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<p>Howard Shore received his first non-&quot;Lord of the Rings&quot;&nbsp;Oscar nomination for his work on &quot;Hugo.&quot;</p>

Howard Shore received his first non-"Lord of the Rings" Oscar nomination for his work on "Hugo."

Credit: AP Photo/Joe Tabacca

Tech Support Interview: Howard Shore lends aural depth to the visual palette of ‘Hugo’

The Oscar-nominated composer details his approach

It’s a rare thing for Martin Scorsese to use a score as expansive and elaborate as Howard Shore’s Oscar-nominated one for “Hugo.” Indeed, Philip Glass's booming and full composition for “Kundun” 14 years ago represents the last score from one of Scorsese’s films to be nominated for an Academy Award.

“We worked very differently on this film than we had previously,” Shore says, calling from his studio in New Zealand where he is currently writing the “brand new and shiny” compositions for Peter Jackson's “The Hobbit.”

Shore won two Academy Awards for his scores on Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings" franchise, as well as Best Original Song for the series' final installment. His work on the trilogy was an immense undertaking which was eventually adapted into “'The Lord of the Rings' Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra and Chorus."

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<p>&quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;co-stars Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jim Rash participated in the most fun interview I've ever done.</p>

"Community" co-stars Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jim Rash participated in the most fun interview I've ever done.

Credit: HitFix

Why I miss 'Community': Because Jim Rash is furry

Even without scripts, this is one of the quickest, funniest casts on television

Another week has gone by without any news of when or where "Community" will return to NBC's schedule, which means it's time once again for an example of why I miss this show so much and would like it back on the air, ASAP.

For the first time in this series, I'm not going with a clip from the show itself. Instead, I'm embedding the full interview I did with Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jim Rash at Comic-Con last summer. It's nearly 20 minutes long — in other words, practically as long as a "Community" episode itself — and among the more satisfying, entertaining experiences of my professional life.

Also, it mentions furries.

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<p>&quot;American Idol&quot; hopefuls await news on Thursday's episode</p>
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"American Idol" hopefuls await news on Thursday's episode

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Hollywood Week, Part 2 - Live-Blog

Did Symone Black survive? And what drama did Group Day bring?

When we left "American Idol," 16-year-old Symone Black had just performed "Sitting On The Dock of the Bay," bantered briefly with the judges and then toppled off the stage, much to the horror of all involved.

Of course, if you only set your DVR to record "American Idol" and didn't set it to record "Mobbed," you missed the swan-dive and you also missed the cliffhanger. Instead, you spent a full hour waiting for a contestant to pass out and you got... nothing. 

But don't worry. I suspect that we're going to get a full replay as Thursday (Feb. 9) night's "American Idol" begins...

Click through...

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'The Voice's' Adam Levine starts 222 Records with 'Glee's' Matthew Morrison
Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

'The Voice's' Adam Levine starts 222 Records with 'Glee's' Matthew Morrison

First album will be out this Spring

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine has started 222 Records. “The Voice” mentor’s first signing comes from another TV show:  “Glee’s” Matthew Morrison.

“Starting my own label ha been a long-time goal of mine,” Levine told Billboard. “Great things are in store for [Matthew] with this release.” No word on who is distributing 222.

Last Spring, Morrison released an album on Mercury that included a duet with Elton John. The new set will come out in this Spring. Morrison will next be seen in “What To Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Maroon 5, who are nominated for a Grammy, will perform on this Sunday’s Grammy Awards as part of the Beach Boys reunion along with Foster the People.

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<p>Toshi was convinced that as long as he had his lightsaber, nothing else mattered last weekend.&nbsp; This is probably a good lesson for life in general.</p>

Toshi was convinced that as long as he had his lightsaber, nothing else mattered last weekend.  This is probably a good lesson for life in general.

Credit: Hitfix

Watch: Lightsaber battles, model making, and the return of Darth Maul

Film Nerd 2.0 gets technical at Skywalker Ranch

The first part of our video diary was all about the build-up to the trip out to Skywalker Ranch.  Once we got there, we had time for a little breakfast and Toshi and I started to discuss what sort of questions he might ask in the interviews he'd be doing that day.

