In last night’s “Best Picture Race Is Over Then?” piece, I expressed shock and disappointment about Kris Tapley‘s 9.4 Variety column, “Oscar Voters Are Sure to Go Gaga for Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born.” Tapley said that A Star Is Born has “the muscle to achieve what only three films in movie history ever have: Win all five major Academy Awards (picture, director, actor, actress, and screenplay)…it’s that kind of accomplishment.”

I said I’ve nothing against the idea of Cooper’s film sweeping the Oscars, but I find it deflating to read such a declaration (a) only four days into September, (b) before the Toronto Film Festival has even begun and (c) with awards season having kicked off only six or seven days ago.

Tapley comment-thread response to HE: “[What I wrote is] not a prediction; it’s a description of the film’s capabilities. I would’ve thought that obvious. Who would predict the Best Picture winner right now?”

HE to Tapley: Have you declared that one or two of the other apparent or presumptive Best Picture contenders this year “have the muscle” to achieve “what only three films” have managed in history, which is to win the top five Oscars — Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay? You said it’s “that kind of accomplishment and more.” What other 2018 award-season release has, in your opinion, brandished this kind of potential or pedigree thus far?

Tapley to HE: “I have not. But that still doesn’t make it a prediction. I also said in the year of pandering with a ‘popular’ Oscar it would be quite the moment to hand a movie like Roma the Best Picture Oscar. That’s not a prediction either. If me saying ‘I’m not predicting this will win Best Picture, I’m just saying it has what it takes to do so’ isn’t enough, well, shit. What’s a guy to do?”

HE to Tapley: I haven’t yet seen A Star Is Born so what do I know? I’ll tell you what I know. I know that I feel like someone who’s been anticipating and preparing for an exciting five-month Cannonball Run road trip across the country, and that I’m all packed and ready and rarin’ to go, and then the night before I’m about to leave Officer Tapley with the Highway Patrol knocks on my door at 9 pm and says, “Look, I don’t want to dampen your spirits but there’s almost no point in leaving because Bradley ‘King Shit’ Cooper has already taken the trip and printed the road map and won the Cannonball Run prize.”

Dressed in a freshly pressed uniform and wearing a Smokey the Bear hat and a calm expression, Officer Tapley puts a gentle hand on my shoulder and says, “I’m sorry to be the bearer and I know it hurts, but Cooper has already aced it…he’s already surpassed whatever you or anyone else might hope to gain or learn or experience as you make your way across the United States of Hollywood landscape. I don’t mean to pour water all over your hopes and dreams but I’m a Highway Patrolman with years of experience and I have friends at Warner Bros. who’ve shown me the proof so I’m just leveling with you.

“I know it feels disappointing but you and Alfonso Cuaron and Ted Sarandos and Lisa Taback and Damien Chazelle and Peter Farrelly and Marielle Heller and Paul Schrader and Yorgos Lanthimos might as well unpack right now and save yourselves the stress and gas money because whatever benefits you might hope to gain from your Cannonball Run excursion…don’t let me stop you but I’m just being straight. My Warner Bros. friends as well as King-Shit Cooper himself have convinced me that you and your pallies will almost certainly be wasting your time in a sense. But please, go with God.”