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Taking questions for 2/3 Oscar Talk

Offer up your burning queries

Alright, you know the drill. It's been a week and a half since last Anne and I spoke, so it's time to dive back into the post-nominations discussion. Rifle off your need-to-knows and we'll try to address a few in this week's podcast.

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<p>Matt (Alex Russell) finds himself facing a mid-air collision with a bus in Josh Trank's &quot;Chronicle.&quot;</p>

Matt (Alex Russell) finds himself facing a mid-air collision with a bus in Josh Trank's "Chronicle."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: 'Chronicle' makes you believe two teenagers can destroy downtown Seattle

Director Josh Trank shows talent in a new spin in the found footage genre

[With Film Editor Drew McWeeny fighting off a massive viral bug, Dan Fienberg and I are stepping in to review this weeks' major releases.]

It's been 12 years since Bryan Singer's "X-Men" effectively re-launched the superhero film genre and movie fans found themselves in a golden age of comic book movies.  In that time the genre has been stretched to the pseudo-realism of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" series to Zack Snyder's very serious "Watchmen" adaptation to Brad Bird's stylish "The Incredibles" to the bloody consequences of Matthew Vaughn's "Kick-Ass." Considering the popularity of "found footage" films over the same period its somewhat surprising it took this long for the two genres to meet. That changes Friday with the new 20th Century Fox release "Chronicle."

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<p>Meryl&nbsp;Streep in &quot;The Iron&nbsp;Lady&quot;</p>

Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tech Support Interview: Hair and makeup designers Marese Langan and Mark Coulier on turning Meryl Streep into 'The Iron Lady'

The film is looking like the frontrunner in the category

Transforming a well-known actor into a well-known political figure on the screen is tricky business. The visual familiarity with both can be a huge challenge, leaving viewers scrutinizing the work more than they might otherwise.

In the case if "The Iron Lady," one of the most recognizable actresses in the world, Meryl Streep, had to undergo such a transformation as prosthetics designer Mark Coulier and hair designer Marese Langan were tasked with turning her into former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But beyond just the physical transformation of one visage into another, "The Iron Lady" is a decades-spanning effort that sees a gradual shift in appearance for the character throughout the movie.

And even then, it wasn't just a single actor undergoing this kind of work. "We had a cast of 70 playing mostly historical characters," says Langan. "Therefore we had to give a nod towards the physical appearance of these real-life figures, and in many cases, this required the use of wigs and hair pieces."

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<p>Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters</p>

Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters

Today in New Music Videos: M. Ward, Raekown, Foo Fighters and more

Liturgy, Die Antwoord and The Darkness' first song in seven years

Over the course of the last three days, there have been far too many new music videos to ignore -- from M. Ward, Foo Fighters, Liturgy, Raekwon, Die Antwoord and The Darkness -- so let's explore, shall we?

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<p>Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) prepare for the fight of their lives in 'The Hunger Games'</p>

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) prepare for the fight of their lives in 'The Hunger Games'

Credit: Lionsgate

Want to attend the 'Hunger Games' premiere? HitFix can make that happen

We've got the full details on the Twitter sweepstakes and how to enter

Considering the amount of attention that's been paid to every single step of the production of the upcoming film adaptation of "The Hunger Games," it seems hard to believe that the film is finally set to have its world premiere at the Nokia Live in Los Angeles on March 12.

Even harder to believe?  HitFix has got a chance for you to win two tickets to the premiere, and all you need are Twitter and Facebooks accounts.

It's going to be a genuinely exciting evening, if only because of the enormous expectations that people have for the film.  I keep reading comparisons between this and "Twilight," and aside from the possible commercial potential, I can't see any similarity.  For one thing, the "Hunger Games" books are actually well-written and engrossing, with characters who make real choices based on something other than the disturbing pathology of the author.  These also deal with much larger ideas than just "who will the main character boink?", which makes it much easier to endorse the idea of this adaptation.  While Gary Ross has never made anything like these movies, his passion for the material is encouraging, and his casting has been interesting to watch as it came together.

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<p>The cover of Damien Bona and Mason Wiley's book &quot;Inside Oscar.&quot;</p>

The cover of Damien Bona and Mason Wiley's book "Inside Oscar."

Credit: Ballantine Books

Round-up: Paying tribute to Damien Bona

Also: Farewell to paper Oscar ballots, and rechristening the Kodak

It's a regrettable sign of awards-season distractedness that I didn't learn until yesterday that Damien Bona, patron saint of Oscar geeks, passed away last week. If his name isn't familiar to you, his book "Inside Oscar" -- co-authored with Mason Wiley -- should be: the most comprehensive and entertaining history of the Academy Awards yet written, it's an essential tome to which the entire curious sport of awards analysis owes its existence. As a kid, I checked out the local library's copy so many times they practically kept it aside for me. Upon eventually discovering a copy in a secondhand bookshop (ah, pre-internet life!), I wore it down until the spine cracked; Scotch-taped back into place, it still sits on my shelf. Sasha Stone knew Bona, and her heartfelt farewell, with input from Mark Harris and Susan Wloszczyna, is a lovely read. [Awards Daily]

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<p>David Lee Roth with Eddie Van Halen in the background during a New York City performance on Jan. 5.</p>

David Lee Roth with Eddie Van Halen in the background during a New York City performance on Jan. 5.

