About 10 months ago I wrote that “the highest calling of a Hollywood columnist during awards season is to be a strong and impassioned shepherd and show the sheep where the good grass is. Not to imply sheep don’t have a nose for good grass on their own. Of course they do. But there is crabgrass, grass, decent grass, better grass, higher-quality grass and world-class gourmet grass, and I would humbly submit that committed shepherds have a special eye and an attuned nose for good grass…that’s all.

“Put another way, the Oscar-season columnists who say ‘I’m just taking the pulse of the town and staying out of the argument’ are like Judean shepherds on a hillside near Mount Sinai. Shepherd #1: “Look at those sheep over there, eating all that yellow grass and those weeds.” Shepherd #2: “Yeah, I know, and with that really nice looking patch of rich green grass to the left about 100 yards.” Shepherd #1: “Why don’t we get our staffs and scoot them over in that direction?” Shepherd #2: “No, no, that’s not our proper role. We’re here to just chill and observe and keep an eye on whatever the sheep are up to…nothing more.”