The recently arrived-upon view of several critics and columnists — including Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan, CNN’s J.D. Cargill, Coming Soon‘s Ed Douglas, Movieline‘s Stu Van Airsdale, EW‘s Dave Karger, Deadline‘s Pete Hammond, In Contention‘s Guy Lodge, The Wrap‘s Steve Pond and Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson — is that The Artist is a more likely Best Picture winner than The Descendants.

On one level I understand. They’re saying that the Motion Picture Academy is very easily impressed and a cinch to win over with “entertainment.” They’re saying that a generally pleasing silver-screen bauble and a really cute yappy dog are a hard-to-beat combination. On another level I’m appalled. Even if I believed that The Artist is the strongest Best Picture candidate I wouldn’t predict it on the Gold Derby chart. I couldn’t and wouldn’t.

So many don’t seem to understand the basic prediction equation. Several “experts” saying that they think others will support film X is a way of saying that others should support film X because others are supporting it. The Gold Derby team is aware, surely, that most people are Zeligs at heart.