So, Which Secret Oscar Contender Will the New York Film Festival Be Showing on Monday?

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We have to say we're happy that this year's Best Picture race is very unclear at the moment. It's always a bit disappointing when everybody starts to anoint one film as "the front runner": then it just becomes that movie versus everybody else. This year, the big guns are complete and total mysteries. You tell us "War Horse" is the favorite, we tell you nobody knows if it's great or terrible, so who can really say? But now the New York Film Festival is possibly going to put the race a little more into focus by doing something that's almost unprecedented: They're going to screen an undisclosed unfinished film on Monday that's coming out this year.

Deadline alerted us to the fact that the festival (which is going on right now) just made the announcement. Checking out the festival's website, this is what we tracked down:

The New York Film Festival is proud to announce that for the second time in our 49 year history, we have the privilege of presenting a work in progress from a master filmmaker. The film is due to be released in theaters this year.

We hope you will join us at Avery Fisher Hall on Monday, October 10th at 7PM.

So, what film is it? Deadline narrows it down to seven possibilities: "J. Edgar," "Hugo," "The Adventures of Tintin," "Young Adult," "War Horse,""Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Those are basically the major unseen films from this year's Oscar hunt. OK, let's start narrowing this down.

With all due respect to director Jason Reitman, we wouldn't quite call him a "master filmmaker" and we don't think the New York Film Festival would either, so that eliminates "Young Adult."

"J. Edgar" is supposed to world premiere at AFI Fest in early November, so it seems weird that Clint Eastwood would screen an unfinished version a few weeks before its big, official unveiling.

As for "Tintin," why would you show a work-in-progress version of a film with that many effects, unless you're only going to show sequences that are complete? (And while Scorsese is the consummate New York filmmaker, we wonder if that rationale applies to "Hugo" as well.)

"Extremely Loud's" 9/11 theme might make it ideal for the festival, and Fincher's "The Social Network" got its big premiere at last year's New York Film Festival, so "Dragon Tattoo" is a definite possibility. But if "War Horse's" backers think they've got the movie to beat, maybe they want to show some of it to audiences? Then again, isn't that why you'd want to wait until the whole thing is done?

OK, it's a tough call, but we're gonna go with "Extremely Loud" over "Dragon Tattoo" as the mystery film. Wait until we find out it's actually "Tower Heist."

New York Film Festival Unveils Surprise Oscar Contender Monday [Deadline]