This was a different situation than when he interviewed The Muppets.  On that press day, he had time to prepare questions, and he knew he'd be doing the interview.  Because I treated this trip as a surprise, Toshi didn't really have that sort of prep time, and he told me he was nervous about doing these interviews.

When Fox sent out the invite for the weekend, it was apparent that their big idea for this junket was having kids handle the interviews.  Anyone who came was required to bring a young reporter with them, which meant I finally got to meet the sons of guys like JoBlo's Mike Sampson and Latino Review's Kel Chavez.  I told Toshi that I'd do whatever he wanted for him to be comfortable as we went through the various interviews.

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"Fat Chef"

 "Fat Chef"

Credit: Food Network

'Fat Chef' is more serious than the crass title would suggest

The latest weight loss show looks beyond the kitchen

When I heard the title "Fat Chef" (Thurs. 10 p.m. ET, Food Network) at first I thought it might be the latest addition to Adult Swim's programming block or something new from Seth MacFarlane. When I realized it was a reality show, I assumed it was going to involve the usual weight loss TV tropes -- humiliating Spandex workout gear, teary-eyed confessions, weird challenges and possibly an angry trainer who screams a lot. "Fat Chef" hits some of those marks (you can only color so far outside of the lines with a reality TV show), but to its credit, it doesn't live up to its cheesy title.

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<p>Jean&nbsp;Dujardin auditions for &quot;Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer 2&quot;&nbsp;at Funny or Die.</p>

Jean Dujardin auditions for "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer 2" at Funny or Die.

Credit: Funny or Die

Jean Dujardin auditions for every available Hollywood villain role at Funny or Die

"It appears you have bought your last zoo."

Okay, full disclosure. An invested publicist forwarded this to me. But, well, it got me. And I had to post.

The running, cynical logic on Jean Dujardin for quite a while has been that we'll likely see him and the rest of the crew from "The Artist" fade away after this lightning-capturing season, and that if we don't, well, maybe Dujardin will play a Bond villain or something. Just look at Christoph Waltz, who has languished in bad-guy parts in "The Green Hornet" and "Water for Elephants" after winning his Oscar two years ago.

Funny or Die is always quick to get out ahead of a joke like that, and Dujardin is wise to be on board for something like their latest video, which spoofs the actor being tapped to audition for every Hollywood villain role available at the moment. He runs the gamut from "Mission: Impossible" and "Die Hard" sequels to hilariously dubious possibilities like follow-ups to "We Bought a Zoo" and "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer."

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<p>A scene (and gorgeous image) from &quot;A&nbsp;Clockwork Orange&quot;</p>

A scene (and gorgeous image) from "A Clockwork Orange"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Kubrick marketing maven Mike Kaplan on 'A Clockwork Orange' at 40

How the film, recently restored, changed film advertising forever

A well-known filmmaker friend and I were chatting about the dearth of quality films in the annual Oscar race at an awards show recently. He said to me, "When I was young, films like 'Network' and 'All the President's Men' were nominated. I feel sorry for you that nothing nominated touches those films these days."

Well, I'd argue few things MADE these days touch those films, and I almost wanted to say something like, "You're a filmmaker in today's environment. What does that say about you?" But nevertheless, point taken. Even still, I marvel at the fact that a film like, say, "A Clockwork Orange" was nominated in 1971. I couldn't fathom that kind of thing happening today. Of course, few films have the earth-shattering impact that Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece did, and when the earth moves, I guess you kind of have to take note.

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<p>The exclusion of Cristian Mungiu's &quot;4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days&quot;&nbsp;from the 2007 finalists list spurred the creation of an executive committee within the foreign language branch.</p>

The exclusion of Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" from the 2007 finalists list spurred the creation of an executive committee within the foreign language branch.

Credit: IFC Films

The Long Shot: Language barriers

On the incrementally self-medicating foreign language film process

This may come as a shock to readers accustomed to my usual tone of weary despair when it comes to the category, but I’m about to write in defense of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Reluctant defense, mind you – I’m not going to get either impassioned or affectionate for the award that recognized “Departures” over “The Class,” “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” over “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “Woman in the Dunes” and never even shortlisted “Persona,” “The 400 Blows” or anything by Kieslowski. For reasons both within and beyond their control, it’s a troubled category and always has been. But unlike most of the Academy’s many problem areas, it’s a highly self-aware and self-medicating one, forever adjusting its voting process to address blind spots.

