Those Tom O’Neil calls about the lead Oscar ponies are way early, obviously, but they sound reasonable. It’s cool that O’Neil shares my excitement about George Clooney’s Goodnight, and Good Luck (Warner Bros., October) as something that might warrant excitement. It may sound presumptuous to speculate that David Straitharn’s portrayal of Edward R. Murrow during his ethical showdown against Sen. Joseph McCarthy might (who knows?) punch through on its own terms…but when has Straitharn ever dropped the ball? I’ve only one concern: Murrow’s mystique was very dependent upon the sound of that soothingly authoritative voice of his and I’m wondering if Straitharn can coax his own voice into delivering that special timbre. O’Neil’s prediction about Goodight is, of course, based on absolutely nothing except the fact that the Gold Derby homies want very much to admire and promote the shit out of it if it’s any good. If this happens, they and others may be pushing it for a Best Picture nomination along with Steven Spielberg’s 1972 revenge-for-the-Munich-massacre drama (which I wrote about in early March), Sam Mendes Jarhead, Rob Marshall’s Memories of a Geisha (this website does not approve of geisha films) and Tommy Lee Jones’ The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (a critics’ film but not for the Academy, I fear).