Yesterday The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg singlehandedly energized the Best Actress Oscar race by NOT half-yawning and muttering “Brie Larson, of course it’s Brie Larson…she’s totally locked” like every other fucking Oscar pundit out there, but by suggesting that Charlotte Rampling, whose 45 Years performance is easily the year’s finest, may be in a better position to win.

The great Charlotte Rampling, star of 45 Years and now a possible Best Actress frontrunner. Maybe. If you follow the thinking and calculations of Scott Feinberg.

“The Best Actress race just got a lot more interesting,” Feinberg wrote yesterday morning. “Room‘s Brie Larson, 26, and Brooklyn‘s Saoirse Ronan, 21, were expected to duke it out for the win, but the far-from-assured nomination of Joy‘s Jennifer Lawrence, 25, might further split the support of people who want to champion a young up-and-comer, to the benefit of the revered veteran Charlotte Rampling, 69, a first-time nominee, for 45 Years.”

The words “first-time nominee” coupled with Rampling’s age, which in the wake of the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman is a reminder that it’s all over too quickly (a couple of days ago somebody tweeted that “69 is the new 27”), may prompt older GenX and boomer-aged Academy members to vote with a generational attitude.

I wrote Feinberg yesterday about the Rampling thing, and here’s what he said:

“I’m certainly not rooting for or against anyone in the category, and I reserve the right to change my pick as events unfold over the coming weeks. But many voters have responded in a major way not only to Rampling’s performance, but also to her personal narrative, and the fact that she’s pitted against three ‘It’ girls who are all 26 or younger (Larson, Ronan and Lawrence) is much better for her than if it was one-on-one sort of contest.

“‘Which of these things is different?’ many ask themselves when filling out a ballot, and Rampling surely is. Plus she’s someone whose name and work they know far better than her competitors. So we’ll see.”

Like everyone else, Feinberg is completely dismissive of Cate Blanchett’s chances of winning for her Carol performance. “Winning a third Oscar just two years after she won her second? Forget about it,” he wrote.

I’ve been looking for some way to take the wind out of Larson’s sails ever since I suffered through Room in Toronto, and particularly after that scene in which she freaks and screams “Jack! Jack!” when she spots her five-year-old son in the back of a police car, which would hardly be cause for any mother’s concern. People saying “Larson, Larson, Larson, Larson, Larson” over and over has been a source of vague depression for me. Now, thanks to Feinberg, I have something to live or at least hope for.

If Rampling doesn’t win, I’d at least prefer that Ronan takes the prize. She’s perfect in Brooklyn. Unlike Bridge of SpiesMark Rylance, her subtle underplaying is exactly right.

Feinberg isn’t a perfect predictor or the Oscar race’s Nate Silver, but he has a formidable track record.

He was the only blogaroonie to forecast the Best Picture nomination of The Reader over The Dark Knight in ’09; ditto the Best Picture nomination of The Blind Side the following year, the Best Picture nomination of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (to no one’s comfort or satisfaction) in 2012, the Best Supporting Actress nomination of Silver Linings Playbook‘s Jacki Weaver in ’13, the Best Supporting Actor nomination of The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Jonah Hill, and the Best supporting Actress nomination of Wild‘s Laura Dern last year.