A lot of year-end awards stuff will come into focus over the next nine days. Tomorrow afternoon the journos who weren’t invited to see The Iron Lady at last Thursday’s super-exclusive screening will get their own looksee. By next weekend the Warner Bros. guys will almost certainly be screening Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close for the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review in preparation for the following week’s voting. And then comes the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo screening on Monday, 11.28, for the same two groups.

All the frontline stragglers who haven’t yet seen War Horse will get their shot on 11.28 in Los Angeles, and (I’m told) on 11.29 in NYC. And wouldn’t it make sense, by the way, for Film District to screen Angelina Jolie‘s In The Land of Blood and Honey (which mubi.com‘s David Ehrenstein has called “as serious as a heart attack“) for the NYFCC and NBR also? The big finale comes when the NYFCC votes on Tuesday, 11.29, and the NBR the next day, and for two or three weeks after that we’ll hear from a cavalcade of critics groups (with the exception of the slowboat National Society of Film Critics, which announces in early January).

It may well be that War Horse will sweep everyone away, myself included. I’m saying that with sincerity. “I’m just average common too, I’m just like him and the same as you” and if a movie really works, it works. But before the deluge and the Zelig impulse kicks in I’m asking each and every critic out there to please think twice before voting. If your sensibilities and judgment permit it, don’t sap out and go “whee!” and just jump on the easy bandwagon. Please. Please.