On writers' role in best-pic noms: If you see something thats really good, whether its being feted or not, its a miracle everything worked. The first thing that had to work was a very good script. Thats the very first thing that happened. [As you see] in the directors guild nominations, four out of five [nominees] are writer-directors. I think youre seeing singular visions. People who have final cut. Theyre very personal [films]. On the lack of sentimentality among the best-pic noms: With a lot of the films this year theres a real lack of sentimentality. I dont know what the snapshot of these best pictures really tells you. The audience is so fragmented right now in so many ways. The awards are so fragmented and the presidential races are so fragmented. Theres a lot going on. I think its very difficult to make a cultural snapshot while youre right in the middle of it. -- Gina Piccalo, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Myles Aronowitz / Warner Bros.