While I was on my holiday break, Anne Thompson, that media-rare scribe, posted a tasty piece about the "steak-eaters," those red-blooded male members of the Motion Picture Academy whose taste runs to films about manly men on quests. This bloc, she suggests, is responsible for films such as Gladiator, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, The Departed, No Country for Old Men and Hurt Locker being voted best-picture winners over the last decade. (Other winners since 2000: Slumdog Millionaire, Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Chicago and A Beautiful Mind all of which arguably are more relationship films than quest films.
If the Steak-Eater Principle applies this year, then that would mean The Fighter, Inception and True Grit would have an edge over The Kids are All Right, The Social Network and Toy Story 3. I wouldn't know how to classify The King's Speech, which is both a quest film and a relationship film.
Test her theory. Can't work out the proof myself. Can you? Do you have another Best Pic theory?