MSN doesn’t like to timestamp, but they’ve recently posted another cogent summary of the Best Picture race, this time from the highly perceptive Glenn Whipp:

“The template for this year’s Oscar race was carved in stone in September when The King’s Speech premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and The Social Network opened the New York Film Festival. In one corner, you had a film that had seemingly checked off every box in its appeal to Academy voters — Royals! Period piece! Lofty British drama! Triumph over disability! Triumph over Nazis! — and, in the other, you had a movie with an unlikable, socially awkward genius protagonist directed by David Fincher, an unlikable, socially awkward genius director.

“That dynamic — young vs. old, Facebook vs. Mr. Darcy — hasn’t changed in the ensuing four months. And even with the late entry of three critically acclaimed box-office successes — True Grit, Black Swan and The Fighter — this year’s best picture trophy will recognize either the emotional uplift of The King’s Speech or the exhilarating immediacy of The Social Network.

“And, from all appearances, it looks like voters are going with their hearts and not their heads.

“Time will tell whether a win for King’s Speech will be a source of embarrassment to the Academy akin to, say, Ordinary People beating Raging Bull or Dances With Wolves prevailing over Goodfellas. I’d argue that Fincher’s movie is nowhere near as accomplished as the two Scorsese films and that naysayers undervalue all the ways Speech goes against conventionality. But Social Network supporters tend to stamp their feet when differing viewpoints are offered, so my reasoning would probably fall on deaf ears anyway.”

Fincher is unlikable? Where does that come from? He’s never been anything but warm and gracious with me.