"The Artist" is looking an increasingly safe bet in any number of Oscar categories, but Best Supporting Actor isn't one of them, and it's all because Academy rules bar canine actors from competing. That's a tough break for the film's remarkable Jack Russell prodigy Uggy, who's no less deserving than some past human nominees in the category I could mention. Gregg Kilday contemplates this injustice. On a side note, meanwhile, what's up with the bumper crop of amazing movie dogs in 2011? Between Uggy, Laika in "Le Havre," Cosmo in "Beginners," Snowy in "Tintin," Skeletor in "50/50" and others, there are at least enough contenders to form a new Oscar category. [Hollywood Reporter]   

For Variety's Contenders series, yours truly contemplates the crossover Oscar potential of Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin." [Variety]

Dave Karger on how "The Help" got a handy boost from this weekend's Governors Awards. Cheers, Oprah. [Entertainment Weekly]

Jenny McCartney on how Brett Ratner's "fag" faux pas scarcely scratches the surface of Hollywood's homphobia. [The Telegraph]

Speaking of which, Tom O'Neil rounds up a gallery of examples to prove that playing gay can net you an Oscar, but only if your character meets his maker. [Gold Derby

David Poland asks Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender about the debatable insinuations of incest in "Shame." [The Hot Blog]

No one else is writing about the degree of repressed sexuality in "Puss in Boots," so Charlie Lyne has fearlessly taken that responsibility. [Ultraculture]

Nathaniel Rogers digs through history in search of the roles for which Meryl Streep was not Oscar-nominated, and finds none. (Okay, a few.) [The Film Experience]

Those Vulture wags on the potential pros and cons of Billy Crystal returning as Oscar host, "excessive shirtlessness" among them. [Vulture]

Jeff Wells is still talking about a "potential" Best Picture nomination for "The Artist," wonders about its box office future. [Hollywood Elsewhere]

Oh, a lot of people seem very excited about a trailer for something called "The Hunger Games." I'll leave you to it. [Cinema Blend]