Today's must-read piece comes from that most reliable source of must-read pieces, Mark Harris, who this time digs deep into the whats, hows and whys of Oscar's screenplay awards. As he so snappily puts it, the Academy's writers' branch has "much the same taste as Academy members overall -- only better." It's certainly the area where challenging indie and foreign-language films stand the greatest chance of recognition, and where sweeping juggernauts like "Avatar" (and to go further back in time, "The Sound of Music") are most likely to come a cropper. As the high-gloss prestige films fight for their attention, will the writers once more stick up for the likes of "Take Shelter" and "A Separation?"  [Grantland]

Nathaniel Rogers gives me premature Christmas panic by predicting the Golden Globe musical/comedy nods. [The Film Experience]

Anne Thompson rounds up the scattered early reactions to the long-delayed "The Rum Diary." [Thompson on Hollywood]

Tim Robey on our exciting, if curiously scrambled, introduction this year to Jessica Chastain. [The Telegraph]

The Playlist's Gabe Toro tells Jeff Wells that "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" isn't half bad. [Hollywood Elsewhere]

You know what deserves awards recognition in the sound categories? "We Need To Talk About Kevin." Here's why. [Framescourer]

Because I know Potter-heads appreciate every bit of recognition, the "Deathly Hallows" twins are going head-to-head at the BAFTA Children's Awards. [BAFTA]

In a neat bit of thematic circularity, 1998 Best Picture champ "Shakespeare in Love" is heading to the London stage. [The Guardian]

The Academy won't reveal the number of Best Picture nominees before announcing them. Well, why would they? [Awards Daily]

Will Ferrell wins the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. I've always thought of Twain and Ferrell as spiritual cousins. [New York Times]