Year after year, the Academy's music branch finds new and inventive ways to dismay fans and pundits alike, and they were on rare form this year: from disqualifying Cliff Martinez's acclaimed original score for "Drive" on a vague technicality to somehow finding only two nominees for Best Original Song (a record low), they made it clear to all observers that both their qualifying and voting rules are in sore need of tuning. Joe Reid offers a pointed but cool-headed diagnosis of just what's gone wrong in the music races, criticizing the grading process that allows branch members to effectively vote against songs, while allowing that movie songs are no longer "part of the fabric of American pop music." And I heartily co-sign his Best Adapted Score suggestion. [NPR]

Roger Ebert talks to Asghar Farhadi, and celebrates the thorny questions posed in his Oscar-nominated screenplay for "A Separation." [Chicago Sun-Times]

Detractors beware: adorable video footage of the "Artist" team receiving the news of their Oscar nominations. Seems Bérénice Bejo is a Terrence Malick fan. [The Film Experience]

Proof of why the Oscars matter to the little guys, Jeremy Kay examines the international box office potential for "Margin Call" following its surprise writing nom. [Screen Daily

Oscar nominees Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, plus the four other ladies of "Bridesmaids," will present together at the Oscars. Should be fun. [THR]

For Tim Gray, many of this year's Oscar nominees are linked by a common theme of identity crisis. [Variety]

John Hiscock talks to George Clooney about playing schlubby and ageing with dignity on screen. [The Telegraph]

The International 3D Society (no, me neither) is to honor documentary Oscar nominee "Pina" with a special jury prize. [Business Wire]

Finally, Vulture maps the geography of past Oscar nominees. Turns out being set in New York City is a distinct advantage... unless, of course, we're talking about "Shame." [Vulture]