This is an old refrain, but everyone needs to start treating the Oscar telecast as merely the end of the road — a moderately exciting, amusing, occasionally touching, usually harmless, sometimes irksome, sometimes gratifying ceremony in which certain heavy-predicted favorites have their night in the sun. And that’s all it is — just a televised finale. We all know it’s not the destination that counts as much as the quality of the journey, so act accordingly.

So people need to invest a bit more in the season as a whole, and at the risk of alienating Oscar advertisers, start talking more about week-to-week personal passions and what the critics groups and the bloggers and the ubers and early adopters are saying, and endeavor as much as possible to (and I mean no harm or disrespect) ignore the deadwood and just stop talking about what “they” — i.e., the older, sleepier, stodgier, sometimes fatally clueless set that ALWAYS seems to be bringing up the rear in terms of receptivity to the best that’s out there — think.

They should be listened to, of course, and taken note of and paid a certain respect. But that’s all. The deadwood sector of the Academy too often does one thing and one thing only — they choose default winners that tone the whole thing down in terms of vision and hipness and coolness. They are the people walking slowly up or down the subway stairs who cause you to miss your connection.