On January 24, 2010, Michael Cieply wrote in the The New York Times that the race for Best PIcture was a "wide-open contest" and a "free-for-all." The Hurt Locker eventually won.
On January 14, 2011, Cieply's colleague on his NYT Capetbagger blog, Melena Ryzik, couldn't list less than five favorites for Best Picture. On January 25, Cieply, with colleague Brooks Barnes, called the race a "wild scramble," again listing five movies as close competitors. The King's Speech eventually won.
Now we go to last year's 2012 race.
On January 9, 2012, Cieply wrote that the Oscar race was particularly "wide open," in a "chaotic" contest. After the nominations were released, on January 24, Cieply and Brooks Barnes wrote that the "chaotic" season found some order, narrowing the field to no less than four primary contenders, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Artist and The Descendants.
But in 20/20 hindsight, their view of the previous years' races had changed.
On the 2010 race: By January it "had turned into a match between The Hurt Locker... and Avatar."
On the 2011 race: "By this time (1/9) last year, The King's Speech had been all but crowned best picture."
Not exactly the free-for-all wild scrambles they had written about at the time.
So I waited with bated breath to see just how wide-open Mr. Cieply et al. would call this year's race, and just as importantly, whether they would misremember last year's wide-open chaos.
Well, he did not disappoint. And he proved that he definitely does not read this blog, let alone his previous years' coverage.
As early as December 13, 2012, he and Barnes were jumping the gun with their annual amazement at how wide open the Best Picture race is.
"The movie industry's self-congratulatory season is typically well defined by now, with favorites firmly established and potential dark horses looming. Although 'Lincoln' is certainly the front-runner, consensus has yet to form around any best picture contender...."
Yesterday, Ryzik, wrote that up until the nominations were announced, the Oscar race "could have gone in almost any direction." She now lists three nominees as favorites: Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi, although, to be fair, she calls Lincoln a "heavy frontrunner".
And yesterday, Cieply and Barnes called Lincoln "a leader," but not a dominant one. Certainly not as dominant as last year's steamroller... The Artist!
"In Oscar terms,... it remains to be seen if 'Lincoln' [will be] like 'The Artist,' which last year established dominance (with help from its cheery Jack Russell terrier co-star, Uggie) and went on to win...."
Even Uggie can't believe it.
[UPDATE (1/11/13, 3:48pm ET): This was inspired by Tim Carvell's pioneering work in the field of Oscar Amnesia. I referenced a vague memory of this 2002 article in my first post, last year, and Tim has just stepped forward as its author. I did not remember this, but it was funny to learn that Tim's article was ALSO about the The New York Times and its Oscar beat reporter, at that time Rick Lyman.]
Thanks to Tom the Dancing Bug reader @fangcreatures for tweeting pictures of @ChuckMathias1 in constume-party gear dressed as everyone's favorite canine plutocrat, Hollingsworth Hound. You can just hear the GRRRRR!
Chuck gets my vote to play Hollingsworth in the Lucky Ducky movie.