Here we were beating a dead horse, but in the case of Memoirs of a Geisha (Columbia, opening today) it seems fair to note in the wake of the overwhelmingly negative reviews that the chances of this production-designed-and-costumed-to-death period chick flick rating as a Best Picture contender are close to virtually nil. Salon ‘s Stephanie Zacaharek, expressing the general consensus, says that Geisha has “no life, no juice. Instead of tempting you into submission, it merely drugs you.” Academy members can put it up for this or that tech award, but with Geisha getting slammed by the vast majority of big-gun critics (including the New York Times‘ Manohla Dargis, the L.A. Times‘ Carina Chocano and the Wall Street Journal‘s Joe Morgenstern) and racking up a sad 31% Rotten Tomatoes rating, anyone looking to seriously push it for Best Picture is going to look like some kind of clueless clod. Even Zhang Ziyi’s performance won’t have much heat either after today. “Ms. Zhang…shows none of the heartache and steel of her astonishing performance in Wong Kar-wai’s 2046,” Dargis observes. “When her character crumbles with desire in that film, Ms. Zhang’s face seems to break into pieces — you can scarcely believe she could put it whole again. Here [in Geisha], you can hardly believe it’s the same actress.”