Almost as interesting as last night’s New York Film Festival Lincoln screening was the twitter war that immediately followed. The back-and-forth may have been more dramatically stirring than the film itself. The “Hooray for fantastic Lincoln and its guaranteed Oscar noms!” crowd had the early celebrational advantage, but then the mixed-baggers rushed in and starting taking potshots, and before you knew it the mirth had faded and no one had “won.”

You need to imagine it as a paintball shoot-out between two teams. Initially the whoo-hoo Lincoln team (Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg, Logan Hill, Coming Soon‘s Ed Douglas, FSLC’s Eugene Hernandez, Matt Patches) rushed in and captured the flag on top of the hill. “Yaaay! Whee! The hill is ours! Lincoln is one of Spielberg’s best films ever! It soars! Oscars all around!” Sasha Stone and Glenn Kenny picked up on this quickly and joined in the gaiety.

And then a paintball fired by David Ehrlich hit Feinberg in the head. “What the fuck was that?,” Feinberg yelled. “Who did that? This movie has turned the Oscar race upside down and somebody shoots me?” And then another paintball fired by The Playlist‘s Rodrigo Perez hit Douglas in the back (“aaaaah!…fuck!”). And then Cinemablend‘s Katey Rich called much of the movie “a bear,” and then another paintball fired by Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn whizzed by Hernandez’s head, and before you knew it the “yay Lincoln!” team had scattered and the mixed-bag contrarians were rushing onto the hill and it was chaos all around. Some hand-to-hand combat resulted but at the end of the night no one had taken the flag or the hill. It felt like a standoff, and it still is as we speak.

It’s a Best Picture nominee but not a winner (L.A. Times columnist Steven Zeitchik called it “wonky“), and the performances are the main strength, even though the betting is that Daniel Day Lewis‘s Lincoln isn’t strong enough to win.