A word of understanding and compassion for Oscar handicappers who stick their necks out. Just because you make a wrong call about this or that film being a “presumptive Best Picture Oscar winner” doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. Oscar prognosticating is a very fickle and tricky game. On a nearly daily basis you have to (a) try and take the pulse of the town, (b) consider aesthetic criteria that has taken decades to accumulate and sink in, and (c) listen to your gut. And sometimes your gut ends up calling the tune, and sometimes your gut is wrong. But if you don’t listen to and occasionally express your instinctual readings, you’re being a milquetoast and an equivocator. If Teddy Roosevelt were an Oscar prognosticator, he might well have made a gut call for Munich or some other shortfaller. And you know what he’d be saying on a day like today? Life is not about playing it safe. There is no reward without risk. Real men lay their beliefs flat on the table and come what may.