Silver Linings Playbook helmer David O. Russell is the possible weak sister among the projected Best Director Oscar nominees? I really, really don’t think so despite Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan having concluded that Ben Affleck, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hooper are “already absolute locks…aren’t they?” No, they aren’t. Not all three, I mean. Buchanan is reading two-week-old leaves.

Affleck, yes, but Hooper? Surely Buchanan has heard of the Les Miz blowback by now. And Spielberg? Why, because Lincoln is his best film since Schindler’s List and he needs to be rewarded for not succumbing to his usual instincts? Or because he and Jaunusz Kaminski went completely whole-hog on that milky white light flooding through the non-existent windows in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber? Or because he’s worth $3 billion and Academy members will receive a kind of goodwill dividend if they nominate him?