This week I was in the mood for a stream-of-consciousness rant:
It's apparently still a big secret that, just as certain films are marketed to teenage boys, other films are marketed specifically to the critics, with the long view set squarely on Oscar night. These films come with a professional polish, and usually contain 20 or 30 minutes of extra footage. They practically scream "Oscar," but most critics can't seem to hear. Roger Ebert, even after 40 years of experience, was fooled into voting for Crash as the best picture of 2005, a decision that I'm sure helped to fuel Oscar voters. And Peter Travers practically lines up the ten most likely Oscar nominees every year in his December list.
Films like All the King's Men and the other shoo-ins for award consideration are screened in advance, plenty of times, for hungry critics. Basically it's the studios and advertisers who are deciding which of these films get the awards push. Frankly, I'd sooner vote for Borat, Snakes on a Plane or Ultraviolet for Best Picture than All the King's Men, The Last King of Scotland (56 screens), Copying Beethoven (26 screens) or others of that ilk.