There is a way to discover the Academy's possible Best Film choice early in the Oscar® telecast, and I find this method about 90% effective. Well, one must allow for an occasional "zinger." It will help to impress your fellow viewers, if you announce your choice about two and one-half into the broadcast. Here's how it works:
Early in the awards, one can predict the winner by keeping a tally of which of the five movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar actually win in the following categories: Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, and Directing. It also helps if a major film wins for Cinematography and/or Editing, with Original Score a plus. Actually, any Guild award counts, so count them. Of course, not every film nominated is also nominated in the "also helps" categories. Therefore, a film not among the top five might win one of those, possibly crashing the theory. The trick is to know in which categories each of the top five films appear, and count only those wins for the top films.
To get a list of all movie nominees, and each category for which it is nominated, go to the Official Oscar Site and print the list. HINT: For the alphabetical listing of films and each of their nominations only, print pages 9 - 13, or print all (14 pages) for the whole enchilada.
Now, have you downloaded and printed your ballot yet? I repeat again, you will find one at IMDB (pdf).
GOOD FUN, and GOOD LUCK!