When I'm asked, I'm honest. And I've been asked about "The Descendants" plenty in the last few weeks, whether the Jean Dujardin SAG win is a harbinger, whether the film still has any gas left in the Best Picture tank after that post-Globes feeling of ecstasy, etc. And my line is this: Forget Best Picture. Stick with Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay before you lose those, too. In a recent piece, Brooks Barnes gets it wrong vis a vis what makes an Oscar underdog (both "Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby" were less that than alternatives at a time when the Academy really did want to go a different way), but he nevertheless props Fox Searchlight's big "underdog" push up. Look (and I really do believe this): it was never going to win Best Picture. Focus. [New York Times]

Steve Pond reports that the Academy expects to take a "hard look" at the Best Original Song process after outcry over this year's paltry two nominees. [The Odds]

Jeff Goldsmith talks to a number of the Oscar-nominated screenwriters in his annual podcast discussion. [iTunes]

Jose Antonio Vargas calls Demián Bichir's "A Better Life" performance "an act of salvation." [Entertainment Weekly]

That Kodak Theatre situation is gettin' ugly. [The Wrap]

Oscar-nominated actors step "Out of Character" for Academy portrait exhibition. [Oscars.org]

Jacob Combs talks to animated short Oscar nominee Patrick Doyon ("Dimanche") [Thompson on Hollywood]

Sasha Stone on the year's adapted screenplay nominees. [Awards Daily]

Oscars by the numbers. [Los Angeles Times Magazine]

David Poland writes up what it takes to win...and lose. [Movie City News]

Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.