For the first time since 1943, there are 10 nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards. Although "The Hurt Locker" has been the front-runner for the last several weeks, in the closing days of voting, the war drama faced attack on three fronts: 1) issues of accuracy, 2.) for perhaps being too accurate (an army sergeant claims the movie rips off his own story) and 3.) because its producer was banned from the ceremony for breaking campaign rules.
Traditionally, most voters completed their Oscar ballots as soon as they arrived. However, this year -- with the introduction of the preferential method for determining the best picture winner -- more than 1,500 out of 5,800 ballots remained outstanding in the final week, and more than 500 were submitted on the deadline day (Tuesday).
That late Oscar voting may help "Inglourious Basterds," which got a post-noms push from Quentin Tarantino's pals, who threw him bashes on both coasts to rally support. Most Oscar voters I've dished with say they ranked "Basterds" in one of their top three slots. That's not true of "Avatar," which has lots of No. 1-ranked votes -- probably more than "Basterds" -- but also lots of lower rankings, which pull down its overall prospects.
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