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]