“The problem with [all Oscar] formulations, and the reason they tend to stumble over themselves almost as soon as they emerge from a would-be-Oscar analyst’s cortex, begins with the phrase ‘the Academy’, and its implicit assumption that each year’s nominations represent an act of coherent collective will that is designed to reflect a particular set of truths.

“In fact, the Academy is, much like its home country, a hydra-headed agglomeration of different constituencies, often in fierce conflict, and the electoral decisions it makes can in different years reflect fearfulness, defensiveness and retreat, or a kind of split decision that denotes a compromise between the past and the future, or, on certain delightful occasions, an unexpected surge of thoughtfulness, good taste and high aspiration.” — from Mark Harris‘s impressively well-written assessment of the ‘098 Oscar race that appeared in Sunday’s Observer.