When Alfonso Cuarón presumably lifts the Best Director Oscar on Sunday, it'll be a deserved individual win, but it'll also be past-due recognition for one of the most versatile and adventurous stylists of the modern cinema. Beyond his name, what connects "A Little Princess" to "Y tu Mama Tambien" to "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" to "Gravity?" In a lovely essay, Michael Joseph Gross has a go at explaining: "All of Cuarón’s films are road movies, to greater and lesser extents. On the road, travelers are challenged to become themselves by transcending themselves, to restructure their perspective by empathizing with the people they encounter; and this act, by its nature, constantly creates new narrative understandings." [Vanity Fair]

David Cox wonders if only a British director could have made "12 Years a Slave." [The Guardian]

Logan Hill on how "Her" reveals the midlife crisis of the "Reality Bites" generation. [Esquire]

Melena Ryzik on the local politics at play in the Best Picture race. [New York Times]

Most Oscar trivia quizzes are tediously simple, but I like this one by Mark Caro: some easy questions, some genuinely tricky ones. Have a go. [Chicago Tribune]

Robbie Collin on how some of the year's best films miss out on the Oscar race. (Much to agree with here, though the foreign-language nod for "The Great Beauty" was more than enough.) [Telegraph]

Here's a fun infographic -- every Best Actress winner's dress in Oscar history. [The Film Experience]

Jen Chaney on the predictability of an Oscar season that I don't think is as predictable as she thinks it is. (That's an elegant sentence.) [The Dissolve]

Wow, people can't get enough of ranking the Best Picture winners this week. [BuzzFeed]

Love this: Richard Lawson live-blogs the 1993 Academy Awards. [Vanity Fair]

Finally, if your (Oscar) seasonal goodwill is at a low ebb, here's a Hater's Guide to the Oscars. [Deadspin]