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It was only a few minutes after the credits ended following tonight’s New York screening of “Dreamgirls” that someone asked me whether the film will be nominated for best picture. For those few of us watching the Oscar race this early, the movie has been a high-profile contender (just look at the Movie City News Gurus o’ Gold list which has it in the top spot of likely best picture nominees). But that was before anyone had seen the film. The discussion over its best picture prospects will begin in earnest tomorrow.

Bill Condon‘s “Dreamgirls” is a bright, toe-tapping, entertaining big screen musical. A lot of fun, its light on story but full of heart (with lots of music). Its family friendly and seems well-suited to its upcoming holiday release. But, is it a best picture contender? Perhaps, as an alternative to the heavier fall films out there. Whatever the case, it sure was a lot of fun. However, will its prospects whither under over analysis and high expectations? No matter, Paramount is already pushing it hard (with “for your consideration” ads even running this week on indieWIRE).

Paramount insiders told me after the Lincoln Square screening tonight that this first showing was for select press only (although I did spot some industry insiders in the audience)…anyway if the movie was truly screened tonight just for typically reserved press types, then the film is in great shape, since people in the audience were applauding after many of the numbers and at the end, women next to me were in tears, exclaiming “Wow! Wow!”

I’ll have to ponder it a bit more to decide where it will rank on my Guru’s o’ Gold best picture prognostication list next week…

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