Regrettable, Wrong Headed Poland: “What does The Social Network winning [Best Picture from the NYFCC and LAFCA] do for The Social Network? Aside from some lovely ego play, nothing. The film has been in position to be nominated across much of the board since the first screening in September. Come February, no Academy member is going to vote for anything based on what awards groups said.” Repeating: “The Social Network still isn’t going to win Best Picture from the Academy…unless they’re starting a media branch.”

Wells response: Poland wrote yesterday that the Best Picture race “is between The King’s Speech, True Grit and Black Swan.” The older traditionalists want The King’s Speech, and so yes, it’s definitely a top contender. But while Black Swan will be nominated (of course!), I fear it can’t win because of the older-women-don’t-like-it factor. The yentas have been talking it down, I hear. And I don’t feel much of aTrue Grit locomotive effect at this point. It may become one of the ten, but a finalist? No way.

Right now the signs point overwhelmingly to The Social Network, The King’s Speech and The Fighter being the three most likely finalists. It’s also obvious at this point that The Social Network is sweeping the critics’ groups like The Hurt Locker did last year, and if Poland thinks this will have little or no effect on Academy determinations, he’s really, really out on his own island.

If nothing else critics group awards instill flutters of guilt and shame into the industry/guild/Academy mentality. They know deep down that the critics are a little less political and a bit more integrity-driven than themselves. And if The King’s Speech doesn’t win a Best Picture award with any critics groups at all (which it may not), then at the very least Academy members will be facing the fact that if they vote for it and not The Social Network and/or The Fighter, the world will regard them as tired, backward-gazing traditionalists and quality-deniers. And they’ll have that knowledge to live with every time they look in the bathroom mirror for the rest of their lives.

I’ve said over and over that 2010 is, if nothing else, a year of generational conflict and a within the Academy. The Social Network and Black Swan (adored by under-40s) and The Fighter (and, in my book, the regrettably ignored Let Me In) vs. The King’s Speech (favored by old farts) and The Kids Are All Right (particularly admired by over-40 women).

Agreeable, Right-On Poland: “I think Colin Firth is the cat’s pajamas. He probably should have won last year for a performance that was complex, to say the least. But he’s going to win this year for a more technical, but very high quality performance. I am at peace with that. That said, if you saw Javier Bardem‘s performance in Biutiful and you think that any of the other performances, including Firth’s, is even aiming for the kind of depth Bardem goes to there, you are an idiot. And the lack of any nods to Bardem, in a performance that makes the overlooked turn in The Sea Inside looks like a cake walk, from LAFCA, NYFCC, or BFCA is an embarrassment. This is how critics have become marginalized. It can’t stop handing awards to great, fun, movie-movie performances and disconnecting from the tough stuff.”