HE favorite Call Me By Your Name has scored six 2017 Spirit Award nominations, compared to five for Get Out and Good Time and four for Lady Bird and The Rider. If you know anything about Spirit Award-voting tendencies, the six noms — Best Feature, Best Director (Luca Guadagnino), Best Editing (Walter Fasano), Best Male Lead (Timothee Chalamet), Best Supporting Male (Armie Hammer) and Best Cinematography (Sayombhu Mukdeeprom) — make CMBYN (a) an odds-on favorite to take the Best Feature Spirit trophy and (b) locks it down as a major Oscar nomination threat on these fronts, particularly Best Picture.

Over the last three years, the Spirit Award Best Feature prize and the Best Picture Oscar have been won by the same film — Moonlight, Spotlight and Birdman. It’s happened, in fact, in five out of the past six years, starting with 2011’s The Artist. The Spirits didn’t go for Argo in 2012, but they went for 12 Years a Slave in ’13 followed by Birdman, Spotlight and Moonlight.

All of those Gurus and Gold Derby group-thinkers who’ve been listing Call Me By Your Name in sixth or seventh place on their roster of most likely Best Pic contenders are now twirling around and saying to themselves, “Uh-oh…hamma hamma hamma…I’d better recalculate my predictions and upgrade Luca’s film to at least second or third place or people will think I’m out of step with the culture!” Trust me, they are literally muttering this to themselves right now.

I’ve been saying that while 2016 Best Picture Oscar for Moonlight was largely about making up for “Oscars So White”, 2017 is, performance-wise and possibly otherwise, about the Year of the Ballsy, Go-For-It Independent WomanGreta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan‘s Lady Bird triumph, Meryl Streep‘s Katharine Graham performance in The Post, Frances McDormand‘s lead perf in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, Sally Hawkins as a fantasy-driven cleaning woman in The Shape of Water, Margot Robbie in I, Tonya.

And I mean especially in the current climate of women pushing back everywhere against workplace sexual harassment. It all fits together.

This told me that the most likely recipient of this cultural moment might be Lady Bird, and by that I mean guaranteed Oscar noms for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress and so on. That still seems likely, but before this morning I was half-presuming that Lady Bird might take more Spirit Award noms that any other film. But that hasn’t happened. Lady Bird has been nominated for Best Feature, Best Screenplay (Gerwig), Best Actress (Ronan) and one other.

Why Best Director nominations were handed to Good Time‘s Benny and Josh Safdie and The Rider‘s Chloe Zhao but not to Lady Bird‘s Gerwig is a serious puzzler. You might theorize that Gerwig was denied because she’s a first-timer, but outstanding direction is outstanding direction. There’s no question that Lady Bird is a much balanced, better written, more exactingly composed and effective film than Good Time or The Rider…please.

Due respect to Get Out, but 2017/18 is not a “make up for Oscars So White” year.

What has happened to Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water after failing to land nominations with both the Gothams and the Spirits? What exactly is the beef that these groups have with this period fairy tale (“Creature From The Love Lagoon”)? Obviously something has rubbed them the wrong way but what? Variety‘s Kris Tapley: “The Shape of Water isn’t likely to be the dominant force [that] many expected after winning the Golden Lion in Venice.” That said, I’ve be stunned if Sally Hawkins doesn’t snag a Best Actress Oscar nom.

Congrats to Sony Pictures Classics for landing 13 Spirit nominations, including a Best International Film nominations for Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Loveless — another HE favorite.

The 33rd Spirit Awards will happen on Sunday, 3.3 — the day before the Academy Awards — under the usual big tent on the beach in Santa Monica.