Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for me of the awards season thus far has been the relative ease with which Tilda Swinton has slid through the precursor circuit for her searing performance in "We Need to Talk About Kevin," collecting helpful nods from SAG, the Globes and the BFCA, not to mention an NBR win. Swinton hasn't left my predicted five since I saw "Kevin" at Cannes, but I did fear her chilly, challenging vehicle would prove an obstacle. Not so, apparently. Emboldened by this success, Oscilloscope is capitalizing on the buzz by bringing forward the film's January release date, hoping to capture a younger, genre-happy audience. Could the film gain momentum in other categories where it deserves recognition, not least for the superb Ezra Miller? One can dream. [The Wrap

Oscar number-cruncher par excellence, Steve Pond, tells us there will be a total of eight Best Picture nominees this year. Here's why. [Reuters]

Better known for his patented rom-com work, screenwriter Richard Curtis reflects on his experience collaborating with Spielberg on "War Horse." [Evening Standard

Best Supporting Actor hopeful Kenneth Branagh gets the David Poland video treatment. [Hot Blog]

Team "Margaret" finds another recruit in the shape of Jeffrey Wells. Keep it going, people. [Hollywood Elsewhere]

Great idea for a list: Sean O'Connell counts down the Top 10 Tiny Supporting Performances of 2011. [CinemaBlend]

Anthony Horowitz, author of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, sizes up Guy Ritchie's latest screen outing for the venerable detective. [GQ]

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis top IMDb's list of most searched-for names of 2011. Gee, I wonder why. [The Guardian]

Finally, one for western lovers: a superb essay on the links between "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." (And it goes beyond long titles.) [The Film Experience]