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10 things we learned from the 85th Academy Awards nominations

10 things we learned from the 85th Academy Awards nominations

'Why? Why? Why?'

It's been two days since the Academy Awards nominations were announced and Hollywood is still getting over the snubs and surprises. Like Nancy Kerrigan's primal cry of "Why? Why? Why?" echoing through time, industry pundits, critics across the globe, a plethora of Sony Pictures employees and Academy members not in the directing branch are opening questioning how Kathryn Bigelow could have been overlooked in the best directing category.  And the outrage over Ben Affleck's omission is only slightly quieter.  Clearly, it's never to late to review the lessons the Academy's collective membership have taught us so far this year.  With that in mind, here's 10 things we've learned so far.

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<p>Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin in &quot;Homeland,&quot;&nbsp;which will stand on its own next fall.</p>

Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin in "Homeland," which will stand on its own next fall.

Credit: Showtime

Showtime announces premiere dates for 'Homeland,' 'Dexter' & more

'Nurse Jackie' in April, 'Ray Donovan' in June, 'Masters of Sex' in September

In television, you use established hits to launch new ones. In the fall of 2011, Showtime used its big gun "Dexter" to help launch "Homeland." Two years later, "Homeland" can comfortably stand on its own, and today Showtime announced (during David Nevins' executive session) a 2013 schedule that will split the two dramas up so they can be used to launch a pair of new series, "Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex."

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<p>David Nevins</p>

David Nevins

Credit: Showtime

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: Showtime Executive Session with David Nevins

Expect plenty of 'Homeland' and 'Dexter' talk

"Dexter" is back!

"Homeland" dominated the Emmys (but declined in quality)!

"Ray Donovan" and "Masters of Sex" are coming!

Expect these to be topics discussed when Showtime Entertainment President David Nevins meets with the Television Critics Association press tour on Saturday (January 12) afternoon.

Click through for the full live-blog...

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<p>Adam Lambert</p>

Adam Lambert

Credit: AP Photo

Adam Lambert and 19 Recordings part ways

Singer remains signed to RCA Records

Adam Lambert and 19 Recordings  have “amicably” split.

The “American Idol” runner-up remains signed to RCA, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  To explain a little further, the recording division of 19 Entertainment has dibs on signing any of the “American Idol” finalists and then places them with a label. For the first nine seasons, 19 Recordings when through BMG labels --and Sony after the Sony BMG merger-- and then switched to Universal Music Group two seasons ago. For example, Carrie Underwood is signed to 19/Arista, Kelly Clarkson to 19/RCA, Scotty McCreery to 19/Mercury. The deal allows 19 to have a say in the creative direction of the artist's music, while continuing to profit from sales.

Lambert split from 19 Management  in August 2011 and is handled by Direct Management Group by the same team who manages Katy Perry. 19 Management manages such former "AI" contestants as Casey Abrams, Philip Phillips and Haley Reinhart.

No reason was given for the break-up by either side, though a representative for Lambert told THR, as one does in this situation, that the two parties split “amicably and with the utmost respect for each other.”

While signed to 19/RCA, Lambert has released two studio albums and several live projects. His second studio album, “Trespassing,” while critically acclaimed, did not do well at radio and spawned no major hits, even after debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

It looks like Lambert will stay on RCA direct for his third studio album. THR says conversations about the set have already begun.

Lambert, who has gone on Twitter spiels lately about “Les Miserables” and bullying, has been silent about the label changes.

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LL Cool J

LL Cool J 

Credit: CBS

Press Tour: Grammy panel talks Whitney Houston, time delay and LL Cool J

Neil Portnow won't rule out a return to NYC

Though it's been a year since Whitney Houston died just hours before the Grammy Awards, the topic is still at the top of mind for many people. At press tour Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich said that all questions about how the death impacted the show will (probably) be answered in a one-hour documentary scheduled the night before the Grammy Awards (which will air on CBS Sun. Feb. 10). "It gives people a look at something you very rarely get to see," he said. "We tell the Whitney story... all of the footage came in after the fact. We didn't plan to do this. We put together a little reel about this... and [President, CBS Entertainment] Nina Tassler said, this would be a great show."

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This Week in New Music: Low, Foxygen, National Park System, Carmen Villain

This Week in New Music: Low, Foxygen, National Park System, Carmen Villain

Check out videos and tracks from Generationals, William Tyler, Mobley and others

Check out new songs, videos and artists from this week, including Low, Generationals, William Tyler, Phaseone, Foxygen, Hands, National Park System and more.

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<p>A visual representation of my Twitter feed's reaction to news of &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother&quot;&nbsp;being on the verge of renewal.</p>

A visual representation of my Twitter feed's reaction to news of "How I Met Your Mother" being on the verge of renewal.

Credit: CBS

Press Tour: 'Almost everything is completed' on 'How I Met Your Mother' renewal

Will the ninth season be the last? And will they hold the Mother reveal until the very end, no matter what?

When a late December report suggested that "How I Met Your Mother" was on the verge of being renewed for a ninth season, I began speculating once again on when Carter Bays and Craig Thomas intend to introduce us to Ted Mosby's future wife, and came to the conclusion that they'd rather that not happen until the very end of the series.

