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Under-the-radar Oscar hopeful "The Impossible" may be one of the year's most emotionally battering films, but not everyone's feeling it -- as the adjusted true-life tale of surviving the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami continues to take flak for overwhelming focus on the white tourists affected by the tragedy. British historian Alex von Tunzelmann is among the least impressed, acknowledging the film's skilful construction, but writing: "The film seems unaware of its own politics – though it certainly has some ... Both at the beach and in the hospital, almost all the victims of this disaster appear to be white. The Alvárez-Belón family's story is moving, dramatic and true, and there's no reason it shouldn't be told; but it's a shame that that the film excludes any meaningful acknowledgment of the disaster's Asian victims while doing so." [The Guardian]
David Sirota, meanwhile, considers the racial discussion around "Dajango Unchained," and wonders how different the reception would be had a black director made the film. [Salon]
Stacy Wolf on why "Les Mis" continues to move millions of viewers -- despite its retrograde gender stereotyping. [Washington Post]
Mark Blankenship addresses the same issue, referring specifically to the "insidious kind of sexism" around the character of Cosette, but concludes that she's required to be insipid. [New Now Next]
Michael Cieply examines documentary maker Steven C. Barber's self-funded Oscar campaign to get his film "Until They Are Home" nominated in the music categories. It's not a cheap business. [New York Times]
Steve Pond talks to Cristian Mungiu, director of the Oscar-shortlisted foreign language contender "Beyond the Hills" -- five years after the Academy's exclusion of his last feature partially triggered a major change to the voting system. [The Wrap]
Randee Dawn celebrates the multiple outstanding child performers featured in this year's awards crop -- whether they themselves find recognition or not. [Variety]
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