see if Wall-E will hold onto that top spot, or if The Dark Knight (or something unexpected) will overtake it.