The great Frank Rich has weighed in on the Oscar race with what is sure to remain one of the best pieces of the season, in which he celebrates what he sees as the Academy's return to relevance: "Whatever the explanation—and little in show business happens by design—the movie industry has reconnected with the country. It has produced no fewer than four movies that have provoked animated, often rancorous public debate: 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Argo,' 'Lincoln,' and 'Django Unchained,' a film that pushes so many hot buttons you can’t quite believe it was made." He goes on to make the case for why "Django" deserves the Best Picture award, and even if you disagree -- I certainly do -- it's an essential, exuberant read. [New York]

Why "Amour," for all its focus on senior citizens, may play better to younger audiences. [The Guardian]

Sasha Stone believes "Argo" vs. "Lincoln" is this year's David vs. Goliath awards narrative. Though with a star director, season-long hype and over $100 million in the bank, "Argo" is a pretty beefy David. [Awards Daily]

With "Before Midnight" still hot from Sundance, Nathaniel Rogers asks what kind of sequels are necessary at the movies. [The Film Experience]

In a tight race for Best Animated Feature, Glenn Whipp wonders if Academy members are actually going to watch all the nominees before voting. [Gold Standard]

How an exhausted Jessica Chastain has discovered the difficulty of balancing a Broadway show with the awards circuit. It used to be more common for actors with the same dilemma to opt out of the latter. [The Wrap]

Five reasons why Joaquin Phoenix should beat Daniel Day-Lewis to the Best Actor Oscar. [Jeremy Helligar]

Melena Ryzik listens in on a PGA panel in which producers of many of this year's Best Picture nominees spill production secrets. [The Carpetbagger]

Mark Boal on the scene he found hardest to write in "Zero Dark Thirty." [Vulture]

In a movie landscape where Abraham Lincoln has pierced ears, Rebecca Keegan investigates how faithfully our contemporary appearances can serve period pieces. [LA Times]