Deadline‘s Pete Hammond doesn’t write articles that report about this or that film teetering or losing steam in the Oscar race. He writes articles that ask “is this or that film teetering or losing steam in the Oscar race?” But combine Hammond’s piece with a similar one from TheWrap‘s Steve Pond, and you have “a situation”, I’d say.

The bottom line is that however Stephen Daldry‘s Extremely Loud & Extremely Close (Warner Bros., 12.25) fares in a commercial or award-winning realm, it began showing too late (and DVD screeners were sent out too late) to stir sufficient conversation as the Golden Globe and SAG nominations were being decided. It was blanked by both orgs. No critics group has so far awarded any aspect (including Max Von Sydow‘s supporting performance as an elderly mute, which attracted early buzz), although EL&IC has (or had) been nominated by the BFCA, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Houston Film Critics Society, the Phoenix Film Critics Society and the San Diego Film Critics Society in this and that category.

Daldry was quoted yesterday morning by N.Y. Times “Carpetbagger” columnist Melena Ryzik about the delay: “I’m a fiddly director,” he said. “Any director would like to keep shooting. If it were up to me I’d keep shooting for another year. But we had to finish.”

So far Extremely Loud has a dismaying 50% Rotten Tomatoes rating. The balance could shift as more reviews arrive between now and opening day, but negative reactions from the Associated Press’s Dave Germain,Variety‘s Pete Debruge and Screen International‘s Brent Simon speak for themselves.

That said, the film got an intensely positive, highly emotional response from a mixture of press, guild members and Joe Schmoes when I saw it at the Los Angeles County Museum on 12.8. There was an older, overweight woman sitting behind me who moaned at times during the screening, and then she stood up and cheered when the film ended. I don’t relate to people like this, but Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close will almost certainly connect with paying audiences if this woman was at all representative.