It’s a melancholy moment for all of us, but the Best Picture Oscar campaign for Memoirs of a Geisha seems to be dead in the water, along with any hopes of its director, Rob Marshall, being thought of in a half-serious way as Best Director. What tells me this? Five things. One, strong insect-antennae readings that people are agreeing more and more with my personal conviction that costumes and production design do not a Best Picture make. Two, a 70ish director regarded by yours truly as a harbinger of Academy sentiment is letting it be known he’s no Geisha admirer. Three, a producer I know told me today he “had great expectatons for Geisha going in but I was really bummed [afterwards].” Four, Envelope guy Steve Pond is reporting that the applause at the end of an Academy Geisha screening last Saturday afternoon was “very strong” for Ziyi Zhang and various below-the-line contributors, but that Marshall and pic’s screenwriter Robin Swicord “didn’t draw much applause.” And five, Movie City News’ David Poland is detecting that Geisha‘s Best Picture chances are “fading a little” and commenting that it’s “almost time to drop [Marshall] off the list” of Best Director contenders.” (Poland asks in the same breath, “Will fellow directors vote for a fashion show?”) Even Geisha‘s tireless publicity team (including the gracious and passionate Flo Grace, Lisa Taback and Murray Weissman) must be feeling the dying of the breeze. It’s over for three reasons, if you ask me. One, Geisha feels like a phony cultural hodgepodge (set in Japan, shot in California, spoken in English by Chinese actresses). Two, it simply isn’t good enough to be considered as a Best Picture contender (sometimes the equation really is that simple). And three, the Gods have declared that Marshall must suffer for his glossily dreadful Chicago winning the Best Picture Oscar nearly three years ago. That was a terrible Black Moment in Oscar history (the much more deserving The Pianist should have won), but now revenge is at hand. Or, as they say in Sicilian, “Nun si l’havi a ghiuttiri.”