So, does The Hurt Locker winning big at the BAFTAs, the British equivalent of the Oscars, bode well for its chances at the Academy Awards? Yes and no. Certainly, each of these awards shows helps build momentum and indicate a movie has industry support. On the other hand, the Academy is not the same membership. The big question mark for everyone trying to predict the Oscars is the new voting rules:

This year, voters will rank all ten nominated movies in order of preference, ensuring a winner “with the strongest support of a majority of our electorate,” instead of just one with a small plurality, says AMPAS prez Tom Sherak.

–NYMag Oscar’s New Voting Rules: Who Do They Help?

The tally is weighted by rank, but if many more people put Avatar at #2 than Hurt Locker at #1, Avatar could take it. In any case, I think in popular perception it went from being Avatar‘s race to lose, to being The Hurt Locker‘s.