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National Board of Review poll: What will win best picture?

December 2, 2008 | 12:48 pm

The National Board of Review will unveil its winners Thursday. What do you think will win the top prize? Keep this in mind: The NBR often likes to pick offbeat fare in order to push its own pony into the derby. It did that with dark horses that subsequently went the distance ("Chariots of Fire") and others that didn't but at least got nominated ("Moulin Rouge!" — its director, Baz Luhrmann, is back in the derby now with "Australia"). Of course, it has also been totally off track ("Quills"), but I think it's more focused on predicting the Oscars nowadays. In recent years there was a power coup that ousted the old Trotskyites who once ruled the small Exceptional Photoplay Committee, which really decides the award champs. There are a few hundred members of NBR who contribute their opinions after viewing films year-round, but frankly they're usually overruled by the NBR politburo. Under this new regime, NBR named "No Country for Old Men" as best picture last year.