Are the Disney and Pixar animation brands beginning to merge into each other? Josh L. Dickey is asking the question, as he notes that Pixar's tradition-focused summer hit "Brave" seemed to borrow significantly from the classic Disney storybook, while Disney's current smash "Wreck-It Ralph" is a hi-tech, pop-savvy firecracker that seems more informed by the contemporary Pixar model of crossover entertainment. (Dickey also wonders if "Ralph"'s box office performance would be even more impressive if it had been released under the Pixar label.) Are the twin houses going to borrow more from each other from here on out, or should Disney be mindful of preserving its more old-school identity? With their next film a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale adaptation, perhaps the overlap is temporary. [Variety]

Ben Affleck, who may need to build a bigger trophy cabinet before the season is out, will receive the Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in January. [LA Times]

Four-time Oscar winner Scott Millan and 15-time nominee Greg Russell discuss the sound work of "Skyfall." I have a feeling another nomination is coming their way. [SoundWorks Collection]

The cast of "Les Miserables" get the Annie Leibovitz treatment. The results are prettier than the film's trailer. [Vogue]

With the presidential race behind us, Tim Grierson outline six ways in which Oscar campaigns are less objectionable that political ones. [IFC]

Steve Pond talks to Ron Yerxa and Bruce Davis, chairmen of the Academy's foreign-language film committee, about this ever-complicated category. [The Wrap]

Best Actress hopeful Jennifer Lawrence continues to give some of the most entertainingly straight-shooting interviews in the business. [New York Times]

Whoa, here's a name from the past: Crowded House's Neil Finn has unveiled "Song of the Lonely Mountain," his theme for "The Hobbit." [Rolling Stone]

Michael Cusumano wants to make sure no one -- least of all Academy members -- forgets about "Moonrise Kingdom" when 2012 is done. [The Film Experience]

Cheer up, "Cloud Atlas," US box office isn't everything. Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis' grand sci-fi folly is cleaning up in Russia. [Screen]


Guy Lodge is a South African-born critic and sometime screenwriter. In addition to his work at In Contention, he is a freelance contributor to Variety, Time Out, Empire and The Guardian. He lives well beyond his means in London.