I realize I’m pretty much alone in believing that Oscar pundits should try and lead a little bit — maybe even inspire on some level — in their award-season scribblings. They could and should do this, I feel, by subtly or superstitiously or irrationally stepping outside the box and doing more than just predicting which films and performances the Hollywood voting community is going to favor. Now and then, at least.

Like me and Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil and one or two others, they should mysteriously and inconsistently blend their predictions with some personal conviction of their own — a little feeling, a little seat-of-the-pants instinct or passion or spittoon-spitting. I realize that some sorta kinda do this but others seem averse. With a soapbox comes responsibility, and I think they should try to stir the pot and rouse the choir a little. From November to mid December, at least. Or until early January…whatever.

I only know there can’t be anything more tedious than to just sit in the bleachers and say, “I think the Academy’s going to vote for this” or “No, no, I think you’re wrong…the Academy is going to vote for that!” What could be worse than to be lying on your deathbed and saying to yourself, “Well, I sure knew how to quack like a duck when it came to Oscar predictions!”

Some pundits and columnists make a practice, I realize, of posting their personal year-end favorites with no attention paid to politics or award predictions or anything. I just did this earlier today, and I realize that posting such a list is an acknowledgement that politics and box-office and predictions are mostly what columnists pay attention to. We all know what the game is. I obviously play it and pay my bills with the ad revenue. But every so often you have to stand up and be yourself and…you know, expand the repertoire.

I’m respectfully requesting here and now that those who haven’t yet posted a personal preferences list to do so. Clean out your head and throw caution to the winds and just say what you really feel about the films you’ve seen this year. Your readers would like to know, and so would I.