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<p>Adele vs. Taylor Swift</p>

Adele vs. Taylor Swift

Credit: AP Photo

It's Adele vs. Taylor Swift for Golden Globe for best original song

Keith Urban and Jon Bon Jovi also in the running

With both Adele and Taylor Swift in the running, the Golden Globe best original song slate looks more like a rundown of artists normally found on the Billboard Hot 100.   (By the way, today is Swift's 23rd birthday: Nice birthday present, Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.!)

Other than nominating “Suddenly,” a new song written for  “Les Miserables” to give the musical a Golden Globe and Oscar contender, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. has turned to tunes written and performed by some of the biggest names in pop music to fill the slate.

The nominees are:

*"For You"— "Act of Valor" (performed by Keith Urban)
Music and lyrics by Monty Powell and Keith Urban

*"Not Running Anymore" — "Stand Up Guys" (performed by Jon Bon Jovi)
Music and lyrics by Jon Bon Jovi

*"Safe & Sound" — "The Hunger Games" (performed by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars)
Music and lyrics by: Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams, T Bone Burnett

*“Skyfall”  (performed by Adele)
Music and lyrics  by: Adele and Paul Epworth

*"Suddenly)" — "Les Miserables" (performed by Hugh Jackman)
Music by: Claude-Michel Schonberg;  Lyrics by: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg

The pop slant is nothing particularly new, as the Globes often tend to sway toward big pop names (some deserving, some merely selected for star power)  more than songs penned by traditional film composers. (Hello, remember Madonna's "Masterpiece" won last year). In this case though, there's not a dud in the bunch.

No offense to the gentlemen, but this year’s race is between the ladies: Swift and Adele. Adele’s Bond theme, “Skyfall,” is sweeping and dramatic and pays homage to the original Bond theme. Swift’s haunting, atmospheric "Safe & Sound" is groundbreaking in that it paired the teen pop/country queen  with the Civil Wars, which gave her a new depth, while creating a song that deeply resonated with "Hunger Games" fans.

A slight caveat before we totally write off the men: it’s important to remember that Bon Jovi is the only one here who has actually won a Golden Globe for best original song: he won in 1990 for the title tune to “Blaze Of Glory.”

There are some notable omissions, including any of the possible contenders from “Django Unchained,” as well as any tunes from an animated feature, such as “Learn Me Right” by Birdy and Mumford & Sons from “Brave.”

The voters also stayed away from Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” which was the biggest chart hit among the potential contenders, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Fellow pop stars Florence & The Machine were also ignored for “Breath of Life” from “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

And as far as these nominations being any predictor of names we’ll see again come the Oscar nominations on Jan. 10?  Don’t bet on it. For the last eight years, other than “Crazy Heart’s” “The Weary Kind,” the Golden Globe winner for Best Original Song has not even been an Oscar nominee.

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz were nominated for supporting turns in "Django Unchained."
Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz were nominated for supporting turns in "Django Unchained."
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Golden Globe nominations breathe new life for 'The Master' stars, 'Django'

The power of Weinstein compelled them

The first thought that jumped to mind after today's Golden Globe nominations announcement was, "Not too embarrassing." Often enough awards watchers are looking to the HFPA to do what they do, fill out their list with dubious performances from movie stars and films that will guarantee a glitzy red carpet. And there's a little of that here, though in most cases, it's not as simple as that.

Richard Gere, for instance, gives one of his best performances to date in "Arbitrage," so it's a great excuse for HFPA to include him, and for quality work, thank God. Nicole Kidman's nomination for "The Paperboy" might have been dismissed as star-loving madness, too, except the Screen Actors Guild chalked her up for a nomination yesterday (and I have no idea what's going on there). And the lead actress, drama field could have been an excuse to shove in Halle Berry or something, but the group went with NYFCC-winner Rachel Weisz.

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<p>Olivia Munn and Jeff Daniels in &quot;The Newsroom,&quot;&nbsp;which the Golden Globes voters nominated ahead of &quot;Mad Men&quot;&nbsp;as one of TV's best dramas.</p>

Olivia Munn and Jeff Daniels in "The Newsroom," which the Golden Globes voters nominated ahead of "Mad Men" as one of TV's best dramas.

Credit: HBO

Silliness reigns with 2013 Golden Globe TV nominations

No 'Mad Men'? Hayden Panettiere?