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

Live Review: Van Halen turns it up during Los Angeles private show

Have they still got what it takes?

As Van Halen drew “She’s The Woman” —a tune on the quartet’s Feb. 7 album, “A Different Kind of Truth”—to a close during the group’s secret show Wednesday night on the Henson Studios lot in Los Angeles, Eddie Van Halen crossed behind David Lee Roth so the two ended up face to face when the song came to its cold stop.

Standing only a few feet apart, they looked at each other and both broke into wide, maniacal grins, so obviously delighted to be back on stage and in front of an adoring audience.

And so it went for much of the hour-long show. As rough and ragtag as some spots were, there was never a moment when it felt like the band, rounded out by Van Halen’s son Wolfgang on bass and his brother Alex Van Halen on drums, was phoning it in. For all the drama and demons that have chased the group during its fractured  40 years off stage, the state of the Van Halen union felt strong when they stood on stage together.

[More after the jump...]

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef' - 'Bike, Borrow & Steal'

PeeWee Herman gives the chefs bikes - and one tough lunch challenge

Oh, this should be a fun challenge -- Pee-wee Herman is in the house! No, he's no Charlize Theron, but I suspect the chefs will have to bring a sense of humor to their food, and that's never a bad thing. Just as long as they don't make entrees that taste like a melted Baskin-Robbins cake or anything. Humor should not be synonymous with diabetic shock. 

The Quickfire Challenge will require the chefs to make pancakes, the favorite food of our guest judge, in 20 minutes. The guest judge will be, of course, Pee-wee. He wants happy, fun, tasty pancakes. And the winner gets $5,000. So bring out the fun and happy, minions! 

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<p>The original controversial teaser poster for &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo&quot; </p>

The original controversial teaser poster for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Sex scares: ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ will not be released in India

Meanwhile it opens in Japan with limited censorship

Five Oscar nominations (for cinematography, editing, sound editing, sound mixing and Best Actress Rooney Mara) will likely serve to provide David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” with a nice little publicity boost as it heads into the final stages of its international roll out. The citizens of India, however, will not have the opportunity to see the film in theaters.

The Guardian reports that Sony Pictures has cancelled the scheduled February 10 release date after India's Central Board of Film Certification insisted that 5 scenes be pulled from Fincher’s cut. Both the director and the studio refused to make the adjustments, opting to abandon the open altogether.

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Adele and Kelly Clarkson duke it out for the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100
Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Adele and Kelly Clarkson duke it out for the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100

Which artist is 'Stronger?'

Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain” is strong enough to hold off Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” for the top spot on the Billboard 100, although Clarkson’s song is gaining momentum.

This marks “Fire’s” second week at No. 1, as Adele’s “21,” which features “Fire,” spends its 18th non-consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

“Stronger” leaps 8-2 on the Hot 100, as well as climbs 3-1 on the Digital Songs chart. It is the "American Idol" winner's second No. 1 on the digital chart, following “My Life Would Suck Without You," according to Billboard.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>According to FOX, these people appear on Wednesday's &quot;American Idol.&quot; One of them is named Britnee Kellogg. Keep an eye out for her!</p>
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According to FOX, these people appear on Wednesday's "American Idol." One of them is named Britnee Kellogg. Keep an eye out for her!

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Portland Auditions - Live-Blog

What would our judges find in Oregon? Talent, we hope!

It's been a big week of news stemming from a FOX singing competition show. Of course, that news has all involved "The Ex Factor" and its revolving door of talent, which has put "American Idol" in the odd position of being under-discussed and under-the-radar. 

Has "American Idol" become FOX's neglected underdog?

Probably not. But maybe "American Idol" will find some underdog singing talent in Portland. 

Click through for the full recap...

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<p>R. Kelly</p>

R. Kelly

Listen: R. Kelly wants to 'Share My Love' with you, in advance of new album

Kells is prepared to populate, disco-style

After today's sad announcement on the passing of Don Cornelius, it's hard not to hear any other news without that shading on it.

But this is a celebratory piece. Because R. Kelly's back, and he's disco, and it's a very specific nod to an era during which Cornelius reigned. Applause all around.

Kells' newest offering is "Share My Love," a track sent to radio today, steeped in 1970s soul and the R&B crooner's plan to help "populate" this big blue earth. It's a lot of familiar instrumentation from his last album, 2010's "Love Letter," with its groovy bassline and warm, flirty guitar, laced with twinkling keys and a humming, sensual orchestra.

Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton successfully did the feel-good thing last year, so it's great to see that smiling, sexy sex is still popular in 2012.

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