(CBS News) What would Academy Awards Sunday be without our own Oscar prognosticator David Edelstein?
Last year, I sat here and. Had I gabbed with Academy members? Nope. Can I foretell the future? Sorry. Did I just love the big winner, "The Artist"? Definitely not.
I'd simply read certain columnists who'd been spun by certain publicists who'd been hired by certain studios that had squired certain nominees around Hollywood to screenings and cocktail parties to influence the votes of a few thousand people -- most over 55, white, well-off and liberal.
This year it's even busier. Harvey Weinstein, all-mighty poobah of Oscar buzz, got Dr. Mehmet Oz to extol "Silver Linings Playbook" for its insights into mental illness.
Look, I like the movie. It's a good, dark rom-com about a couple of cute depressives. Maybe it's even therapeutic to see people crazier than WE are. I'm just not certain of its medical efficacy.
Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg brought in a master to spin for "Lincoln": Bill Clinton! You hire awards consultants like political consultants. You stay ahead of the message.
Or you end up like Kathryn Bigelow, whose phenomenal "Zero Dark Thirty" was an early favorite, but maybe a tad fast-and-loose with facts in saying torture led to the courier who led to bin Laden. True or false, the controversy hasn't played well -- proof in one way torture doesn't work. Reportedly. I've read this, from columnists spun by publicists working for "Zero Dark Thirty" rivals.
They also say it's "Argo" for Best Picture because people feel bad that Ben Affleck wasn't nominated for Best Director -- his loss the movie's gain. And it doesn't hurt that the film makes Hollywood types look heroic.
Clinton might help Spielberg win Best Director. I'm guessing Dr. Oz fave Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, though there's a dark horse in "Amour"'s Emmanuelle Riva.
Anne Hathaway has been on the campaign trail for "Les Miserables" and she'll get it, not in spite of looking like a chicken when she sings but BECAUSE of it. Flamboyant anti-vanity: It sells.
I'm betting Tommy Lee Jones for "Lincoln," but some are predicting Robert De Niro for "Silver Linings Playbook" if people find Jones too much of a sourpuss, which he kind of is.
The lock, of course, is Daniel Day-Lewis, who as Shakespeare would say "doth bestride the narrow world like a colossus."
Now, none of this has much to do with what I laughingly call "artistic merit." And except for Day-Lewis, none are my choices.
Although they might be if I heard from, say, Bill Clinton . . . or better yet, Jennifer Lawrence. Call me, babe. I wanna be on the inside, where Oscars really get decided.