Last year, I wrote a column bemoaning the fact that, thanks to social media and blogs devoted exclusively to Academy Award prognostication, the Oscars have lost all their suspense.
Oh what a difference a year makes!
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but the Oscars are a veritable free-for-all this year. Oh sure, there are a couple of locks: Daniel Day Lewis for Best Actor and Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress are “bet the ranch” type material. But everything else feels gloriously, uncharacteristically up in the air.
The weirdness of this year’s race started when the nominees came out and both Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were shut out of the Best Director’s category. Since Argo and Zero Dark Thirty were at the time seen as legitimate Best Picture contenders, it sent the whole race into a tailspin: Wait, how can either of those films win Best Picture if their directors weren’t seen worthy of recognition? (Yes, films have won Best Picture without the director getting nominated before—Driving Miss Daisy was the most recent one—but it is a rare feat.)...