Save for James L. Brooks’ Brooks’ Spanglish (which was test-screened in near-final form last week in Orange, California) and Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, all the presumed end-of-the-year contenders are now being seen and sized-up in little post-screening huddles outside screening rooms, and there are no emphatic “wow, this is really it” views being pushed by anyone…except, as noted below, in certain quarters, for The Phantom of the Opera. The latest entry to receive mixed grades is Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, allegedly due to problems that manifest during its second half. Mention the superb-ness of Sideways and everyone agrees and nods respectfully, but the only thing I’m hearing definitively about Alexander Payne’s film awards-wise is that is that it’ll most probably take the Best Picture trophy from the New York and L.A. Film Critics. And the more people talk about Bill Condon’s Kinsey, the better-off it’s sounding. It’s the high-toned, mid-sized films that people are warming to more than anything else.