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<p>Madonna</p>
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Madonna

Credit: Morry Gash/AP

Music Power Rankings: Madonna, Justin Bieber and Adam Lambert rule

Lana Del Rey and Adele make the list too

1) Madonna: Madge saves the world (for more than four minutes) as promotion for “MDNA” goes on high alert via radio waves, TV waves, and outdoor billboards. First day pre-orders for “MDNA” send the album to No. 1 on iTunes in 35 countries. And we haven’t even gotten to the Super Bowl.

2) Bono:
As if he weren’t rich enough, his stake in Facebook is likely to earn him $1billion in the social network’s  IPO.  Yeah, we said B as in Bono and Billionaire.

3) Adam Lambert: An erroneous report that he’s replacing Freddie Mercury in Queen is enough to spin the internet out of control. It’s nice to know that should his solo career ever fade away, he always has rock royalty to fall back on.
 
[More after the jump...]

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<p>&quot;Rango&quot;&nbsp;won four awards, including Best Animated Feature</p>

"Rango" won four awards, including Best Animated Feature

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Rango' wins big at the 39th Annie Awards

'Kung Fu Panda 2' wins for direction while 'Puss in Boots' goes home empty-handed

The 39th annual Annie Awards were held this evening at UCLA's Royce Hall in West Los Angeles. You'll recall "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Puss in Boots" led the nominations and both were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

It was "Rango," though, that had the big night (and will surely take the Oscar later this month). The film won four awards, including Best Animated Feature. It did, however, lose Best Director to "Kung Fu Panda 2" helmer Jennifer Yuh Nelson (whose film won one other award, for production design).

It's interesting to note an upset in the animated short category as the indie "Adam and Dog" beat out contenders from Pixar, Disney and the National Film Board of Canada (the latter having two nominees in the Oscar short category, both of which were in contention here).

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<p>&nbsp;M.I.A. has a posse</p>

 M.I.A. has a posse

Today in New Music Videos: M.I.A., Miike Snow and Neon Indian

Take a ride with a crazy stuntwoman, 18th century aliens or a buxom 'toon

Three left-of-center, electronic-influenced acts -- M.I.A., Miike Snow and Neon Indian -- invite us into their imaginations with visually striking new videos. 

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<p>Max Von&nbsp;Sydow (left)&nbsp;and director Stephen&nbsp;Daldry on the set of &quot;Extremely&nbsp;Loud &amp;&nbsp;Incredibly&nbsp;Close&quot;</p>

Max Von Sydow (left) and director Stephen Daldry on the set of "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Extremely Loud' star Max Von Sydow talks inhabiting the silent Renter in this new featurette

Does Warner Bros. smell a window of opportunity?

Yesterday I sat down with "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" star and Oscar nominee Max Von Sydow for about a half hour to talk about this and that but mostly his and his film's surprising Academy goodwill. Warner Bros. has him in town for a few days for some TV here, some radio there, plenty of interview opportunities and a fair share of post-screening Q&As. Perhaps they smell a window of opportunity.

As I've noted here and elsewhere, Christopher Plummer may be lighting up the circuit as of late, but having his old "Dreamscape" and "Emotional Arithmetic" co-star in the category makes things a lot more interesting. Given the number of parallels between the two and equal arguments for being due a statue, I wouldn't call this race sewn up. Then again, it's tough to build momentum this late in the game and Plummer has been a full-steam locomotive for a number of months now.

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<p>Ann Curry interviewing Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill on &quot;The Today Show.&quot;</p>

Ann Curry interviewing Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill on "The Today Show."

Credit: AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer

Could this be Brad Pitt’s year after all?

The actor is gearing up his campaign with daytime and late night rounds as an air of uncertainty settles over the Best Actor race

Several months ago it seemed as though this may be Brad Pitt’s year. For some, he's a movie star who happens to know how to act. To others he is a talented character actor who happens to be a remarkably good-looking movie star. Pitt himself will often say that he has learned his craft over the course of a 20-year career peppered with hits and misses, but he has become known for his humility as well as his willingness to take chances and go against the grain of what could have been a one- or two-note body of work.

For a time in the precursor season, it appeared as though he may be nominated for “The Tree of Life” as well as “Moneyball.” Each would offer particular PR challenges. Neither necessarily represents a no-brainer Oscar win (great historical figure, person facing life-altering trauma or, as Ricky Gervais taught us in “Extras,” a Nazi or a nun). But “Moneyball” is also a film that is notably devoid of the bells and whistles of the traditional “sports movie.” There is no great triumph, no moment of cathartic victory in a neatly wrapped package of money and accolades. What the film does offer is a look at how and why we define ourselves and others as we do, as well as an exploration of a thinking man’s way through a system that is inherently inequitable.

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<p>The cover of Lana Del Rey's &quot;Born to Die&quot;</p>
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The cover of Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die"

Can Adele hold off Lana Del Rey to make it 19 weeks atop the Billboard 200?

Who sees the highest debut in his 77 years?

Next week’s Billboard 200 will likely see the debut of a controversial newcomer at No. 2 and a legendary singer, who, at 77, land the highest bow of his career. And, oh yeah, some chick named Adele.

That’s right, Adele’s “21” grabs another week at No. 1 by a wide margin, marking its 19th non-consecutive week at the summit. This week, it tied with Garth Brooks’ “Ropin’ The Wind.”  The title is slated to sell between 100,000 and 110,000 next week.  It’s running full-steam ahead to tie the record for the most weeks at No. 1 in the 20-year SoundScan era with the “Titanic” soundtrack, which spent 20 weeks at No. 1.

