Well, as we approach the much anticipated date of the ceremony, there’s inevitably speculation among the top Oscar prognosticators (us, included) of a potential upset in the top race of the night. Some claim Crash is gaining momentum day by day. Others tout that Universal’s all-out blitz campaign for Munich is paying off. We don’t doubt that other films have a chance, but perhaps it is time to remind people of the solid factors that still make Brokeback Mountain your odds-on favorite to occupy the space under Million Dollar Baby under Best Picture winners. In the spirit of user-friendliness, let’s keep it simple and narrow it down to five powerful reasons.

1. It’s won EVERY precursor award. The Broadcast award. The Golden Globe. The PGA. The DGA. Last year, many considered The Aviator unbeatable because it captured the Globe along with the PGA and garnered the most Oscar nominations. But it didn’t win the DGA (which went to Eastwood) or the Broadcast award(Sideways).

2. It got the most number of nominations. Usually, the film that tops the nominations is a heavy favorite to win Best Picture. Besides The Aviator, the only film to lose Best Picture in the last twelve years while having the most total nominations is Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. But unlike Brokeback, that didn’t win the Broadcast, the PGA, DGA, or the Golden Globe.

3. It’s a love story. The Academy loves love stories and rewards them often. In 1996, The English Patient beat out more critically acclaimed films like Fargo and Shine. Shakespeare in Love stunned Saving Private Ryan two years later. Sure, Moulin Rouge didn’t win in 2001, but A Beautiful Mind managed to slay the Lord of the Rings and the former arguably is a love story at heart. Brokeback obviously isn’t your conventional epic love story, but it’s closer than any of the other five nominees.

4. Not enough time for voters to REALLY get behind another contender. This is the result of the shortened Oscar season. Remember those days when the Oscars were in late March? There was plenty of time for people to discuss the Best Picture contenders until they were blue in the face. Not anymore. The nominations were announced on January 31st and the show is barely over a month later. And guess what’s right in between the two dates? That’s right – the Winter Olympics. Strange as it may sound, but Brokeback may have the Turino distraction to thank for allowing it an easier ride to the podium.

5. It’s controversial, but in a good way. The Academy likes something provocative, as long as it’s not too offensive or weird. A Beautiful Mind dealt with controversy over the selective portrayal of John Nash’s life and overcame it. Million Dollar Baby had to overcome certain groups outraged with its handling of euthanasia. It didn’t prove to be a problem. It should be the same for Brokeback. The most heated criticisms have come from ultra-conservative groups and have been quickly countered or refuted. The campaign focuses on the story, not the message. It’s playing all the right notes, and the result just might be the biggest prize of them all.