I somehow missed this when it appeared a few day ago, but A.O. Scott's essay on the year in movie heroines is essential reading. While noting the commercial and/or critical success of female-powered narratives ranging from "The Hunger Games" to "Brave" to "Beasts of the Southern Wild" to "Pitch Perfect" -- while noting the potential for "Zero Dark Thirty" to rule an otherwise male-dominated Oscar slate -- he's not so naive or patronising as to label 2012 any kind of Year of the Woman. Still, he does sense a recent uptick in studios' consideration of the intelligent female audience. "It should not, after all, be a big deal that movies like 'Bridesmaids' or 'The Hunger Games' exist," he writes, "perhaps because it should have been a bigger deal when such movies didn’t." [New York Times]

On a related note, Jon Weisman joins me in railing against the curious perception held by many pundits that this is a weak year for actresses. Open your eyes/minds, people. [The Vote]

Justin Chang offers an insider's account of Sunday's LAFCA vote, where Dwight Henry beat Christoph Waltz by a single vote while Michael Haneke, despite winning Best Picture, only placed fifth for Best Director. [Variety

Geoffrey Macnab looks into the streamlined voting process for this year's BAFTA Awards, and what they'd do if the Oscars moved to an earlier place in the calendar. (Yep, BAFTA would move earlier too.) [Screen]

The Vulture team hand out prizes in some categories other showbiz award don't bother with. Fun stuff, but guys, Q's "Skyfall" cardigan is not the best movie sweater of 2012. The Hardigan. End of. [Vulture]

Makeup artist Lois Burwell talks about turning Daniel Day-Lewis into "Lincoln," among other feats on Steven Spielberg's whiskery period piece. [Below the Line]

David O. Russell tells Glenn Whipp how his free-form script for "Silver Linings Playbook" kept growing during the shoot, adding over 40 pages in the process. [LA Times

Tolkienite critic Catherine Bray offers a fair-minded assessment of what "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" gets right... and what it very much doesn't. [Film4]

Andy Serkis, for many critics the high point of Peter Jackson's film, won't be returning in the trilogy, but talks about working on the films in a different capacity: as second unit director. [Cinema Blend]

Jeff Wells offers his Top 20 of 2012 list. After giving critics' groups so much hell for not rewarding "Silver Linings Playbook," he ties it with "Zero Dark Thirty" for first place? [Hollywood Elsewhere]