Where would the movie realm be right now if Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert had never dreamt and maneuvered their way into a certain A24 orbit that has strangely transformed itself into a Millennial consciousness brand that is darkening many more brows than just my own?

Hard to say but boy, my heart is not only bleeding right now but staining the wood floors and certainly the carpets. And for some reason a lyric from a mediocre Jimmy Webb song is filling my head…”I don’t think that I can take it ‘cause it took so long to bake it, and we’ll never have that recipe again.” The bad guys are winning!

There are few events presently unfolding on the global stage that deliver more in the way of moral clarity than Ukrainians fighting tooth and nail against the rank evil of Vladimir Putin. If you can’t or won’t put aside peripheral matters and grasp which side is with the angels in this conflict, I don’t know what to say to you. Except that a certain moral fiber or awareness is clearly missing deep down — that your sense of humanity is minus an essential component.

Either you understand that Everything Everywhere All At Once represents not just an aesthetic pestilence but a terrible forced banality…a film that’s a good deal less about verse-jumping and spiritual dreamscapes and a lot more about pulp Marvelism and the relentless drumbeat of identity politics (Asian + queer), or you don’t. Or you do get this and you don’t care, in which case we’re all fucked anyway.

We all understand, sadly, that a certain either-or mindset, born of a certain malevolent social-media logic, has settled into award-season consciousness.

Last year at this time a fundamental shift of allegiance among the Academy middle-grounders happened…a moment when it became clear that a weird 1920s western about repressed queer desire and a refusal to bathe and an anthrax murder scenario just couldn’t be the Best Picture standard bearer, and that a generally decent but underwhelming family fable about singing, destiny and deafness had to replace it…my God, what a totally myopic, solitary confinement prisoncell choice that was!

But it happened, sadly, and what were we left with at the end? Nothing…nothing but a feeling of being surrounded and enveloped by mediocre minds (i.e., the degraded identity-politics principles that flooded the delta when SAG became SAG-AFTRA).

And this year and right now, we’re back in that same dank prison cell with a choice between a multiversian IRS audit-meets-queer politics Marvel film that has stymied and suffocated people of taste and perspective in every corner of the globe and certainly among the storied 45-plus community…a choice between a film by the makers of a metaphysical fart movie called Swiss Army Man and a smart, crafty, populist-pleasure machine that saved the film industry’s ass (in the view of no less a personage than Steven Spielberg).

God help us but the SAG-AFTRA philistines have apparently decided to choose, for the fifth time since the 2017 Oscar ceremony, identity politics symbolism over other considerations…again. Moonlight, Parasite, Nomadland, CODA, EEAAO.

Talk about The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant or The Bitter Tea of General Yen. Or, you know, anything using the word bitter.

Friendo: An Academy voting member passed this along: “One could state with absolute clarity that this year’s Oscar race is a spiritual tugofwar for the Academy’s soul. Choose quality or choose woke. And it looks like the proverbial ‘they’ are going to choose No Academy for Older White Men and Their Wives.

“Henceforth we will be swimming in a sea of mediocrities at the Oscars from now on. The Salieris of the film world have now officially taken over. Let the virtue-signaling continue. It’s appalling. I can’t believe they’re going to give a BP Oscar to these pseudo-artiste clowns who made a film about a farting corpse. Jesus wept.”

Friend of a friend who doesn’t believe in capital letters or apostrophes: