N.Y. Times “Carpetbagger” columnist Melena Ryzik is a sharp operator and a first-rate journalist. And every year she earns the column’s reputation by stepping into award-season coverage late in the game…fine. But for whatever reason I felt more than slightly irritated by her 12.4 post called “Eyes On the Prize: Oscar Season Preview.” Hardcore awards-tracking watchers and handicappers like myself and Sasha Stone and Scott Feinberg have been riding the rails for over seven months now (i.e., since the 2013 Cannes Film Festival) and humping it extra-hard since Telluride, Venice and Toronto (or for the last 13 weeks), and then Melena comes breezing into the room with her video crew and writes, “The Oscars are not until March but the jockeying for position has already begun.” Early December is “already”? If you count Cannes the jockeying for position has been going on since last spring or certainly since Labor Day, and Melena knows that. And yet she’s….what, dumbing her coverage down because she has to keep it brief and simple because the typical N.Y. Times reader doesn’t want award-season coverage to sound too complex?

Elizabeth Taylor‘s Cleopatra: “We’ve gotten off to a bad start, haven’t we? I’ve done nothing but rub you the wrong way.” Rex Harrison‘s Ceasar: “I’m not sure I want to be rubbed by you at all, young lady.”