And so the question, with four respected critic groups (from NYC, L.A., Boston and San Francisco) having given their Best Picture awards to Alexander Payne’s excellent Sideways: what happened to the supposed impact grenade of Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby? These critics groups are obviously exhibiting deep-rooted admiration for Payne’s film, which I concur with, but Eastwood’s boxing drama was supposed to be the big Last Minute Wow that was staggering critics of consequence…but this hasn’t been evidenced so far by a Best Picture win. (Although Eastwood himself has won the NYFC’s Best Director award, so that’s something.) I guess this simply means that critics liked Payne’s film just a little bit more, and (who knows?) maybe they were also reacting on some level to that mentally-handicapped kid in Eastwood’s film. Baby will certainly be Oscar nominated and, I still predict, take the Best Picture Oscar. And by the way, Tom O’Neill…? What’s been happening with your beloved Aviator with the critics so far? Flatlining!