Well received by critics but struggling to connect with audiences, Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" faces a tough climb to awards recognition -- but it has at least one unique FYC plea in its arsenal. In guest piece for Variety, John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania -- the town where the film is set -- acknowledges that it may seem a tough watch, but urges people to make the effort: "Understandably, many would rather not set foot into a bleak world where most of the social contracts in America are void and rusted through. If the story of a Braddock, and towns like her, is indeed worth telling, there couldn’t be a more eloquent, forceful and honest interpretation than what Mr. Cooper and his three leads have delivered in “Out of the Furnace.” [Variety

Pedro Almodovar picks "The Act of Killing" as his film of the year; his list also includes "Mud" and "Blue is the Warmest Color." [Cinemania]

Palestinian Oscar submission "Omar" has won the top prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards; "The Grandmaster" star Zhang Ziyi won Best Actress. [Hollywood Reporter]

Meanwhile, Belgian Oscar submission "The Broken Circle Breakdown" has won the European Parliament's Lux Prize for films that "deal with Europe-wide issues." [Screen Daily]

Steve Pond rounds up some of the season's most notable breakthrough -- and comeback -- performances. [The Wrap]

I'm just loving Nathaniel Rogers' "Team FYC" series. "Blue Jasmine" for Best Costume Design is such a smart call. [The Film Experience]

Brilliant piece by Wesley Morris on the year in bodies: from Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club" to Miley Cyrus in... very little. [Grantland]

The first part of another mammoth list from the folks at Film.com: the 100 best scenes of 2013. Lots of fun, this. [Film.com]

Finally, here's an interesting future project: "Waltz With Bashir" director Ari Folman is planning an animated adaptation of Anne Frank's diary. [Variety]