16 June 2012 5:03 AM, PDT | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

Oscar prognosticators have a new contender to consider in the race for Best Picture. It’s "Beasts of the Southern Wild," a low-budget, independently produced powerhouse that turns in unexpected ways and sends audiences out of the theatre shaken and moved. (Read Tom O'Neil's take here.) When deciphering a film’s chances for Best Picture, it’s crucial to consider its final moments. Remember that jubilant dance number at the very end of "Slumdog Millionaire"? How about the powerful emotional punch of the final moments of "Titanic"? "Southern Wild" packs a similar wallop just before the credits roll. To be sure, the film tells a meandering story about proud, dirt-poor Louisiana folk who live in absolute squalor on the very fringes of society. And director Benh Zeitlin relies heavily on the controversial shakycam technique that may leave older Academy members feeling a bit queasy. But there is no »

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Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Benh Zeitlin

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