Variety‘s Ben Fritz noted last Sunday that “if there’s one thing the Academy can’t be accused of this year, it’s catering to popular whims,” adding that “in a year when the five best picture nominees combined grossed only about $200 million domestic- ally, and four of them can be called hits only compared with their low budgets, some argue there’s a profound disconnect between what appeals to the industry vs. the public at large.” What…that lament again? Oscar winners need to be big money-makers or they somehow aren’t legit? Shit, sonny. “But it’s not just the Best Picture nominees. Across the board, 2005 was a brutal year for all but a handful of prestige movies. Whether ultimately praised by Oscar voters or not, pics from respected helmers including Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Curtis Hanson, Rob Marshall, Ridley Scott, Lasse Hallstrom, Cameron Crowe, Sam Mendes, Niki Caro, Roman Polanski and Terrence Malick all underperformed in American theaters.” And then the Bagger (a.k.a., N.Y. Times Oscar columnist David Carr) responded by saying, “You can say that again, although you don’t have to. Remember Jarhead? What about In Her Shoes? Still trying to forget, right? And Elizabethtown? Well, the Bagger is still trying to excise that sucker from his brainpan.” His basic point is that Fritz’s story “failed to bring up one immutable fact: A lot of the movies that came and went stunk.” Whoa, whoa…hold up there. In Her Shoes didn’t stink, not by a long shot. It’s one of the best chick flicks ever made (and still is..right up there with Terms of Endearment), which means it wasn’t a chick flick in the end because it so completely surpassed the usual quality levels common to that genre, and it contained two performances — Toni Collette’s and Shirley MacLaine’s — that should have resulted in Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. The idea that Keira Knightley was nominated in the former category and Collete wasn’t is nothing short of appalling.