I ordinarily like to begin my analysis of the Golden Globe TV nominations by going on at length about the sketchiness of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and their complete disinterest in and lack of qualification for making any kind of judgment of American television.

This year, though, I think all I need to tell you is the following:

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<p>Suraj Sharma in &quot;Life of Pi.&quot;</p>

Suraj Sharma in "Life of Pi."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Life of Pi' tops with Las Vegas Film Critics

'Looper' picks up another screenplay award.

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society announced their picks yesterday, and clearly liked "Life of Pi" a lot more than most of their peers thus far: Ang Lee's effects-heavy spectacular took six awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and a Youth In Film citation for Suraj Sharma. They're the first group to celebrate the film, though they went a little more by-the-book for their acting picks. Further down, I'm liking the "Prometheus" call for Production Design. Check out the full list of winners after the jump, and catch up with the season thus far at The Circuit.  

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Paul McCartney and Nirvana members play new song from 'Sound City' documentary

Paul McCartney and Nirvana members play new song from 'Sound City' documentary

'Cut Me Some Slack' will be featured on 'Real to Reel' soundtrack

In what was the worst-kept secret on 12-12-12, Paul McCartney did indeed take the stage with the surviving members of Nirvana for the Sandy charity concert. However, fans of the Beatles star or of Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic may not recognize the song they played together.

The track is called "Cut Me Some Slack," and was apparently created during a collaboration for Grohl's forthcoming documentary "Sound City." It's definitely a mix of penchant McCartney melody, a heavy rhythm section( just like the Foos frontman likes it) and a heavy dose of that grunge music the kids are always talking about.

Immediately following the rather impressive performance from the quartet, the "Sound City" Twitter account and website released a short clip of audio from the recording, made in California studio after which the film is named. You can hear it below.

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<p>Marion Cotillard at the 2012 Gotham Awards last month in New York.</p>

Marion Cotillard at the 2012 Gotham Awards last month in New York.

Credit: AP Photo/Andy Kropa

Marion Cotillard says SAG Awards nomination for 'Rust and Bone' is 'more than 'joy'

A quick chat with 'The Dark Knight Rises' star

She's won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and two Cesars, but Marion Cotillard still sounded genuinely excited about landing her fourth Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination.  The "Rust and Bone" star phoned from Paris to have a quick chat about her SAG honor, a strong indicator she'll be walking the red carpet at the Dolby Theater this February.

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<p>Jaymes and James of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Jaymes and James of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Jaymes & James talk 'The Amazing Race'

The Chippendales discuss their run from near-elimination to second place
It wasn't a direct path that Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis took to "Amazing Race" success to into the hearts of fans.
 
In the first Leg, the two Chippendales performers seemed to embody every himbo stereotype we wanted to pre-judge them with. Mental gaffes caused them to very nearly get eliminated in that initial episode, as they survived only by virtue of being marginally faster than a middle-aged couple.
 
But then, a funny thing happened. Jaymes & James began to grow on viewers. Their high spirits were infectious and Jaymes was good for two or three quotable lines per week, sometimes more. And as we got to know them, it became even easier to like them. Jaymes was competing to assist his father, currently battling cancer -- head over to ForgetCancerNow.com -- while James just wanted to win a car for his mother. All together now: Awww.
 
By the time James overcame a seemingly excruciating ankle injury to limp through a Russian dancing challenge, the Chippendales were the team most fans seemed to be rooting for. 
 
Jaymes & James came up just short on their "Amazing Race" journey, finishing second, but I'm assuming we haven't seen the last of them and I'm guessing we probably haven't seen the last of them on "The Amazing Race."
 
In their exit interview, Jaymes & James talked about changing viewer attitudes towards their current profession, how nearly leaving after one Leg reshaped their attitudes and their goals going forward. Oh and Jaymes says his new single, not a direct follow-up to "Vampire," is coming out before the end of the year.
 
Click through for the full interview.
 
