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<p>&quot;5 Broken&nbsp;Cameras&quot;</p>

"5 Broken Cameras"

Credit: Kino Lorber

'5 Broken Cameras,' 'Detropia' pick up top prizes at Cinema Eye Honors

A great year of docs well-represented throughout

As I wrote last weekend when I broke down this year's Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature, I really wish I had caught up with "5 Broken Cameras" earlier in the season. It is quite simply one of the most astonishing pieces of work I've seen all year and could easily have figured on my top 10 list (where "The Queen of Versailles" was already featured -- it's been such a great year for the form).

I was happy, then, to see the news that the film took the top prize at tonight's Cinema Eye Honors. Such a bold and respectable call in a year that sees "Searching for Sugar Man" virtually dominating the scene (and likely to win the Oscar, too). I still feel good about the film's chances for a nod; after this win (not that this is an overly predictive), it's clear it has support.

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<p>Kaya Scodelario in &quot;Wuthering Heights.&quot;</p>

Kaya Scodelario in "Wuthering Heights."

Credit: Oscilloscope Pictures

The Long Shot: A salute to the non-contenders

Featuring my ideal-world Oscar ballot

Right, 'tis the night before Oscar Nomination Day, and plenty of creatures are still stirring. Many pundits are still feverishly tweaking their prediction lists, cross-referencing precursor lists and previous years' editions for clues, but like my HitFix colleagues, I've let mine go. These, for better or (probably) worse, are my final guesses -- some pragmatic, some playful -- and I don't much feel like shuffling them any further.

Nor, really, do I feel like talking about them much further. I could use this column to explain the method (minimal) behind my eight-nominee Best Picture lineup or the madness (maximal) behind predicting a Best Original Song nod for "The Sambola!," but any such rationalizations reach their sell-by date in just a few hours' time. I could look ahead to the next stage of the race, and the contenders likeliest to win it, but thanks to the Academy's reconfigured calendar, we still have over six weeks left in which to exhaust that topic. (Thank heavens we have some festivals in the interim to break up the conversation.)

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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Battle Before the War'

It's time for restaurant wars!

So, Dallas John is gone and that leaves the title of resident jerk to Stefan. I actually like Stefan in all his sexist crankiness (I ate at Stefan's at L.A. Farm and have to say the food was wonderful, so I'm biased). Of course, Stefan misses Dallas John. He was his morning friend! I like the idea that Stefan has friends assigned to certain times of day. Perhaps that's as long as he can stand someone. 

Wolfgang Puck joins Padma for the Quickfire Challenge. The chefs will be working with one of the most refreshing ingredients in the world -- ginger! I thought this might be a product crossover and Padma was going to say, "Diet Coke!" but not this week. Oh, wait, this is the Canada Dry Quickfire Challenge -- I was JOKING about the Diet Coke, people! Egads!

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"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' recap: 'Spilt Milk'

Could things actually be looking up for some of Briarcliff's victims?

Preparing to watch "American Horror Story," I braced myself for another round of bleak, bad news. I mean, the middle name of this show is horror, for crying out loud. There's no room for happy endings, or upbeat twists, or feel good resolutions in this cruel genre. Okay, in most horror movies someone survives after running for his or her life and cleverly outsmarting the bad guy and possibly choking said bad guy to death with chicken wire or inch-thick rope, but he or she is usually horribly scarred and needs a great deal of therapy and looks like he or she is going to cry as the credits roll. So, not exactly the stuff of Hallmark movies. 

