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<p>Bopper and Mark of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Bopper and Mark of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'You Know I'm Not as Smart as You'

Who knew long division would be so important?
By airing the season's second episode on Oscars night, "The Amazing Race" forced me into a late-night recap on Sunday (Feb. 26), since I was live-bloging the Academy Awards during the show's ET airing.
 
I can't say if I would have felt this disconnected from the episode if I'd watched it on my normal schedule, but this is going to be a short recap [After-the-fact note: It was not a short recap], since I spent the last 20 minutes of the show thinking something that regular readers know I almost never think during "The Amazing Race"...
 
That thought?
 
Gee. I kinda hope this is a Non-Elimination Leg.
 
I had the thought even before a team I like started to struggle, but I swear on a small stack of Bibles that I'd have stuck by the thought even if Phil Keoghan had been on the verge of eliminating one of the teams I hate.
 
That was just a bad hour of TV to send any team home on. This would have been the rare NEL that wouldn't have gotten any complains from me.
 
Instead, naturally, this was not a Non-Elimination Leg and a team I like (kinda) went home. 
 
Add in the Oscars, which largely went to movies I didn't really love and this was a lackluster evening of non-stop TV viewing.
 
Click through for as much recapping as I can stand...
 
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<p>Academy Awards host Billy Crystal.</p>

Academy Awards host Billy Crystal.

Credit: AP

Review: Academy Awards telecast and host Billy Crystal lean heavily on nostalgia

Timewarp quality leads to a not-so-wonderful night for Oscar
Of the nine films nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards, only "The Descendants" was set entirely in present-day America. Parts of "Midnight in Paris" took place in 2011, but it spent more time on the Hemingway end of things. And the other nominees were period pieces ranging from the turn of the millennium back to the 1920s.
 
It was a year where the Oscars had little interest in what was happening in the world today, and an Oscar telecast that had very little interest in what's happening in the movies today. It was a telecast that, over and over and over again, wanted to remind people of how much they used to love going to the movies — especially back in the days when the big winners were also box office hits that most of the viewing audience had seen. We got one montage after another whose only theme seemed to be "Movies: weren't they just swell when you were growing up?"
 
The nostalgia ran right through to the choice of host Billy Crystal, doing the same act he'd done 8 times previously, trying desperately to recapture the good feelings he got 20 years ago when Jack Palance did those one-armed push-ups. At one point, he even trotted out his old Sammy Davis Jr. impression from "Saturday Night Live," not recognizing that the reaction to blackface is a bit different a quarter century later.
 
But all that those grabs to past movie and Oscar glory couldn't disguise a lifeless show featuring a bunch of pre-ordained winners and Crystal looking repeatedly surprised that his jokes were dying.
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<p>Shane (Jon Bernthal)&nbsp;and Rick (Andrew Lincoln)&nbsp;in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

'The Walking Dead' - '18 Miles Out': Choose life?

Rick and Shane take a trip, and Lori and Andrea have a talk

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I eat birthday cake and listen to "The Lord of the Rings" book on tape...

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<p>John Ortiz as Turo Escalante in &quot;Luck.&quot;</p>

John Ortiz as Turo Escalante in "Luck."

Credit: HBO

'Luck' - 'Episode 5': Trust no one

Paranoia strikes deep in the season's midpoint

A review of tonight's "Luck" coming up just as soon as I confuse Judge Judy with Dr. Phil...

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<p>&nbsp;Viola Davis</p>
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 Viola Davis

Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

The Fien Print's Academy Awards 2012 Live-Blog

From Billy Crystal to an endless string of 'Artist' wins, join the conversation...

I've spent the last two-plus hours live-tweeting all of the red carpet Oscars fun, but now it's time to get "serious" and by "serious" I mean "bring page views to HitFix." Thus, welcome to my Oscars live-blog. Join the conversation. I'll try to chat along in the comments during commercial breaks!

Before we get started, you wanna know what I'm rooting for tonight? ANYTHING surprising. So if Spencer, Plummer, Davis, Dujardin, Hazanavicious and "The Artist," "The Artist," "The Artist" and "The Artist," it's gonna be a grumpy evening. I don't need for all of the favorites to lose. Heck, some of them are the deserving winners. But gimme a Gary Oldman win or something... Just to keep things interesting. Is that too much to ask?

Let's find out, after the break...

