Here's something we won’t be seeing on the Oscar show: a PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant explaining the plot of "Inception." But show writer Bruce Vilanch tells the Onion's Joel Keller that he wanted to put a bit like that on the show, before realizing that it'd take too long for a joke about a movie that isn't even one of the favorites. The interview also touches on the difference between comedians (which he says current Oscar hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway are) and comics (which they're not), why he told David Letterman not to do "Uma … Oprah," and the many ways in which Ricky Gervais was lame at the Golden Globes. (A.V. Club)
The Mirror offers a slideshow of Oscar preparations currently taking place on the streets of Hollywood in front of the Kodak Theater. So does the L.A. Times. I took my own picture a block away from the theater (left), but I don't think it qualifies as Oscar prep.
And speaking of slide shows, Time offers a fully-illustrated list of the 25 best and worst Oscar gowns of all time. Guess which list Bjork's swan dress is on? Nope – it's between Julia Roberts and Halle Berry on the Best Gowns list. Barbara Streisand, Cher, Helena Bonham Carter and Whoopi Goldberg make the worst-dressed list – as does "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" costume designer Lizzy Gardiner, who gets slapped for her "tacky" 1995 dress constructed from American Express gold cards. Funny, I kinda liked it. (Time)
In the first of what will apparently be a series of monthly question-and-answer columns with New York Times movie critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott, Dargis responds to a reader query by saying that her favorite part of awards season is "complaining about all the attention that this ludicrously overhyped, trivial spectacle of industry narcissism receives from serious people." So that's what she and Scott spend about 2,000 words doing. (The New York Times)
Some of the Oscar nominations, says Luke Y. Thompson, make no sense. So he comes up with a list of what he says are five befuddling choices by the nominating voters, beginning with the Visual Effects nod for "Hereafter," which he attributes to goodwill toward Clint Eastwood. (Never mind that the actual voting is done immediately after a "bakeoff" in which the effects artists display and explain their work, a process that hardly lends itself to sentiment.) Also on his list: "The Way Back" for Makeup, Hailee Steinfeld for Supporting Actress ("Steinfeld's a lead, damnit"), "Dogtooth" for Foreign-Language Film and "Salt" for Best Editing. At first I thought he left the word "sound" out of that last category, but in fact "Salt" isn't nominated for Editing or for Sound Editing — it's in the running for Sound Mixing. So what befuddling is that he's befuddled by its presence in a category where it's not actually nominated. (Today Movies)