The adjustments sometimes cause blind spots of their own, like a game of cinematic and bureaucratic whack-a-mole, but you can hardly accuse them of shrugging their shoulders. When arcane eligibility bylaws about the required language of national submissions took Michael Haneke’s “Hidden” out of the running, rules were promptly changed the next year; when voters failed to place critics’ darling “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” into the nine-film shortlist in 2007, branch leaders were sufficiently embarrassed to devise the executive-committee safety net that stands today.

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Watch: Kanye West and Jay Z trigger seizures with new video 'N***** in Paris'

Watch: Kanye West and Jay Z trigger seizures with new video 'N***** in Paris'

Mostly live clip features Will Ferrell, Notre Dame and panthers

Kanye West and Jay Z's latest video, for the new "Watch the Throne" single "N***** in Paris" comes with a seizure warning in front of it. And they're not kidding. 

Electrifying as it is, the clip is a non-stop torrent of flashing lights and kaleidoscopic effects, as the duo perform the hit song on stage in front of tens of thousands of rabid fans (most of whom look like runway models, apparently).

Directed by West himself, the video is comprised of live footage shot at the duo's multi-night stand at L.A.'s Staples Center this summer. If you missed the colossal rappers on tour together, this may be your only chance to see an approximation of their live abilities. 

There are also some black panthers, gothic architecture (Notre Dame may be the only representation of the French capital) and even a Will Ferrell cameo (in the form of a "Blades of Glory" clip), but mostly it's like watching "Tron: Legacy" in fast-forward. It puts Kanye's hyperactive, "Akira"-meets-Daft Punk video for "Stronger" to shame. West's video for "All of the Lights" also had a similar warning about seizures. Seems like kind of a weird trademark for a performer (even in the post-MTV age), but it works well with the thumping, relentlessly catchy "Paris."

Twitter-happy Kanye's previous album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" is up for just about every Grammy there is. 

Dat sh*t indeed cray: 


Jay-Z & Kanye West - Niggas In Paris from Dj Wiplash on Vimeo.


What do you think of the video? Grade it at the top of the story.

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<p>James Armstrong in &quot;The Barber of Birmingham:&nbsp;Foot Soldier of the Civil&nbsp;Rights Movement&quot;</p>

James Armstrong in "The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement"

Credit: ShortsHD/Magnolia Pictures

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Documentary Short

'Barber of Birmingham,' 'God is the Bigger Elvis,' 'Incident in New Baghdad,' 'Saving Face' and 'Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom' square off

(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)

For the second year in a row the documentary short nominees will be included in Shorts International/Magnolia Pictures' theatrical program of Oscar-nominated shorts. The films release as a package in 200 theaters nationwide on tomorrow, February 10.

The docs this year were an interesting and diverse assortment. At least two of them are top-notch works of cinema. Another is a gripping if somewhat clinical dissection of an unfortunate wartime event, while one will likely land well for its old Hollywood connections. The least-compelling of the lot is a new spin on familiar Civil Rights movement territory. Meanwhile, there are three former nominees in the line-up, two of them having been chalked up for feature work in the past.

The nominees are…

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<p>Max von&nbsp;Sydow at Monday's Nominees Luncheon</p>

Max von Sydow at Monday's Nominees Luncheon

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Round-up: Enough about Max von Sydow's burst of applause, already!

Also: UK citizens vote on the greatest BAFTA winner and who leads Best Actor Tweet mentions?

I've kind of been going nuts lately at the amount of people reporting from the Oscar Nominees Luncheon leaning on the amount of applause Max von Sydow received as if it's, in and of itself, an indication of anything. If you're a film industry professional and you have a chance to applaud for a guy like that, you're going to do it. Annette Bening got a lot of applause at last year's event. It just means respect. Plus, Christopher Plummer wasn't even there, so you can't gauge one response versus the other. This week, Dave Karger uses the burst of applause as a reason to move von Sydow up to #2 in his Best Supporting Actor rankings, but that's really where he should have been since day one. I'll say it again: von Sydow's mere presence in the category makes things interesting. [Entertainment Weekly]

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