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Marshall Fine Headshot

The Scourge of Oscar Pundits

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Here's what I loved about this year's Emmy Awards:

Well, nothing, really -- I didn't watch them. I avoid award shows like they were herpes -- and they tend to spread just that easily.

But there was one thing I thought of afterward that did make me smile: all the pundits who were so drastically wrong in their predictions about who would and wouldn't win, because the awards were so unpredictably scattered among various shows in the top categories.

I've come to hate pundits of all kinds, despite the fact that I occasionally (less and less, I hope) act as one. And just so we're all talking about the same thing, let me define what I mean by pundit.

I'm referring to anyone who bloviates -- in print, online or on the air -- about what the outcome of some upcoming competition or event will be and why, based on his or her personal knowledge of the subject, as well as his or her inside (usually unnamed) sources in the field.

I'm referring to political pundits who -- even now, more than three years before the next presidential election -- are already predicting who will not only be the major party candidates but who will win the presidency.

I'm referring to sports pundits who -- even now, before the baseball playoffs have begun -- are predicting which teams will slug it out in the World Series. Or, a month into the NFL season, are telling us which teams will be facing off in a snowy Super Bowl in New Jersey next February. (Oops, didn't mean to be a weather pundit there.)

Most of all, because this is what I do for a living, I'm speaking about the Oscar pundits. I've come to regard the Oscars as so much bulls*** anyway, an increasingly irrelevant finale to a bloated and meaningless awards season that seems to last forever. There are dozens of year-end films that no one has seen yet, but Oscar pundits have been calculating different movies' odds since January.

Here's what pundits have in common: If they don't have an opinion that attracts attention, if they can't start an argument with their opining -- well, they're practically out of a job. Not that their predictions or opinions mean anything, certainly not at this time of the year. That doesn't keep them from expressing them, prominently and loudly.

This commentary continues on my website.