Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture

Two years ago, Academy then-prexy Sid Ganis admitted, “I would not be telling you the truth if I said the words ‘Dark Knight’ did not come up,” after stating the org’s decision to expand the best picture pool.

Now that the Acad has changed the rules again, allowing anywhere between five and 10 noms, it’s tricky to say how the mix will change.

In the past two years, the beneficiaries seemed to be big, “Dark Knight”-style blockbusters (a la “Avatar”), good-as-live-action toons (Pixar’s “Up” and “Toy Story 3″) and smaller, acclaimed indie pics (such as “Winter’s Bone” and “Precious”). So where does that leave. . .

The Blockbuster
The year’s top-earner, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” broke box office records as it concluded a coming-of-age franchise spanning eight films and a decade onscreen. Fox’s hit “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” ditched the monkey masks, advancing the medium while winning over crix and auds.

Mighty Animation
Considering the soft reviews for “Cars 2,” Pixar looks unlikely to three-peat in the pic race, but where does that leave “Rango” and “The Adventures of Tintin”? Former boasts a stunning live-action sensibility, while “Tintin” allowed director Steven Spielberg to test techniques only animation permits.

Indie Darlings
Will the tighter category leave room for Sundance faves “Take Shelter,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Like Crazy”? What about Cannes entry “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” well-reviewed dramedy “50/50″ and Jason Reitman-Diablo Cody reunion “Young Adult”?

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