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<p>J.J. Abrams</p>

J.J. Abrams

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

J.J. Abrams briefly discusses the end of 'Fringe'

Original co-creator talks about what he knew from the beginning
You probably know this already, but it's worth a reminder: J.J. Abrams is a busy guy.
In addition to working in post on his upcoming "Star Trek" sequel, Abrams' Bad Robot TV shingle has a busy roster that has made him a surprisingly regular presence at the Television Critics Association press tour this week, popping up to panel NBC's "Revolution" and dropping by FOX's TCA party to support the end of "Fringe."
Abrams was one of the three original creators of "Fringe," along with Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman, and he has remained a strongly interested creative force through the five-season run which will be wrapping up on January 18.
Along with a fellow reporter -- Credit on the non-HitFix questions to Will Harris -- I got a quick two-on-one chat with Abrams on Tuesday (January 8) night, talking for five minutes about the conclusion of "Fringe" and his reflections on the sci-fi drama's 100-episode run.
Click through for the full conversation.
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<p>&quot;Keep the Lights On&quot; was the one film to score in both the Film of the Year and LGBT Film of the Year categories.</p>

"Keep the Lights On" was the one film to score in both the Film of the Year and LGBT Film of the Year categories.

Credit: Music Box Films

'Les Mis' leads Gay and Lesbian Critics nods

Other nominees range from 'Argo' to 'Pitch Perfect'

The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics' Association has added its list of nominees to the very tall pile, and in a wholly non-stereotypical turn of events, "Les Misérables" leads the film field with four citations, including one particularly likely to aggravate its detractors -- for Visually Striking Film of the Year. "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Lincoln" join"Les Mis" in the top category, but there's more individuality to be found in the more specialized races, where the pleasingly alliterative trio of "The Perks of Being  a Wallflower," "The Paperboy" and "Pitch Perfect" all feature, while "Keep the Lights On" scored in both the Film of the Year and LGBT Film of the Year fields. Full list of film nominees below; everything else at The Circuit.

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<p>This photo tells you everything you need to know about the relationship between Johnny Knoxville and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the new action film 'The Last Stand'</p>

This photo tells you everything you need to know about the relationship between Johnny Knoxville and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the new action film 'The Last Stand'

Credit: HitFix

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Knoxville discuss their unlikely partnership in 'The Last Stand'

Everything about this makes me smile

I've been interviewing Johnny Knoxville for what seems like a decade now, and living in LA, I find that I run into him on a fairly regular basis just out and about.  Perhaps because of the hyper-casual nature of "Jackass," he never seemed like a celebrity, but more like a friend who just happens to have a TV show.  That's part of the appeal of that program, and Knoxville is one of the easiest guys to talk to about his work that I've ever met.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the other hand, is someone I've watched my whole life but who I never had reason to meet until last week.  Then, in one quick burst of three days, I rode a tank that he was driving, saw his new film "The Last Stand," and then sat down to interview him for the first time.  I could have happily spent a half hour talking to him by himself, but of course, that's not how these press days are set up.

Instead, you walk in, you get your four or five minutes, and then you're done.  And in this case, I had two people in one room.  Thankfully, the pairing of Knoxville and Schwarzenegger is just weird enough to be really entertaining, and the film they both star in surprised me enormously.

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<p>Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, and John Magaro all co-star in David Chase's 'Not Fade Away'</p>

Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, and John Magaro all co-star in David Chase's 'Not Fade Away'

Credit: HitFix

The young cast of David Chase's 'Not Fade Away' discuss their rock'n'roll education

Beatles or Stones? It's still one of the most pressing questions in life

If David Chase never worked again, his legacy would be completely assured because of the seismic impact that "The Sopranos" had on culture.  That's got to be an interesting feeling for an artist, knowing that you've created something that will endure, and it's the ultimate goal of creating and sharing work with other people.  You hope you'll be able to reach the largest possible audience, and when you do it and you see that work ripple through the rest of pop culture, it's a best case scenario.

Whatever you would expect as a follow-up to something like "The Sopranos," Chase had something else in mind, and his debut feature film is now playing in limited release.  It's a gentle, heartfelt look back at the '60s and the way rock'n'roll changed the world, told on a personal scale.

John Magaro stars in the film as Douglas, a kid who has his world turned upside down by the British Invasion.  He sees rock'n'roll as his way out of the life that he was born into, and more importantly, he sees it as a way of winning the woman he wants, played by Bella Heathcote.  It is a small personal story, filled with specific observations, and it feels nakedly autobiographical.  Jack Huston co-stars as another member of the band that Douglas starts, and when I sat down with Magaro, Heathcote, and Huston, I was curious about their own backgrounds in music.

