Oscar nominees: Best Picture

Why it’ll win: “Button” is thematically gripping, viscerally poignant, visually stunning storytelling with a literary backbone in the way of an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story that will appeal to the bookish snob in Academy members. Spanning the bizarre life of its eponymous character, the film carries a certain “Citizen Kane”-”Forrest Gump” sort of charm.

Maybe not: Like “Frost/Nixon,” “Button” didn’t win a single Globe, though it received nods in five selected categories, including top pic. Perhaps the most spellbinding example of superb makeup artistry and visual effects this Oscar season, “Button” could be a case where if it does take home gold it will be for its achievement in the below-the-line categories.

Critical quote: “Brad Pitt is so pretty that a lot of people forget what an accomplished actor he is. In ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ even his most ardent fans will be unprepared for the physical and emotional power of his range and versatility in the title role of this wrenching, demanding and captivating film experience. Reunited with the gifted David Fincher, Pitt tackles an F. Scott Fitzgerald story as fresh and original as it is riveting,” says Rex Reed, New York Observer.

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