Forest Whitaker's awards season prospects are very much in flux: his potential Oscar nomination for summer hit "The Butler" (which would be only the second of his career) is largely dependent on whether or not certain prestige films take hold in the months to come. One honor he'll definitely be receiving, however, is the Actor Tribute at the indie-oriented Gotham Awards on December 2. "Breaking boundaries and challenging audiences with complex, multifaceted roles, Forest Whitaker is a significant independent voice whose performances have only been elevated by his visionary work as a producer, director and humanitarian," says Gotham Award director Joana Vicente. Previous recipients of the tribute include Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon and Robert Duvall. [Hollywood Reporter]

How Iran's selection of a non-Iranian production, "The Past," as their foreign Oscar submission signals a "cultural thaw." [New York Times]

R. Kurt Osenlund considers the Oscar prospects of the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis." [The House Next Door]

Amanda Dobbins revels in the fact that "Gravity" is an Oscar movie that is only 91 minutes long. [Vulture]

Meanwhile, can the film reignite public interest in space stories? [Slate]

Palestinian Oscar hopeful "Omar" has been, well, adopted by Adopt Films in the US. [IndieWire

Nathaniel Rogers muses on the Oscar Bait Unknowns, the likely coronation of Cate Blanchett, the Original Song shortage, and other points of awards discussion. [The Film Experience]

Willem Dafoe, whom you may remember starred in 2002's "Spider-Man," comes down hard on the franchise's "cynical" reboot. [Total Film]

A court has ruled that "Avatar" is James Cameron's original creation. Well, legally, at any rate. [Variety]