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Ricky Gervais

 Ricky Gervais

Credit: AP Photo

Press Tour: Ricky Gervais insists quirky 'Derek' is a 'show about kindness'

'The Office' mastermind says he chose Muppets over the Golden Globes this year

"The Office" mastermind Ricky Gervais came to press tour to talk to journalists about "Derek," his new "bittersweet comedy drama" for NetFlix. The show is a mockumentary following the misfit Derek as he works at an underfunded senior living facility. Fans of the more acid "The Office" and "Extras" may be taken aback by the poignancy of the new show, a shift the star noted. "There's some more dramatic moments than 'The Office' or 'Extras,' maybe, and probably more, it's sweeter… [it] still has the existentialism of 'The Office,' but here it's not about being 30 [years old], it's about being 80 and 90, and the residents are 80 and 90 and are in homes themselves, so it has that reality. It's very funny, it is a sitcom, and a lot of it is plotted and character-led, but it's set in an old people's home, so they die sometimes."

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<p>The &quot;Arrested Development&quot;&nbsp;gang back in their FOX&nbsp;glory days.</p>

The "Arrested Development" gang back in their FOX glory days.

Credit: FOX

'Arrested Development' cast reunites for Netflix: Press tour live-blog

What have the Bluths been up to since 2006? And what will episodes look like?

Welcome to one of the most anticipated events of the 2013 Television Critics Association winter press tour: the reunion of virtually the entire cast of "Arrested Development" to discuss the show's resurrection on Netflix with 14 episodes debuting in May (date TBD).

We're curious to hear from creator Mitch Hurwitz what the Bluths have been up to, what format these episodes (which will all be released on the same day) will take, what took so long to make this happen, and a lot more. And I imagine one or two people will accuse Michael Cera of holding the whole thing up.

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2013 Oscar Nominations Final Predictions

2013 Oscar Nominations Final Predictions

HitFix's pundits make their final choices

We're halfway there.  Well, we're halfway there as of Thursday morning.

Seth MacFarlane and Emma "already hunting for an Oscar" Stone will announce the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards at the crack of dawn. "Lincoln," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi" and "Argo" should all be rewarded with a slew of nominations.  The rest?  Needless to say, there are some nervous potential nominees and consultants today.  With that in mind, Kris Tapley, Guy Lodge and I have made our final (and we mean final) nominations predictions which you can compare in the gallery story below.  Some intriguing observations:

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<p>Paul N.J. Ottosson at the 2009 Academy Awards, with his two Oscars for &quot;The Hurt Locker.&quot;</p>

Paul N.J. Ottosson at the 2009 Academy Awards, with his two Oscars for "The Hurt Locker."

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Tech Support: Paul N.J. Ottosson on the subtly explosive soundscapes of 'Zero Dark Thirty'

The Oscar-winning sound designer takes an organic approach to action

There's a standard line in awards-watching circles that voters often confuse Best Sound with Most Sound, but yesterday's nominations for the Cinema Audio Society awards didn't quite bear that out. Nestled between the thundering action of “The Hobbit” and “Skyfall,” and the showy live-vocal capture of “Les Mis,” we had the soft, chamber-y echoes of “Lincoln” and, most interestingly of all, “Zero Dark Thirty” – a film that takes a refreshingly understated sonic approach to territory Hollywood tends to fill with cacophonous fireworks.

This isn't the first time Swedish-born sound designer Paul N.J. Ottosson has been recognized for his muscular-but-delicate artistry on a Kathryn Bigelow thriller – three years ago, with collaborator Ray Beckett, he won the CAS Award, not to mention two Oscars, for his unnerving soundscapes on “The Hurt Locker.” That film, with its narrative expressly based around explosives, was a sound man's playground, compared to which “Zero Dark Thirty” concentrates its pyrotechnics in shorter bursts.

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