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<p>Michael Skupin of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Michael Skupin of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Gouge My Eyes Out'

In the season's penultimate episode alliances are shifting
Pre-Credit sequence. Anybody remember who went home last week? Anybody? OK. Fine. It was Carter. Man-Dana? That other guy who was out there who isn't there anymore? Nevermind. It's back to DangRayne for the Final 5. "Thanks for keeping me, guys," Abi tells everybody, as if an active choice had been made to validate her very existence. "I am over the moon," she tells us, before the editors cut to the moon to show what Abi is not, in fact, over. Abi's unsure if anybody buys her Fantasy Immunity Idol, but she's planning to keep fantasizing. "This game isn't fair," says Blair Warner, who has now fully embraced her "I'd rather go to the end with somebody I can beat" revised ethos. This ethos is concerning Malcolm, who knows that if Blair Warner's head is in the game, she's dangerous going forward. Foreshadowing?
 
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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Even the Famous Come Home'

The chetestants must cook for celebs and an Olive Garden fan

After last week's debacle, during which Tom actually took back the $10,000 prize because all of the food was so consistently lousy, I'm hoping the chefs can turn it around this week. If not, I predict food poisoning, intestinal distress and tears. 

For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs gather around Padma and a little old lady Dallas John thinks might be "Martha Stewart's mother." Alas, she's not. She's Marilyn Hagerty, the food writer for the Grand Forks Herald. She's been writing about middle-American restaurants in her area for 30 years! She recently wrote about the Olive Garden in her fair city, and it went viral (read her review here). She didn't even know what viral meant! Wow!

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<p>Christoph Waltz in &quot;Django Unchained.&quot;</p>

Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Long Shot: Categorically speaking

The leading-supporting divide is blurrier than ever in this year's Oscar race

“Category fraud.” It's a phrase that means precisely nothing to anybody who doesn't scrutinize the Oscars with all the methodical dedication of a veteran trainspotter – but within that self-selecting circle, it's an issue that seems to prompt more heated opinions by the year.

Implying veritably criminal levels of bad faith, it's a strangely emphatic term for a practice that frequently occurs in the grayest of areas, amid such intangibles as narrative, perspective and character. The Oscar campaigning game has seen many dirty tricks and cynical strategies pass undetected over the years, but woe betide the supporting hopeful whose role is seen as a little too large for his targeted trophy, or the uppity ensemble player with ideas above his station – awards geeks do not easily forget such infractions.

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<p>There are few people who I&nbsp;enjoy talking to more than Ian McKellen, and few actors I&nbsp;enjoy watching more.</p>

There are few people who I enjoy talking to more than Ian McKellen, and few actors I enjoy watching more.

Credit: HitFix

Ian McKellen says the one-two punch of Gandalf and Magneto was 'timing'

Also learn which version of Gandalf the actor prefers playing

Ian McKellen probably never expected the odd turn that his career has taken over the last fifteen years, but he seems to have embraced it with grace and gusto.

I'm sure if you'd told him before all of this that he would end up beloved by an audience of fantasy-loving comic-book-reading genre fans all over the world, he would have dismissed the idea as silly.  Even when he appeared in "Gods and Monsters," the sensational James Whale biopic by Bill Condon, he probably never expected the particular way that his audience would expand.

Now here we are, sitting down with him to discuss his return to Middle Earth, and I love that he sees a distinct difference between playing Gandalf the White and Gandalf the Grey.  Like McKellen, I prefer Gandalf the Grey, and one of the nicest things about "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is getting my favorite version of my favorite wizard back in action.  He brings such warmth and humor to the part that it was sad to see him changed into more of an action hero on the final film.

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<p>Emblem 3 of &quot;X Factor&quot;</p>

Emblem 3 of "X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Final 4 - Performances

Emblem 3, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens and Fifth Harmony perform

It's Final 4 time on "The X Factor."

But really, if we're being honest, it's time for the Top 2 -- Carly Rose Sonenclar and Tate Stevens haven't let anybody else in since voting began -- and then Emblem 3 and then, somewhere in the distance, Fifth Harmony. The stratification in this "X Factor" season was established early and other than the occasional minor blip -- Vino Alan's elimination was no more or less random than how high he'd be polling previously -- nothing has changed. It was a fantastic idea for "X Factor" to reveal vote ranking, but it was also a horrible idea. Everybody wants to believe that voting on these shows is fluid and that one great performance can turn somebody from an underdog to a star, but that probably isn't the case at all. 

So what difference could Wednesday's show possibly make? Do we really think that Tate and Carly Rose can be displaced in the finale? 

Let's see how the performances go...

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