Watch Oscar experts battle over those ‘crazy’ races for Best Picture and Director

Good thing HuffPo film editor Chris Rosen has a jolly sense of humor. Soon after entertainment editor Michael Hogan and I raise him up as a model of Oscar punditry for picking “Argo” early on to win Best Picture, we tear him down in this webcam chat for his wacky prophesy that Michael Haneke (“Amour“) will win Best Director.

Hogan (politely) labels the Hanake call “crazy,” but he declines my invitation to join me in knocking some Oscar sense into Rosen. “I’m afraid to pile on,” he says. “I have visions of this happening and then Chris doing a war dance over my dead body.”

But I can’t hold back, so I lambast Rosen for “hanging from a shaky twig on a thin limb that’s dangling over a precipice.” Watch the panic on his face as Rosen scrambles to defend the indefensible.

“I don’t think it has zero chance of happening!” he insists. “I know people like Steven Spielberg and he could easily win, but there hasn’t really been that much juice around him and, as far I know, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama don’t get to vote for the Oscars. Maybe Ang Lee is a legitimate option since that film certainly has a lot of support with 11 nominations. But it’s a crazy year … so why not Michael Hanake? Who cares?”

Weighing the possibility that Lee might win the helmer’s laurels, Hogan gasps, “That would be so weird if he did that again!”

The first two times that Lee got nominated for Best Director, that category went to a film that didn’t win Best Picture. When he won for “Brokeback Mountain,” “Crash” pulled off a jawdropper for Best Picture. When he was nominated for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”) won Best Director and “Gladiator” won Best Picture.

“Call it the Ang Lee effect!” Hogan roars.

See the predictions of 25 leading Oscarologists in all categories here. See the racetrack odds and rankings that are generated when those predictions are combined.

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