As if the box-office numbers for "Life of Pi" over the weekend weren't enough, Ang Lee has found himself honored with two very different accolades over the past 24 hours. First, the French Ministry of Culture presented the Taiwanese-born director with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters for his contribution to the arts -- an honor previously bestowed on such non-French filmmakers as Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. While that was going on, it was also announced yesterday that Lee will receive that 2013 Filmmaker Award at the Motion Picture Sound Editors' Golden Reel ceremony on February 17. MPSE president Bobbi Banks credited him with "continually break[ing] ground through the use of the latest technology both visually and sonically," adding that in "Life of Pi," "his use of Dolby Atmos guides audiences into the emotional intimacy of the sound experience." Is it one to watch in the sound categories?

The world premiere of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is presently under way in New Zealand. Gotta love the Ian McKellen stand-in they found. [The Guardian]

Some may be questioning the validity of "Silver Linings Playbook" as an Independent Spirit nominee, but for David O. Russell, whose got a boost from the Spirits early in his career, it's a happy homecoming. [The Vote

Anne Thompson contemplates the Oscar path ahead for Russell's film, along with those of the Weinsteins' mixed bag of prestige prospects this year. [Thompson on Hollywood]

Best Actress underdog Emayatzy Corinealdi has been having a good week: first a Gotham Award and now a Spirit nod for her work in "Middle of Nowhere." She gets the David Poland video treatment. [Hot Blog]

Tom O'Neil talks to Kristen Stewart about what he sees as career-topping work in "On the Road." (For my part, good as she is in the film, I think "Adventureland" remains her personal best.) [Gold Derby]

So, turns out Sam Mendes mightn't have been the biggest name ever to steer a Bond movie: Spielberg wanted a crack at it in the 1970s, but got turned down. [Movieline]

Sasha Stone looks at the state of the race now that "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Mis" -- which she's not personally high on -- have landed, and wonders what difference, if any, the currently embargoed reviews for the latter will make. [Awards Daily]

Kicking around "Liz and Dick" appears to be the latest online sport, but Karina Longworth takes the fairest stab: the film, she argues, isn't bonkers enough to serve its bigger-than-reality subjects. [Slate

With "Casablanca" approaching its 70th anniversary, Martin Chilton takes its beautiful friendship as the starting point for a roundup of cinema's greatest closing lines. [The Telegraph]