It's no news in this corner that people have strong feelings about the movies — both the ones they champion and the ones they do not.
So I wasn't surprised when folks responded to my column last week that suggested Oscar voters might be asking themselves years from now why they chose "The Artist" over "The Descendants" as best picture of the year.
I invited readers to say what they thought of the Academy Awards — the show and also who won, particularly best picture.
G.R. Florine said the telecast was average, "but at least it wasn't a marathon this year.
"But I have to disagree with you on best picture," Florine wrote. "I thought 'The Artist' was, by a narrow margin, the best film." He said he was disappointed in "The Descendants," finding it void of real passion. "George Clooney has a very narrow range as an actor, and his performances, in my opinion, vary little from film to film."
Florine said the recent tragic death of a loved one might have colored his feeling that clinical detachment was more on display than his sense of grief. He said director Alexander Payne "has a tendency toward some flippancy" and "a little cynical amusement at serious situations" that were more effective in his other films. For Florine, "The Descendants" covered some of the same ground "About Schmidt" did.
He found "The Artist" enthralling and entertaining throughout.
But he wishes the Academy would go back to five best-picture nominees. "War Horse," he said, was the worst movie Steven Spielberg has ever made.
Brian Fisher said the Oscar show was one of the best he could remember. Fisher's quibble was with supporting-actress winner Octavia Spencer, for not having a better speech prepared in spite of being the odds-on favorite.
Four other readers agreed with me that "The Artist" should not have won.
"I thought 'The Descendants' was one of the best pictures I've ever seen," said Jean Phelan. "I was so disgusted George Clooney didn't win best actor that I shut the TV off and read about the other winners in the paper the next day."
"The Artist," she predicted, will be quickly forgotten.
Jim Martin said his personal choice was "Hugo," though he liked "The Descendants" better than the winner as well.
"It's always subjective to choose the best in the arts," he wrote, "but this year is likely to cause some head-shaking in the future."
Carole Stephens said it was "a travesty" that "The Artist" won over "The Descendants," though the former was "an interesting experiment." She theorized that "The Artist's" story about the movie business resonated more with Academy voters than with the rest of us. "I really feel bad for Payne and Clooney," she said.
Gloria Dunbar phoned that she was "blown away" by "The Descendants," while her response to "The Artist" was to wonder what all the hoopla was about. "The look on Clooney's face when his daughter told him, 'Mom's been cheating on you' was worth the Oscar on its own," Dunbar said.
As for other years when the Academy blew it on best picture, readers more than doubled my list.
"The obvious example is 'Crash' beating 'Brokeback Mountain,' even with Ang Lee winning best director," Martin said. "My reaction to the announcement was, 'Nooooooo.' "
George Miller, a longtime wire editor in our newsroom, wrote, "It's always cheesed me off that '2001: A Space Odyssey', one of the most groundbreaking, visionary movies ever made, with fantastic special effects that predated computers, with a thought-provoking beginning and end, lost to — the movie version of 'Oliver.' "
Miller's pick wasn't even a best-pic nominee.
Sue Vinton said "everyone knows" that "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" should have won over "Midnight Cowboy," since it's gone on to become a classic "despite the Academy's ignorance."
Tim Sacco, another newsroom editor, agreed on "Brokeback Mountain" over "Crash," as well as picking "The Social Network" over "The King's Speech." But he also preferred "The Artist" to "The Descendants."
Florine said "the most glaring goof" was the year "Shakespeare in Love" won over "Saving Private Ryan." He blamed producer Harvey Weinstein's effective "propaganda onslaught," an advertising blitz targeting Oscar voters that was a boost for "The Artist" as well.
The last word goes to The World-Herald's executive editor, Mike Reilly, who said "Pulp Fiction" was an innovative triumph with its manipulation of chronology and its use of violence as comedy. Winner "Forrest Gump," he said, was sweet but soft-headed revisionist history, an offense to people who lived through the 1960s and 1970s or studied the era.
"It wasn't even the best heartwarming film of the year," he said of Gump. "That would be 'Shawshank Redemption,' a stronger rival to 'Pulp Fiction,' in my view."
Thanks to all who weighed in.
Hear World-Herald reviewer Bob Fischbach's summary of what's opening each week at the movies Friday mornings on KQKQ-FM, 98.5, at 8:50 a.m.; and The Big O, 101.9, at 8:35 a.m.