We're more than a little with you, oh gentle Midwestern critics.
Still haven't grokked Babel, The Queen, or Clint Eastwood's big two. Thing is, and I've had some lengthy discussions of late about this, I don't think my seeing them will change my mind a whit about the unbelievable snubbing of Children of Men, save for in the technical categories, where if the Academy hadn't nominated it, they would be truly, adamently bonkers, not just merely the middlebrowers that they are.
It seems that every year the overall nominees become better and better, with glaring, sometimes unbelievably dunderheaded nominations being passed around for what I can only assume are private megamanical celebrations of unadulterated power. I would be giving them a little too much credit if I indulged that belief. This year, however, there seem to be no real terrible nominations (only a major, rather mainstream snub with COM)
In the end, I say I don't care about the Oscars, but I'm lying, because a win for Gladiator has given us plenty of movies like it where Braveheart sufficed, and I shudder to think of the pail of Crash imitaters that might surface, but that could be a knee-jerk. Would I be upset if more people made movies like Babel? Well, I haven't seen it, but probably not. There's nothing that's been nominated this year that could do any damage, not really, and I won't be upset if any of them go home with the big prize (though a win for Little Miss Sunshine might be pushing it, it's absolutely impossible to get upset for any reason over such a funny little flick)
I wholeheartedly agree that lighter fare should sometimes win. After all, Little Miss Sunshine is serious business, just like all great comedy.
In the end, it's foolish for the most part to assume you have a classic on your hands until after years pass. Name a best picture winner other than Titanic, or maybe The Lord of the Rings that you really remember or think about anymore. There are some, to be sure, but it might be harder than you think. It's your memory that decides what's great or not. When you're done with it, and a year later it still rocks you, then you might be on to something.
Addendum: So having said that, why am I not saying anything about the posthumous Altman snub? After all, A Prairie Home Companion is also lighter fair as well as serious business, and LMS can't come close to touching it. Well, here's the thing, what I said about memory and yadda yadda yadda yadda. All true, but sometimes you know. And most of the time they don't. They only begrudgingly give out accolades to any person whose entire career was devoted to giving the industry the finger.