In the first of several “friendly” Oscar-season smackdowns, Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil and I take on the likely top contenders for Best Picture slots and come out swinging. The bulk of the conversation is based on the top current-ranked top 10 most likely nominees according to Gold Derby handicapping (so don’t blame me if your movie isn’t on there). Of Pete Hammond badgecourse it is only still mid-November, folks, so take it all with a grain of salt. Oscars are all about momentum and that’s a hard thing to capture in a bottle.

As I constantly try to remind O’Neil, we are also talking about several films that have yet to open or even be seen. Things can and willgold-derby change. Can Spotlight, the current so-called front-runner (based on Gold Derby experts)really prevail all the way through February when the Oscars are handed out? Who knows?  This seems to be shaping up as one of the most wide open races in years. I am not a big fan of ranking these things by numbers, so I will refrain from doing that until, at the very least, I have seen everything. But it is great fun to mix it up and give some thoughtful analysis to the lay of the land as the race takes shape.

So sit back for the  Deadline vs. Gold Derby Best Picture Smackdown. Check out the video above.