Precious: Based on Novel "Push" by Sapphire - This one was no shock. Word has been out for awhile about this one, and the success and popularity coming out of TIFF only enhanced its Best Picture possibilities. Also both Mo'Nique and Sidibe are now considered frontrunners for their respective categories. Welcome this year's Slumdog Millionaire.
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee - Reviews about this Robin Wright Penn/Alan Arkin/Maria Bello dramedy is supposed to have a limited script (so much for a screenplay nod) but fantastic turns from its three leads, especially the brilliant Robin Wright Penn. She has been in the news lately for her divorce from Senn Penn, and if this movie can have a great campaign, she could finally get the Oscar nomination she so desperately deserves.
The Road - The initial review by Todd McCarthy from Variety didn't spell good news for this long-awaited adaptation. However, since that intial backlash, the word has spread, and apparently this is going to be a pretty good movie. Viggo Mortensen and Robert Duvall are said to be phenomenal, and though it's bleak outlook maybe too much for downtrodden Americans (compared to the happy endings of things like Precious, and others), I think this one is a contender in a lot of categories, including Best Picture.
A Serious Man - This new comedy from the Coen brothers is supposed to be along the lines of their other movies, and said to have their unique signature stamped all over it. The Academy likes the Coen brothers, and buzz for the movie, and Richard Kind as Supporting Actor are really rising. If they want to include a comedy in this years race, this is just the sort of dark fair that would fit perfectly into the mix.