Oscar Preview: Best Picture

Conventional wisdom: Benjamin Button was the early favorite, but soft box office numbers have removed some of the luster. Frost/Nixon and The Reader both feel like also-rans. That leaves Milk, a movie tailor-made for gay-friendly Hollywood, and Slumdog Millionaire, which manages to be both gritty and a crowd-pleaser, often at the same moment.

And the Oscar goes to: Slumdog Millionaire. In these harsh economic times, the world needs a ray of hope, a film that says, "You think you're poor? Check out the slums of Mumbai, India!" Thanks for the pick-me-up, Hollywood.

Note: If you haven't done so already, make sure you enter our Oscar contest for a chance at free dinner and a movie from Creative Loafing. And don't miss our live-blogging of the show itself, starting 7 p.m. on Sunday night, right here on The Daily Loaf.

Now, we continue our countdown to Oscar night with a look at a major award up for grabs on Sunday. (Yesterday was Best Director.) Today, we break down:


Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire

Vegas odds: Some wacky numbers (Slumdog is 2-19, Button is 9-2) leave no real favorite in the race for Best Picture. What is clear is that a win by Milk (20-1), Frost/Nixon (30-1) or The Reader (30-1) would be stunning to the gambling community.

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