I got a call earlier today from a smart movie guy, and he knows this phantom-like Oscar oddsmaker…a kind of consultant who sees everything and talks to a lot of Academy members and probably wears pricey suits but who shuns the spotlight and doesn’t give his phone number out. The guy funnels his information to…you tell me, maybe exhibitors or gambling operations or whomever. The point is that my movie pal says this guy, whom he’s known for years, has been “Nate Silver-like” and even “spookily accurate” in predicting Oscar winners. And this fucking guy (i.e., the phantom) is saying, believe it or not, that Saving Mr. Banks is going to take the Best Picture Oscar and that Emma Thompson, portrayer of P.L. Travers, is going to win for Best Actress.
I asked if I could speak to this guy and so my friend made the call right away, but the guy hasn’t responded so far. I laughed loudly and feigned shock when he dropped the bomb. “It’s the Driving Miss Daisy syndrome!,” I groaned. “Daisy, The King’s Speech, Argo…always the least offensive, most mild-mannered film with a poignant little emotional tug and the least amount of baggage. Plus it’s Hollywood factory-friendly. The sugarcoat syndrome wins out in the end and the artist goes home in frustration and the movie is a hit.”