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<p>Demian Bichir is one of the few actors nominated in both the real 84th Academy Awards and the alternate dimension version of the Awards that we're somehow live-blogging today.</p>

Demian Bichir is one of the few actors nominated in both the real 84th Academy Awards and the alternate dimension version of the Awards that we're somehow live-blogging today.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

We live-blog the Oscars... but from an alternate dimension?

In a world where anything can happen, what might have happened during this year's show?

3:00 PM:  "Drew, I'd like for you to live-blog the Oscars."

That was the e-mail this morning.  "Oh, no," I thought.  "I just RT'd my link from last year about why I don't report on the Oscars or watch the Oscars or anything.  Besides, with both Awards Campaign and In Contention in the HitFix family, we've got awards covered like crazy."  I was filled with a sudden dread at the idea that I might have to eat some crow and suddenly spend my day reporting on this thing that I so studiously avoid all year long.

Then there was a knock at the front door.  HitFix is, of course, positively swimming in it.  I mean, look around the website.  Swanky, right?  I had no idea how dedicated Greg Ellwood was to the idea of me doing Oscar coverage until I opened the door and found his ultimate weapon waiting there for me.  He arranged for Apple to deliver a prototype Apple TV to the house for me to watch the show.  And I'm not talking about the box you hook up to your existing HD screen.  I'm talking about the long-rumored but not-remotely-confirmed actual 70-inch all-included HD television that Apple's developing.  I'm not sure how he got it delivered, but an Apple representative, dressed like a Secret Service agent and built like a cartoon superhero, informed me that he was going to have to stay and take the device back at the end of the show.

But for now, I figure I have no choice.  I just got everything hooked up in the playroom and turned it on.  There are so many apps and possibilities in the programming on this thing that just finding the channel for the Oscars is a bit of a science project.  I found one onscreen icon that has a picture of the E! logo and "Alternate" written underneath it.  I figure anything that is established as an alternative to the sort of coverage that drove me away from watching the Oscars in the first place is a good thing.  And since the whole set appears to be driven by Siri controls, all I had to say is "Alternate, search Oscars," and about ten seconds later, I was watching a red-carpet feed.

I was surprised to see Albert Brooks as the first face I recognized on the red carpet.  Surprised, but pleased.  I didn't realize he'd be at the show even without his nomination.  What was stranger was seeing Lars Von Trier behind him on the carpet, being interviewed by someone else.  And it looks like Kirsten Dunst is with him.  So... what the hell?

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<p>Jean&nbsp;Dujardin accepting the Best Actor Oscar at the 84th annual&nbsp;Academy&nbsp;Awards</p>

Jean Dujardin accepting the Best Actor Oscar at the 84th annual Academy Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

'The Artist' wins five Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Actor (with live blog)

'Hugo' also nabs five while Meryl Streep shocks in Best Actress

I haven't live-blogged the Oscars in a while. Usually today is like I just got out of jail, so I'm generally boozing it up at this party or that and just soaking it in.

Not today! And lucky you! I'll be right here at the laptop tap-tapping away as this year's final kudos are handed out on the stage of the Kod...er...Hollywood & Highland Theatre. Will there be upsets? Will there be intrigue? Will there be blood? Whatever there will be, I will be here. I may also have this or that to say on Twitter.

So let's get this puppy started...

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<p>Emilio Fernandez as General Mapache in &quot;The Wild Bunch.&quot;</p>

Emilio Fernandez as General Mapache in "The Wild Bunch."

Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

The Oscar statuette’s reluctant muse

Hollywood’s coveted prize was modeled after the nude form of a filmmaker

If you’re looking for a tie-breaker for your pool at tonight’s Oscar party, Yahoo! Movies may have just provided it in the form of a little-known piece of trivia. The Academy’s golden statue is not an amorphous rendering of a vague human ideal; rather, it is modeled after one of the entertainment industry’s early (and slightly lesser-known) directors.

Emilio Fernandez (aka “El Indio”) was forced to relocate to Los Angeles from his native Mexico after being exiled for participation in an attempted uprising spearheaded by Adolfo de la Huerta in the 1920s. He forged a career for himself as both an actor and director, helming over 40 films over the course of the roughly 50 years he spent in Hollywood.

It was in the early part of his career that he came into contact with Cedric Gibbons via Gibbons’s wife, Mexican actress Dolores del Rio. Gibbons was the art director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, an early AMPAS member and the man responsible for overseeing the design of Oscar’s statuette.

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<p>The 2012 HitFix&nbsp;Oscar ballot</p>

The 2012 HitFix Oscar ballot

Credit: HitFix

Join the In Contention Oscar pool and print out the HitFix Oscar ballot!

