I'm not sure "Skyfall" represents the best work in the field -- though I prefer it to the presumed frontrunner in the category -- but it's hard not to root for Roger Deakins in the Best Cinematography race on Sunday. The British DP's perennial bridesmaid status at the Oscars has grown into a widely publicized sticking point, and Vulture has further highlighted the debt with a great piece on 10 key shots from his career, and how he got them. (Hey, that sounds not unlike one of our favorite annual features.) For "Skyfall," they've selected Bond's arrival at the Macao gambling palace for scrutiny. Deakins explains the difficulties of faking mass candlelight, and brushes off talk of how he excels in the digital department: "Whether or not it's film or digital, much more of my career has been about choosing the location, getting an idea of the look of something, and choosing the practical kinds of lighting and the positions of the windows, anything that enables you to get the look you want." [Vulture

Mary McNamara bemoans the Academy's neglect of blockbusters -- a slightly picky argument to make, I think, in a year when most of the Best Picture nominees have grossed over $100 million. [LA Times]

David Cox offers a British perspective on what this year's Oscar nominations say about America. [The Guardian]

Mekado Murphy talks to Peter Swords King, Oscar-nominated makeup designer of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Can he score Middle Earth's third win in the category? [The Carpetbagger]

An impressive feat: Bryan Parrill has reviewed or capsule-reviewed every film nominated for Sunday's Academy Awards. [Shooting the Script]

33 years after "The China Syndrome," Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas will reunite to present Best Director on Sunday. And there I was so sure it'd be Jennifer Garner. [@JaneFonda]

Though "Amour" will likely be a worthy winner, Jason Bailey is still unhappy with a Best Foreign Language Film system that never gave two other French-language Cannes hits a chance. [The Atlantic

Nathaniel Rogers gathers the 12 films that rank as the biggest "losers" in Oscar history -- well, going by nomination count, at least. Could a 2012 nominee join them on Sunday? [The Film Experience

I love this ongoing series by Nick Davis: the films and moments in which he loved this year's nominees best. [Nick's Flick Picks]

Doing much this weekend? Jenny Peters rounds up the exhaustive schedule of industry Oscar parties. [Variety]