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<p>For many younger viewers, Ben Gazzara will be remembered mainly from his role in 'The Big Lebowski,' but his impact on the art of film acting was enormous and stretched all the way back to the '50s.</p>

For many younger viewers, Ben Gazzara will be remembered mainly from his role in 'The Big Lebowski,' but his impact on the art of film acting was enormous and stretched all the way back to the '50s.

Credit: Universal Home Video

Cassavetes regular and 'Lebowski' star Ben Gazzara dies at age 81 in NYC

One of the great character actors is gone

Ben Gazzara was never the top box-office draw of the year.  He was never the guy every studio was dying to be in business with so he would headline blockbuster after blockbuster.  He was never the guy directors cast if they wanted the ladies to line up out the door.  But for filmmakers who wanted an actor with a quiet magnetism and an emotional weight that could not be faked, Gazzara was a treasure, and he made everything he touched more honest simply by virtue of who he was.

81 years old is hardly young, but even so, it seems unfair to lose a guy who was still working consistently and who still had that same fire that made him such a gift in so many of his roles.  It's hard for actors of a certain age to find quality material, but a guy like Gazzara had a way of taking a fairly thin role and making it count simply because he counted.  He was real in a way that many Hollywood types never are, no matter how many roles they play.  It is little wonder that as many of his films were European as American, because he was drawn to small stories, human stories, films where he was allowed to show some nuance and some soul.

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<p>Jasika Nicole of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>
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Jasika Nicole of "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' - 'Making Angels'

A strong episode for Jasika Nicole, but she can't overcome the season's fundamental flaws
One of the fun parts about watching a long-running show on television is when a secondary, or even tertiary, character gets a chance to step into the foreground. As a “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” fan, I loved watching an episode centered around Xander or Willow. (Not Dawn though. Blergh.) So when I heard that tonight’s “Fringe” episode, “Making Angels,” would be Astrid-centric, I did a little Snoopy dance. Jasika Nicole has done a lot of great work in a rather thankless role, and I have been in a large chorus calling for her screen time for Astrid. As much as John Noble and Joshua Jackson get credit for their onscreen chemistry, the connection between Walter and Astrid has often been equally as wonderful.
 
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<p>&quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;&nbsp;stars Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal.</p>

"Sons of Anarchy" stars Charlie Hunnam and Katey Sagal.

Credit: FX

FX renews 'Sons of Anarchy' through season 6

Kurt Sutter extends his deal on the motorcycle club drama for three more years

FX has extended its deal for "Sons of Anarchy" through the show's sixth season, while creator Kurt Sutter has extended his own deal through what everyone assumes will be the show's seventh and final year. 

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<p>Matthias Schoenaerts in the Belgian Oscar nominee &quot;Bullhead.&quot;</p>

Matthias Schoenaerts in the Belgian Oscar nominee "Bullhead."

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Foreign Language Film

'Bullhead,' 'Footnote,' 'In Darkness,' 'Monsieur Lazhar' and 'A Separation' 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.)

It may be the most dependably unsatisfying and upset-prone of all Oscar categories, but this year's Best Foreign Language Film race has thus far proceeded without stirring up too much of a fuss: there were few surprising inclusions or omissions in either the shortlist or the eventual nominee field. The arcane selection procedures in this category will never please everyone, but the Academy has wound up with a credible and well-balanced -- if not world-beating -- list of five films.

Given, however, that most observers would list the nominees as "'A Separation' and, uh, four other movies," people might just be saving their howls of protest for Oscar night, in the event that the critically revered, award-guzzling Iranian entry doesn't win. And however much people toss around the word "lock," the fact that voters are required to see all five nominees before making their decision means there are never any sure things in this ever-frustrating category.

The nominees are...

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<p>Katy Perry in &quot;Firework&quot;</p>

Katy Perry in "Firework"

Predicting the 2012 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year

Is it Adele's to lose?

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards are only 9 days away, Feb. 12. As they approach, I’ll be predicting the winners in key categories. Adele is the frontrunner for every award she is nominated for, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t expect some surprises along the way.

First up is Record of the Year, which is one of the “Big Four” awards, which also includes Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best New Artist. These are the general awards, which are voted on by all 12,000 or so members of the Recording Academy and they are open to artists of all genres.

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<p>Beck</p>

Beck

Sasquatch! Music Festival: Jack White tours, Tenacious D's new album and... is Beck back?

Listen to new material from Tenacious D's 'Fenix'

The lineup for the 2012 Sasquatch! music festival has been unveiled, but headliners like Jack White, Tenacious D, Bon Iver and Beck bring tidings of other news with them.

White, for one, will be performing at additional festivals plus will be announcing more tour dates in support of his solo debut "Blunderbuss." He'll be taking the stage at the Gorge in George, Wash., on May 26, and will also be heading up the Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Ala., on May 18 and to London's Radio 1 Hackney Weekend 2012 over June 23-24. A press release indicates the former White Stripes leader will be posting additional dates and music news soon.

"Blunderbuss" is due April 24; click here to hear White's first single "Love Interruption."

Then there's Beck, who has rarely toured in the last four or five years. His slot at the fest may indicate there are larger things at work.

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