The working theory of the moment (at 7:30 am Pacific) is that the face-slap exclusion of Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director — a nomination that every living soul on the planet said was absolutely guaranteed — means there has to be some sort of make-up, some kind of atonement. Atonement #1 is that ZD30‘s Mark Boal now has the edge to win in the Best Original Screenplay category. Atonement #2 — a total hipshoot call — is that Zero Dark Thirty itself might gain in the Best Picture race.

“Will controversy and the directing snub of Bigelow KO Zero Dark Thirty‘s ultimate chances?,” Deadline’s Pete Hammond wrote in a 10:33 am posting. “It’s possible, but the Academy could decide to make a statement about the rights and freedom of artists to make movies their way — and not the way the government or CIA might like.”

Yes, Lincoln will almost surely win Best Picture. I know it, everyone knows it, we’re all resigned. But if other columnists and guest contributors join me in my ongoing, never-say-die…no, I don’t mean that. Not really. I don’t have anything new to say about Lincoln at this stage. I’d just be repeating myself. But whatever works!

The eight nominations for Silver Linings Playbook is the best Oscar thing to happen to mei and Hollywood Elsewhere since Roman Polanski won the Best Director Oscar for The Pianist.