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<p>Harry Turtledove's 'The War That Came Early' has been a huge hit for the author, but it meant more to one reader, and the story of how Turtledove reached out to him is quite moving.</p>

Harry Turtledove's 'The War That Came Early' has been a huge hit for the author, but it meant more to one reader, and the story of how Turtledove reached out to him is quite moving.

Credit: Del Rey Publishing

One Thing I Love Today: Author Harry Turtledove and Reddit make a wish come true

There are times the Internet restores my faith in people, and this is one

There are days where I think the Internet is one great big snark machine designed to take everything and transform it into this non-stop barrage of one-liners and attitude and irritating self-satisfaction, and I'm sure I'm as much a part of that as anyone, and then there are days where the Internet coughs up something so human and wonderful that it wipes away any complaint I might have.

I didn't see this until yesterday, but it's actually been bouncing around since Friday, and I think author Harry Turtledove might have just won me as a fan permanently.

By now, we've become used to the idea of Make-A-Wish and the way they reach out to help people diagnosed with terminal illnesses.  I've seen some pretty remarkable acts of giving since I moved to LA from people who were deeply moved by their encounters with the kids they came in contact with, and I think if you're in a position to help someone whose life is about to be cut brutally short, there's an obligation to try and do it.

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<p>Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography&nbsp;Oscar for &quot;Hugo&quot;&nbsp;at the 84th annual&nbsp;Academy Awards.</p>

Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography Oscar for "Hugo" at the 84th annual Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Tech Support: 'Hugo' dominates Oscar's craft categories

Wrapping up the year and the Academy Awards below the line

It’s not usually appropriate for journalists to speak of how their personal experiences affect their views on particular events. But my experience watching the 2012 Academy Awards affects my analysis of it to such an extent that it would be dishonest for me to pretend anything otherwise.

Meryl Streep has been my favorite actress of all time for as long as I’ve had a “favorite actress of al time.” And as much as I loved Viola Davis’s performance in “The Help,” Streep remained my favorite of this year’s Best Actress nominees. Her victory and her speech made me extraordinarily happy last night.

She divided her “thank yous” between her husband, her makeup artist, and her Hollywood family. Notice that second class as a category unto itself. Roy Helland and Meryl Streep have worked together for almost four decades. His win for “The Iron Lady” is oh-so-deserved and I’ll give Streep the utmost in kudos for recognizing the work of the men and women below the line. Recognizing the importance of such work is what we’ve tried to do here at Tech Support.

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>
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Nicki Minaj

Credit: Chris O'Meara/AP

Watch: Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Pitbull take over the NBA All-Star Game

Minaj debuts 'Starships,' Brown joins Pitbull for 'International Love'

Nicki Minaj left the Vatican out of her NBA All-Star Game in Orlando Sunday night.

She performed new single “Starships” in a fun, high energy performance that included scantily-clad men and was interrupted by the introduction of some of the players before Minaj returned to perform “Super Bass.”  “Starships” is already off to an incredible start at radio, debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 9.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Michel Hazanavicius holds his Oscar while being questioned at last night's Weinstein&nbsp;Company after-party.</p>

Michel Hazanavicius holds his Oscar while being questioned at last night's Weinstein Company after-party.

Credit: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Congrats to our In Contention Oscar pool winners!

Byron A. Martin, Roberto Paula and Chris Swan, come on down!

Thanks to everyone for joining our Oscar pool at Picktainment for the third-straight season. This year, our victors were (drumroll please)...

First Prize goes to BYRON A. MARTIN, who got 20 out of 24 categories (including picking the Meryl Streep upset) and managed to come dangerously close to the show's run-time in our tie-breaker.

Second Prize goes to ROBERTO PAULA who got the exact same categories right (both winners missed Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Documentary Feature) and also picked Streep, but came up short in the tie-breaker.

And Third Prize goes to CHRIS SWAN, who, like me, nailed down 19 out of 24 but had the right combination of points to claim that spot all to himself. He missed Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short.

But you guys have to reach out if you want your spoils so drop me a line with your preferred address and we'll mail out your prizes, a lovely combo of soundtracks and DVDs, ASAP!

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<p>Meryl&nbsp;Streep holds aloft her third Oscar</p>

Meryl Streep holds aloft her third Oscar

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Off the Carpet: AMPAS hits reset

Last night's kudos season finale felt extremely safe and incredibly easy

So, the Oscars happened.

There were two legitimate surprises at last night's finale to the 2011-2012 film awards season. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" became just the 15th (I believe) film to win Best Film Editing without receiving a Best Picture nomination. The last was :The Bourne Ultimatum" in 2007, then "Black Hawk Down" in 2001. And the last film to win ONLY Best Film Editing was "Bullitt" in 1968. And Meryl Streep finally nabbed that third Oscar her fans and supporters have demanded for her with increasing intensity over the last few years.

Someone on Twitter said they thought Streep's win over Viola Davis will not age well. I don't know what we'll think of it in the future, but I do know Streep and Davis are friends who would hate to know there are discussions and column inches being dedicated to this competition.

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<p>The French table(s) go crazy after &quot;The Artist&quot;&nbsp;is announced as best picture at the official Weinstein Company viewing party Sunday night in West Hollywood.</p>

The French table(s) go crazy after "The Artist" is announced as best picture at the official Weinstein Company viewing party Sunday night in West Hollywood.

A view of the 84th Academy Awards from the winner's party: The Weinstein Company

A big night for the mini-major as the 'Hugo' and 'Artist' battle heats up

Finding an appropriate location to watch the Academy Awards ever year in Los Angeles is akin to making sure you get invited to the right New Year's Eve party.  Chances are it's going to be crowded, there won't be enough alcohol, you wonder how you never get invited to the Elton John fete and you quickly realize not going to get to hear most of the countdown, er, telecast very well.  And for those of us who cover Hollywood's biggest night, trying to find a party where you can either live-blog or work is incredibly difficult.  Such troubles, eh?  This year, I jumped at the chance to watch the show from the vantage point of The Weinstein Company's shindig at the Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip. And considering the mini-major was expected to dominate the evening's honors with "The Artist" it seemed like a safe bet.

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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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