The live-sung approach of "Les Misérables" may have yielded glowing reviews for the likes of Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, but less vocally gifted stars -- principally Russell Crowe -- have taken some flak. Back in the golden age of the Hollywood musical, his musical numbers might well have been dubbed, as Audrey Hepburn's were in "My Fair Lady" or Natalie Wood's in "West Side Story." Inkoo Kang wonders why we can't go back to that system: "The tendency toward multi-hyphenation is also a treat for celebrity gawkers, who get a glimpse behind the curtain, or at least feel like they are doing so, by watching stars in a rawer, less accomplished form." Personally, I don't mind an imperfect vocal when it's part and parcel of the performance and character: the very narrative of "Chicago," for example, benefits from Renee Zellweger being a more awkward performer than legions of Broadway Roxie Harts. You? [Salon]

British composer and three-time Oscar nominee Richard Rodney Bennett has passed away aged 76. His score for "Far From the Madding Crowd" is a stunner -- as is the film. Check it out. [Variety]

Natalie Portman has been named the most bankable actor in Hollywood by Forbes, followed by Kristen Stewart. [THR]

Anne Hathaway offers Seth MacFarlane some advice on hosting the Oscars. Strangely, "Don't host with James Franco" isn't one of her tips. [EW]

Nice idea for a series: screenwriters of prominent 2012 releases on the scenes they found hardest to write. Here, John Gatins discusses the stairwell conversation in "Flight." [Vulture]

Steven Zeitchik calls Richard Linklater's "Bernie" the year's most underappreciated film. Still, the Indie Spirits and numerous critics get it. I confess I still don't. [LA Times]

With any notion of "best" impossible to determine when comparing a diverse slate of strong performances, Jon Weisman suggests other criteria by which Academy members might cast their vote. [The Vote]

Nigel M. Smith rounds up 37 indie film breakouts from 2012. It's a fine list, but how does "Les Mis" newbie Samantha Barks qualify as "indie?" [IndieWire]

From corrupted teen idols to the rise of Matthew McConaughey, Catherine Shoard examines some of 2012's less expected movie trends. [The Guardian]

Sasha Stone wonders if "Life of Pi" has lost enough Oscar heat to take it out of the game altogether. [Awards Daily]