Movieline‘s latest Oscar Index is a typical example of how clubhouse, path-of-least-resistance spitballing manifests when you’re tasked with reconfiguring these charts week after week. It’s all about familiar emotional default. Take your standard Spielberg kowtowism, ignore the tendencies on view in his last war film (i.e., the one about Martians, particularly the happy finale) and throw in the recently-dropped War Horse trailer, the horse all but crying in close-up…obviously the Best Picture contender to beat. Simple, easy and who’s to dispute?

In my somewhat more real-worldish Oscar Balloon chart Moneyball and The Descendants share the top two positions followed by War Horse (because the saps will always champion shameless-emotional-appeal movies of this sort), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Help, The Artist (its fate will depend on how well it does with the public) and Midnight in Paris. I’ve heard that the tone of The Iron Lady is “light”, but that needn’t be a problem in itself, if true. J. Edgar is in limbo for the time being, based on something I heard last weekend. I’m not sure that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy will be judged as Best Picture-type contender — it’s more of a Gary Oldman-for-Best Actor show.