“I leave it to the movie gods, and the gossip columnists, to debate how much Bradley Cooper is personally liked or disliked in Hollywood. But his omission from the best director roster didn’t happen in a vacuum.

“It crystallized the slow but steady fade of A Star Is Born over the last month or two, from Oscar slam-dunk to solid-but-hardly-sure-fire Oscar front-runner to middle-of-the-road Oscar contender to hanging-on-by-its-fingernails Oscar movie that’s still sort of in the game to the place it now holds: Oscar toast.

“And that, in a way, is a much bigger story than the issue of whether Cooper came off as too serious and self-involved over the course of awards season, especially in a certain much-talked-about newspaper-of-record magazine profile.” — from “The Message of the Oscar Nominations: You’d Better Have a Social Message,” posted by Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman on 1.22.