Why it’ll win: James Marsh’s look at Philippe Petit’s daring 1974 tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers has already won nearly every critics prize leading up to the Oscars. It’s artistic and entertaining, a tale of obsession that soars to unimaginable heights. Also the most viewed and heavily promoted film of the nominees.
Maybe not: Purists might carp about the artful re-enactments. And Petit is … you know … French … and kind of full of himself.
Critical quote: “Thanks to Marsh’s sensitive storytelling, ‘Man on Wire’ manages to put Petit’s performance into another, more ineffable realm: What began as a caper turned into poetry, and poetry became a prayer,” says Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post.