Judging from the reactions of readers and colleagues alike, it seems a lot of people have trouble untangling the proudly knotty, restlessly non-linear espionage narrative of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" -- "It's my favorite film of the year that I didn't understand at all," one friend quite sincerely admitted to me. Some have even speculated that the film might have done better in the Oscar race if voters had found it easier to follow. Being acquainted with both John Le Carré's novel and the previous TV adaptation thereof, it's with no great sense of superiority that I say I found the film clear enough, but I was still fascinated by the estimable David Bordwell's thorough breakdown of just what's going on in the film, decoding both its structure and imagery. [David Bordwell

Mary J. Blige, pointedly not nominated by the music branch for her closing credits dirge from "The Help," thinks the Academy is "being mean." [Billboard

Enjoy his final month of red-carpet tricks: Uggie is retiring, apparently. Of course, that's what Steven Soderbergh said too. [The Guardian]

What can we learn about this year's Oscar hopefuls from their title typography? A lot, it seems. [Ultraculture]

Jack Egan talks to the year's most laurelled cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki. Is it finally his year? (Look out for our Oscar Guide on the category later today.) [Below the Line]

Eva Fogelman, founding director of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, profiles Agnieszka Holland's Oscar-nominated Holocaust drama "In Darkness." [Forward]

Ali Gray tweaks the posters of several Oscar nominees to reflect what they're actually about. [The Shiznit]

Nathaniel Rogers is certain of at least one of next year's Oscar nominees for Art Direction, Costume Design... and Best Supporting Actress? Don't stop believing, my friend. [The Film Experience

Finally, Sundance has announced its prizewinners in the short film category. Could we see any of them in the Oscar race next year? [Sundance]

Finally, Viola Davis may be best friends with Meryl Streep, but reckons she "can whoop [Meryl's] behind in a good old-fashioned street fight." I'd pay to see that. [The Huffington Street]