“Inherently and unfairly, timing counts in the Oscars. These days, potential winners try to land in the consciousness of voters sometime between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. A movie that opens in the last couple weeks of December can’t hope to define the race, only to disrupt it, which is probably why no December release since Million Dollar Baby 10 years ago has won the big prize. However, a movie that opens as early as Boyhood did (on July 11) has almost as big a challenge. It doesn’t have to just beat every other film, it has to withstand them — and if it does, it then has to withstand complaints from people who will be bored by how long it’s been the front-runner. So it’s safer, and probably more accurate, to consider Boyhood an underdog right now. Just like Crash and The Hurt Locker were at this point in the year. That, too, makes it formidable. In October, a long shot is exactly what an Oscar contender wants to be.” — from Mark Harris‘s 10.2 Grantland column.