I'm always interested to see who lands on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's Oscar-themed issue. While their picks are hardly influential, they can be a good indication of where popular opinion lies -- something that becomes less clear when you cover this beat too thoroughly. Last year, they anticipated one winner by placing Natalie Portman and James Franco front and center; this year, they seem to feel they have two, declaring Viola Davis and George Clooney "frontrunners." (I say they've still got one out of two there.) It's a nice pairing, not only because the two actors are firm friends, but because Davis is the kind of minority character actress who deserves more magazines covers of her own; as she pointedly reminds EW, she stands to become only the second black actress to score a second Oscar nomination. [Entertainment Weekly]

David Poland studies a collation of nearly 200 critics' Top 10 lists, and wonders how much it'll overlap with the Academy's picks. [Hot Blog]  

Tom Shone asks an interesting question: why do fewer Best Picture winners these days also win for their lead actors? [Taking Barack To The Movies]

In case you hadn't heard, J. Hoberman has been laid off by the Village Voice, and American film criticism is a poorer place for it. Matt Singer reflects on what he's taught us. [IFC]

With many prominent 2011 films touching on gay issues, Ramin Setoodeh wonders why Hollywood is still afraid of gay sex. [Daily Beast]

Charlize Theron talks to Nathaniel Rogers. And is generally awesome. [The Film Experience]

Tom Brueggemann on how "Midnight in Paris" could win the Best Picture Oscar. "In a parallel universe" is not one of the answers. [Gold Derby]

Melena Ryzik gathers quotes from some of this year's Oscar-tipped actresses, including Meryl Streep and Rooney Mara, about the process behind their performances. [New York Times

Emily Rome discusses a strong short-film Oscar contender, "Sailcloth," starring John Hurt. [LA Times]