I have nothing new to say about the race, but I found this interesting take by Peter Howell, film critic for Star.com:
Call me perverse, but I actually feel sorry for James Cameron.
This is a very strange admission to make, because I'm not in the habit of extending sympathy to wealthy and powerful directors who have Changed the Face of Cinema ™ with a $2 billion-grossing film about sexy blue giants.
But I feel vaguely melancholic for how badly Avatar has slipped in recent Oscar polls.
In awards terms, the film has gone from being unstoppable to being almost an also-ran. Latest indications are that The Hurt Locker will take Best Picture at the Academy Awards on March 7, along with Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow, Cameron's ex-wife.
How fleeting are the fickle enchantments of love! Wasn't it just yesterday that we were all loving us some Na'vi, turning ourselves blue in the face with excitement over Avatar potentially becoming the first pure sci-fi film to win Best Picture?
This doesn't seem likely to happen now – The Hurt Locker is on a roll, winning international awards and new converts – and Cameron isn't going to take it well. He was prepared to let Bigelow make history as the first woman to win Best Director, but he wanted a Best Picture trophy to join all the Titanic hardware he has on his mantel.
Avatar will still likely win a slew of technical awards, but for a guy as competitive as Cameron, that's like kissing your sister.
Really, though, he has only himself and his ego to blame.
The tide starting turning against him at the Golden Globes last month, when Avatar beat The Hurt Locker for best dramatic film.
A puffing and preening Cameron acted as if he'd discovered the cure for cancer, and not just made a very popular picture that sold one hell of a pile of popcorn.
He compared his fake Avatar world of Pandora to Earth and suggested that his movie hasn't just Changed the Face of Cinema ™, it's also an excellent example for tree-huggers to follow.
"If you have to go 4 1/2 light years to another, made-up planet to appreciate this miracle of the world that we have right here, well, you know what, that's the wonder of cinema right there, that's the magic," he boasted.
He spoke part of his acceptance speech in his fake Avatar language of Na'vi, delighting fanboys everywhere but making true cinephiles cringe.
You could almost hear the air hissing out of Avatar's sapphire zeppelin right then and there. Hollywood loves a winner, but not a braggart.
Many pundits made comparisons between Cameron's Golden Globes debacle and his much-mocked "I'm King of the World!" boast at the Academy Awards in 1998, when he accepted his Best Director prize for Titanic, one of 11 record-tying Oscars that film won.
Here's where I actually do have genuine sympathy for Cameron. I've gone onto YouTube and looked at the tape of Cameron accepting that award. I think he looks sincerely honoured, not arrogant.
"I don't know about you, but I'm having a really great time," he begins. He thanks his cast and crew: "You guys gave me pure gold every day, and I share this gold with you."
He gives special thanks to his parents ("my original producers"), seeming almost about to break into tears when he mentions them being in the audience.
When he lets loose with his "I'm King of the World!" yell, it sounds more prideful than boastful, even when he punctuates it with a couple of whoops and a Rocky-style champion arm lift. The "King of the World" line is a key one in Titanic; he didn't just confer the title upon himself for no reason.
The only reason to knock Cameron's speech is for its length. At 1:34, it's more than double the 45-second maximum requested by the Academy. But he was not alone in ignoring a time limit that the Academy has only recently started to get serious about.
I think he's been unfairly maligned over this incident, probably because he generally is a pretty arrogant guy. Modesty doesn't come easily to him.
He will have to get used to it, though, come March 7, when The Hurt Locker wins Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow is crowned the Queen of the World as Best Director.
Sorry, Jim, but you "blue" it.