“In 2004 the Academy Awards show was moved to late February, the Golden Globes and other awards programs went even earlier, and the studios had one [less] month for their movies to benefit from Oscar-related publicity,” reports Chicago Tribune entertainment reporter Mark Caro in a piece that basically says that October is the new December as far as the Oscar race is concerned.

“So instead of going wide with movies in January and even February of the following year, the studios began releasing many of their Oscar contenders well before New Year’s to help them gain traction with awards voters as well as the public.

“Of last year’s best picture nominees, only Letters From Iwo Jima was released after October. For the others — The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen and Babel — the Oscar ‘bump’ was felt in DVD sales. ‘The studios are still doing their Oscar pushes, but in years past they used to start at Christmas, and now they finish at Christmas,’ said Tom Bernard, Sony Picture Classics co-president.”

That’s not true — they keep campaigning until the Academy’s Oscar nomination deadline time, which is on or about January 20th. (Or something like that.) And then it’s on to Phase Two.