The biggest “what?” in Oscar Talk #74 (posted Friday, 12.16) is Anne Thompson‘s remark that Moneyball‘s Bennett Miller may not make the DGA and Academy Best Director finals given competition from Hugo‘s Martin Scorsese, War Horse‘s Steven Spielberg and…The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius?

Reality check: Enjoy The Artist and vote for it if you must, but the efforts of a director of “a cute gimmick stretched to feature length” (in the words of N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis) cannot be ranked above Miller’s immaculate Moneyball finessing. The Godz will simply not have it.

On top of which War Horse is mostly sentimental crap and Hugo is too long and labored and doesn’t really lift off the ground until the last 25 minutes so c’mon…get real.

Otherwise it’s fascinating to hear Tapley and Thompson differ sharply over The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — i.e., Tapley’s seething contempt for almost everything in it except for Rooney Mara‘s performance as Lisbeth Salander vs. Thompson’s appreciation of David Fincher‘s film being, in her view, a first-rate genre piece, and superior to the 2009 Danish-Swedish film