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Some Country For Old Men

Awards Daily has posted the results of its pre-(pre-pre-)Oscar best-picture poll, and while the results should be taken with a salt lick (the site's motto is, after all, "nobody knows anything"), it's about as good an early indicator as I've seen. Voters gave No Country for Old Men the nod over Atonement, at 18 and 15 percent, respectively. (My review of the latter should be out Friday; suffice to say I don't rate it so highly.) Sweeney Todd (which I haven't yet seen) came in third at ten percent, followed by a cluster including There Will Be Blood, I'm Not There, Into the Wild, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Ratatouille.

The biggest surprise to me was the relative lack of love shown for American Gangster. In the end, I suspect its award-magnet contributors (Washington, Crowe, Scott), high production values, and unchallenging appeal will make it the The Departed of this year--a strong contender even if not the ultimate winner. But in a year that offered so many more interesting genre films (No Country, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Zodiac, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Gone Baby Gone, etc.), I'd be delighted to be wrong.

--Christopher Orr