The renewal still isn't official, but CBS president Nina Tassler told reporters at press tour today that, "I will be very happy to report, in a very few days, I believe, that things will be resolved. We're very confident and excited that things will all work out. Almost everything is completed."

And comments she made about the pending renewal suggested that, no, we will not be meeting the Mother anytime soon.

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<p>CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler</p>

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler

Credit: CBS

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: CBS Executive Session with Nina Tassler

The head of TV's most watched network probably won't face much grilling

It's another relatively controversy-free season for CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler.

Yes, "Partners" and "Made in Jersey" tanked and neither "Vegas" nor "Elementary" is necessarily doing the numbers CBS would like, but it's still TV's most watched network and hits like "NCIS" show no sign of fading.

Click through to see what gets discussed in lieu of confrontation...

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<p>Jessica Chastain in a scene from Kathryn Bigelow's &quot;Zero Dark Thirty.&quot;</p>

Jessica Chastain in a scene from Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Sony's Amy Pascal defends 'Zero Dark Thirty' after Academy member's attack

Film 'does not advocate torture'

Sony Pictures chairwoman Amy Pascal appears to have had enough of the accusations that "Zero Dark Thirty" advocates torture. Likely prompted by Academy member David Clennon's assertion "I will not be voting for Zero Dark Thirty - in any Academy Awards category" from a post on Truth-Out.org, Pascal released a statement with her opinion on the matter.

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<p>Uma Thurman in &quot;Pulp Fiction.&quot;</p>

Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction."

Credit: Miramax Films

Haneke's 'Amour' joins exclusive club of Palme d'Or winners turned Best Picture nominees

The film joins 15 others to have transitioned from the Croisette to Oscar

As well as being gratifying in and of itself, Thursday's Best Picture Oscar nomination for Michael Haneke's "Amour" is immensely pleasing to Oscar stat geeks, who can count up the many ways in which it breaks form in the top category: the first foreign-language nominee since 2006's "Letters from Iwo Jima," the first non-US foreign-language nominee since 2000's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," the first French-language nominee since 1969's "Z," only the ninth foreign-language nominee overall, etc, etc.

But the stat we've picked up on today relates back to the start of its awards journey, where it won arguably the loftiest film award of all: the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It scarcely needs to be stated that Cannes and the Oscars occupy very different worlds, so their respective favorites rarely overlap -- but "Amour" now becomes only the 16th Palme d'Or winner to convert that prestige into a Best Picture nomination. (Okay, not strictly, given that a few films on the list actually went to Cannes after Oscar night, but the overlap is the point.)

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<p>The cover of Chris Tomlin's &quot;Burning Lights&quot;</p>

The cover of Chris Tomlin's "Burning Lights"

Big changes at the top of the Billboard 200 with Chris Tomlin in the lead

What happens to Taylor Swift and 'Les Mis?'

The holidays are officially over. If you had any doubt, just look at the numbers projected for next week’s Top 10 on the Billboard 200. Gone are sales numbers in the six figures. Back are lesser-act acts who waited until January to drop new titles rather than compete with superstars.

Christian Contemporary artist Chris Tomlin’s “Burning Lights” looks good for  a No. 1 debut, with sales of up to 75,000. Close behind him are “Notes from the Underground” from Hollywood Undead at No. 2 and “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” from Black Veil Brides” at No. 3.

After the trio of debuts, we get back to some returning names. This week’s No. 1, the soundtrack to “Les Miserables,” likely drops to No. 4, although it and Taylor Swift’s “Red” are locked in a race that’s too close to call for the No. 4 and No. 5 spot right now. Both should sell between 45,000 and 50,000.

Vying for No. 6 are Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and the soundtrack to “Pitch Perfect,” both pegged for 35,000-40,000.

It’s a two-way race for No. 8 as well, as the new set from Dropkick Murphys, “Signed and Sealed in Blood”  and The Lumineers’ self-titled set are neck and neck with sales between 30,000 and 35,000 for each.

Likely coming in at No. 10 is Pink’s “The Truth About Love,” which will sell between 27,000 and 30,000, according to Hits Daily Double.
 

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<p>Josh Brolin was in an unusually outgoing mood when we sat down to talk about his work in this weekend's new release, 'Gangster Squad'</p>

Josh Brolin was in an unusually outgoing mood when we sat down to talk about his work in this weekend's new release, 'Gangster Squad'

Credit: HitFix

Josh Brolin talks about throwing punches with Sean Penn in 'Gangster Squad'

Plus he threatens to report me to Penn over a comment

One of the most distinct memories I have involving Josh Brolin took place on the set of "Jonah Hex," where we interviewed him standing outside on a muggy New Orleans night, a few yards away from a swamp where there were alligators visibly checking us out.  Brolin's extensive prosthetic work in the film made it nearly impossible to understand him when he spoke, but he seemed delighted by the way it affected him.

Brolin strikes me as the kind of guy who loves to immerse himself in a role, losing himself in the little details.  I think the way he has evolved as a performer has been impressive, and it would have been impossible to guess back in the early days of "The Goonies" and "Thrashin'" that he would evolve into one of our most interesting leading men.  As I mentioned to him at the end of this interview, I value his presence in movies precisely because of the mileage that is so evident on him these days.  This is a guy who has lived, and who has built up his fair share of scar tissue.

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