2012’s lineup for Best Picture brings to mind sober reflection. As we redefine who we were in America, on the eve of President Obama’s second inaugural, our troubled past still haunts us. Two films deal in very different ways with the subject of slavery. Two films deal with our volatile war with radical Islam. Two films deal with choosing a more optimistic view of life, one remembers Hurricane Katrina, one remembers magical childhood love, one is a beloved musical just in time for Christmas. Most of us will split on these, and the ongoing debate will rage: is it the movie that makes you feel? Or is it the movie that makes you think?
With Oscar ballots outstanding, it’s anyone’s game. The wind could suddenly change direction without warning. What seemed like a sexy pick a week ago could lose steam. And everywhere, pundits, bloggers, critics and even celebrities are trying to control the unwieldy beast that is Oscar.
On Twitter, we Oscar bloggers fend off enthusiastic fans who really want their favorite musical to become a fully realized Oscar Best Picture winner, or leaders of a movement supporting one actress or actor to have their most loved performer recognized with an Oscar. Some of them beam in from foreign lands hoping that their favorite American star will at last be recognized. “What do you think Leo’s chances are?” “Do you think Naomi Watts can win?” “What are the chances for Holy Motors?” We can give our best guess but it is just a guess based on years of experience. That experience includes public humiliation, smug rightness, an “I told you so” or two, and a general assumption that we know how “they” will or won’t vote.
But nobody knows anything.