David Poland has started his annual compilation of film critic's top ten lists. Love Poland or hate him, this is one of the best things that his site does, giving you a very good snapshot of what critics liked and didn't like over the course of the year. My guess is that if you take the top 12 or so in this thing in a few weeks, pare down the ones that obviously aren't the Academy's thing, and I suspect you'll have at least four of the Best Picture contenders. That's my contribution to the Oscar blog thing.
What interests me is that the great Zodiac is the No. 2 film in the early going, yet it has been virtually absent from the year-end critic polls so far. That seems awfully strange to me. You can count on it being high on my list, if that's any consolation. Looking at the list again, Once is the third film, and it falls in the same boat. If this holds up, then you would expect these films to be doing better with the year-end critic groups than they are. Of course, maybe the votes of all the Dublin critics got in early.
So why are these films not getting the votes? Do critics vote based on their expectations of what's really in the running, rather than going with their heart?