In this, a sharply defined generation-gap year in the Best Picture race (The Social Network and Black Swan for the hipper under-45s, The King’s Speech for the elders), the MCN Gurus of Gold have again shown themselves to be mainly receptive to the old-fart view of things. Meaning, of course, that they’re sticking to predictions of The King’s Speech winning the Best Picture Oscar. These guys are as terrified of making a wrong call as Soviet apparatchiks of the 1930s were terrified of being allied with anti-Stalinist cabals, hence their totally conservative “don’t risk it!” default thinking.

But when The King’s Speech doesn’t win with the L.A. Film Critics (voting Sunday, 12.12) or the New York Film Critics Circle (voting Monday, 12.13), which is what I suspect will happen, will the Gurus finally rethink things? They ignored last week’s symbolism of the National Board of Review voting big-time for The Social Network, and since then the D.C.-area film critics have also toppled for David Fincher‘s film. The King’s Speech acolytes are Kris Tapley, David Poland, Dave Karger, Pete Hammond, Eugene Hernandez, Anne Thompson, Steve Pond, Susie Woz, Greg Ellwood and Peter Howell. You know what could happen? The Fighter could happen. It’s a compromise candidate admired by all ages, all demos, all persuasions.