Round-up: A dry, old, white guy season

The big topic of Oscar conversation over the weekend wasn’t exactly a newsflash: anyone who didn’t previously know that the Academy membership is dominated by older white men is presumably still reeling from the shock of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” not receiving a Best Picture nomination. Even so, the stats revealed in the LA Times’s investigation into the AMPAS makeup are pretty stunning: sadly, I’m perhaps less surprised that voters are 94% white than I am by the knowledge that they’re 77% male. Add in the fact that only 2% of them are under the age of 40, and you wonder why anyone even entertained the possibility of “Bridesmaids” cracking the top category. Members from Alexander Payne to Alfre Woodard (who’s a “Shame” fan, as it happens) weigh in on the matter. A must-read. [Los Angeles Times]

David Poland, self-appointed arbiter of journalistic value, thinks the LAT study is “a waste of time.” [Hot Blog

A back-and-forth between Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott on the relative merits of the Oscars as a cultural institution. Many good points raised, but… Madonna to host? Really, Manohla? [New York Times]

Tying in neatly with Friday’s Oscar Guide piece, Arianne Phillips talks us through her Oscar-nominated costume designs for Madonna’s “W.E.” [Vanity Fair]

“Cars 2” producer Lindsey Collins thinks anti-Pixar backlash explains the film’s absence from the Oscar lineup. Can I politely suggest that the film not being very good may have something to do with it? [Movieline]

David Cox wonders just what it is about “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” that has rubbed so many people the wrong way. [The Guardian]

After slapping them in their fuzzy faces with the Best Original Song fiasco, the Academy has decided it’d be nice to have the Muppets on the show after all. [The Odds]

Daniel Montgomery talks to three-time Oscar nominee Terry George about his nominated short “The Shore.” [Gold Derby]

It may have won the BAFTA, but Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In” was the bridesmaid at Spain’s Goya Awards, losing the top prizes to police thriller “No Rest for the Wicked.” [Screen Daily]

Geoff Andrew on recurrent topic of critical conversation: the overuse of the word “masterpiece.” On the one hand, I agree. On the other, it’s just a word. [Sight & Sound