There's a lovely piece by Ian Buckwalter on NPR today about two of the most striking musical moments in film in 2011: John Hawkes's performance of "Marcy's Song" in "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and Carey Mulligan's slowed-down rendition of "New York, New York" in "Shame." Neither, of course, is a song originally written for the film, yet both selections feel more cinematically and thematically resonant than most Best Original Song contenders in any given year. As Buckwalter puts it: "[T]hey contain coded messages that pass, hidden between the lines, between the maker and the recipient... a simple two-minute pop song can carry more meaning and history than pages and pages of dialogue." [NPR

Nathaniel Rogers has a 10-point memo for Oscar voters. Among his requests: reward the work, not the career, and don't forget Vanessa Redgrave. [The Film Experience]

Erik Childress narrows down the Best Director race to nine names, and wonders about wild card Nicolas Winding Refn. [Movies.com]

Sasha Stone believes a healthy opening weekend, plus good reviews from some top critics, make "War Horse" the unassailable frontrunner for Best Picture. Whoa there. [Awards Daily]

Academy Award winner Trent Reznor (I still get a kick out of saying it) talks to Todd Martens about his partnership with David Fincher. [LA Times]

On how two 2011 Oscar hopefuls, "A Better Life" and "Miss Bala," feed into the immigration discussion. [The Atlantic]

Hard to believe, but Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" is 40 years old. Tim Robey reflects. [The Telegraph]

Big news for festival followers: Marco Mueller has been displaced as director of the Venice fest. Sorry to see him go. [Screen Daily]

Hurrah! Jordan Horowitz provides photographic evidence that Fox Searchlight is indeed sending out "Margaret" screeners. [Twitter]