With a few days to go in Oscar season, it's time to make your picks

(Bringing this back around one more time with all the pertinent stuff for today. Think I'm settled on the points system.)

For the third-straight year it looks like we'll be using Picktainment's set-up for our annual Oscar pool. Some of you may still be members of the site from previous years, but if not, you have to first join up here. After you've done that, go ahead and go to In Contention's Oscar pool here and join the group. After that, you're all ready to make your picks, which you can do by clicking on the "edit my picks" link there.

Meanwhile, HitFix has you all squared away if you're looking for a printable Oscar ballot. You can download ours here and check off your picks to follow along on Oscar night. You can also join the site-wide Oscar pool here. There will be a separate prize for the winner there.

Lastly, Oscar predictions: mine, Guy's, Gerard's, Greg Ellwood's and my Oscar Talk colleague Anne Thompson's. See you in the live blog, which will kick off in a few hours.

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<p>Tom&nbsp;Cruise in &quot;Mission:&nbsp;Impossible - Ghost Protocol&quot;</p>

Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Does Oscar hate genre?

With ‘Extremely Loud’ in and ‘Drive’ out, Seth Rogen asks the question

Tonight brings us the final sparkly conclusion to the 2012 awards season. We’ve mourned the exclusion of films and performances we championed (“Margaret,” “Shame,” “Drive” and so on) and we’ve acquiesced to the inevitable wins and losses of those that were nominated.

Or have we?

As The Guardian notes, Seth Rogen, who’s best known for his work as a broad comedic actor (though he broke some new-ish ground this year with “50/50” and “The Green Hornet”) spoke out in defense of genre films in a recent interview with Film News. "I honestly thought ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ was one of the best movies of the year,” he said. “It got no love from awards, whatsoever. I loved that fucking movie! It was great! And, I thought ‘Drive’ was awesome too. That got nominated for an Independent Spirit award, but didn't get any Oscar nominations."

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<p>&quot;The Help' set itself up as an awards player early on by becoming a box office success story.</p>

"The Help' set itself up as an awards player early on by becoming a box office success story.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Box office and Oscar, from 'Deathly Hallows' to 'Tree of Life'

How did this year's nominees do at the domestic box office?

It's Oscar Sunday and by tonight, it'll all be over but the cryin', as they say. But as we gear up for today's festivities, I thought I'd take a look at the box office of this year's Oscar nominees for the first time this season.

I was happy to quietly do away with our already thin box office coverage a few months back because it's just not an element of the business I can invest in too much. Often times, even more so than observing an Oscar race, it can be pretty disheartening.

Of course, the biggest box office champ of the year was "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," which raked in over $380 million at the domestic box office this year. That was good enough to significantly top the previous top money-grabber of the franchise, 2001's "The Sorcerer's Stone," and it also marked the first time a Potter film topped a "Transformers" entry.

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<p>Guess they decided not to drape anything over the &quot;Kodak Theater&quot;&nbsp;part of the entrance for the 84th Academy Awards.&nbsp; Sort of strange since host Billy Crystal has been instructed not to refer to it as the Kodak and instead the Hollywood and HIghland Complex or something like that.</p>

Guess they decided not to drape anything over the "Kodak Theater" part of the entrance for the 84th Academy Awards.  Sort of strange since host Billy Crystal has been instructed not to refer to it as the Kodak and instead the Hollywood and HIghland Complex or something like that.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

2012 Oscar Predictions: Why I picked what I picked

What categories won't 'The Artist' win?

When you cover awards season every year for months on end it would be disingenuous to be extremely excited on Oscar Sunday.  Sure, every few years there is a major horse race and potential upsets at stake, but 2012 is going to be about as predictable as you can get. At this point in the season the winners of all the major categories are pretty much known and this year we weren't even provided a silly scandal ("Hurt Locker" producer's E-mails, Melissa Leo's own trade ads, etc.) to tempt us to change our picks. Instead, we've had more publicity about whether Sacha Baron Cohen is going to dress up as "The Dictator" on the red carpet than whether the show will be any good (yeah, we know Billy Crystal's back but...).

Still, it's been a busy week and while I made my final predictions on Friday along with In Contention's Kris Tapley and Guy Lodge, I didn't have time to post my justifications for said picks. So, before you fill out your own ballot or participate in HitFIx's free prediction pool take a few minutes and read up on some (hopefully) spot on analysis. I'll certainly be eating crow for what I get wrong.

Also, check out these Oscar reports the HitFix team worked on for Hulu.  Good stuff.

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