The copy for Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson’s latest “Screen Talk” podcast (#250) states that Greta Gerwig‘s Little Women (Columbia, 12.25) “seems to be avoiding the festival circuit altogether.” Really? I hadn’t heard that. Word around the campfire is that the second half of Gerwig’s film delivers the goods, and that acting-wise Saoirse Ronan is “great as ever” and “a “lock” for a Best Actress nomination, and that Florence Pugh has “an earth-shattering monologue”.

Jeff Sneider tweet: “After surveying the awards landscape, chatting with sources & listening to the infamous InSneider gut, I’m prepared to go way out on a limb and tell you in July that one year after the Green Book win, the Oscar will go to one of these two movies — Melina MatsoukasQueen & Slim and Destin Daniel Cretton‘s Just Mercy.” What Sneider means, I gather, is that an anti-Green Book, authentic-black-experience pushback vote will constitute a good part of the support for these two.

The fall hotties are still Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman, Marielle Heller‘s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Ed Norton‘s Motherless Brooklyn**, Jay Roach‘s Fair and Balanced, Kasi LemmonsHarriet, Dee ReesThe Last Thing He Wanted, Steven Soderbergh‘s The Laundromat, Gavin O’Connor‘s Torrance, Roger Michell‘s Blackbird, Rupert Goold‘s Judy, Tom Harper‘s The Aeronauts. Which others?

** Boilerplate synopsis: “A private investigator with Tourette syndrome works to solve the mystery of his mentor’s murder in 1950s New York.”