Every time I consider the Oscar handicapper faves, I’m reminded that I’m constitutionally incapable of standing completely off to the sidelines and trying to guess which films and filmmakers that Academy members are favoring at the moment. I try to ask around and listen and “read the town” as much as the next guy but I can’t keep my own convictions out of it. The mindset of the dispassionate handicapper-statistician is too bloodless and clinical. I don’t know how anyone in this game can go 100% dispassionate and still sleep at night.
You’ve got to go personal these days. Or at least half-personal. Dispassionate reporting and sage analysis are so…print. We are all advocates. A columnist or critic is nothing without convictions and cojones that he/she is willing to lay on the line.
One of the things I love about Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone is that she predicts from two places — an industry-savvy, ear-to-the-rails perspective and from personal passion. She knows whereof she speaks, but at the end of the day she can’t seem to keep her favorites out of the equation. That’s me also, but I’m also listening to the Godz.
When I insist that this or that film or performance or screenwriter deserves award-season acclaim, I’m not just offering opinion; I’m also to some extent channeling. I honestly believe there are ghosts who are looking down upon our culture and doing what they can to nudge us along, and at the risk of sounding like an eccentric I am, I feel, a kind of instrument in their service. Because — this is key — I am willing to be that. Go ahead and chortle, but all creativity is about letting in the spirits.