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<p>Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons in &quot;The Words.&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons in "The Words."

Credit: CBS Films

Is the Sundance Film Festival's Oscar run officially over?

2012 is turning out to be another weak year for Academy Awards contenders

PARK CITY - It's been quite common over the past few years to receive a press release from the Sundance Film Festival congratulating the just announced Oscar nominees who debuted or screened their films at the previous edition of the festival. Impressively, the list of nominees was growing and including bigger and bigger categories almost every year.  What once was just some nominations in the documentary short category had grown to best actor, best original screenplay and - gasp - best picture.

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<p>Diane Keaton in&nbsp;&quot;Darling Companion&quot;</p>

Diane Keaton in "Darling Companion"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

SBIFF raises the curtain on the 27th annual

Honorees will include Viola Davis, Christopher Plummer and Martin Scorsese

SANTA BARBARA - The 27th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicked off tonight with the world premiere of Lawrence Kasdan's "Darling Companion," starring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline. Unfortunately I couldn't make it down in time to catch it, but I'm here now and ready for a few days of awards season awareness.

The Santa Barbara fest smartly positioned itself a number of years back as a destination for Oscar contenders. Being the biggest phase two exposure of that sort, the festival's profile has sky-rocketed since Roger Durling took over executive director duties some time ago, adding lengthy tributes scattered throughout the fest as well as the Kirk Douglas Award (which is handed out every October at a private dinner -- this year's recipient was Michael Douglas). This year, a number of Oscar nominees will be appearing at the fest to have a little love thrown their way.

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<p>One of the Texas auditioners on Thursday night's &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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One of the Texas auditioners on Thursday night's "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

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

Were the stars tonight big and bright deep in the heart of Texas?

So what have I missed, y'all? It seems like a dozen months ago that I recapped the "American Idol" premiere and then the Sundance Film Festival began.

I assume you've been keeping up with Liane Bonin Starr's "Idol" recaps in my absence, while also keeping up with all of my Sundance coverage... 

Right?

I know I'm live-blogging on West Coast Time tonight, but let's get going with Thursday's (Jan. 26) auditions from Texas...

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'Good Taste Tastes Good'

The designers get to meet their idol - but only get six hours to work

We're down to the last ten designers, though I'm sure we're not down to our last wacky-ass design challenge. It seems that each week the designers are put through the paces for our amusement, but with little opportunity to highlight their actual skills. I guess making these guys show us how they can create evening gowns for Muppets or constructed from plastic knives or while wearing blindfolds makes things easier for the judges (she sent a model down the runway naked - she's out!), I'm not sure it's determining who's the best designer. But then, I guess reality TV doesn't really give a crap about that, anyway. 

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<p>Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in &quot;The Help.&quot;</p>

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in "The Help."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Predicting Sunday's SAG Awards

Could 'The Help' have its biggest night of the season?

Positioned almost a month away from the Academy Awards ceremony, the Screen Actors' Guild Awards are frequently something of a buzzkill in the Oscar race -- not because they don't make for a perfectly entertaining evening in themselves, but because they have a nasty habit of sealing up the competition in a number of categories, making life rather dull for attentive awards-watchers.

A certain degree of overlap with the Academy membership makes their routine foreshadowing of the acting Oscar winners -- in the 17-year history of the awards, nearly 70% of the performances honored by SAG went on to take the big prize -- inevitable, though since the awards calendar was reshuffled a few years ago, they tend to answer some questions in the race a bit too early. With this year's acting races already showing little wiggle room, don't count on the Guild to open things up.

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<p>Leslie (Amy Poehler)&nbsp;shows off her bowling skills on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Leslie (Amy Poehler) shows off her bowling skills on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'Bowling for Votes': The perfect game

Leslie overreacts to a slight, April tries to crush Chris and Tom schools Ron

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I find an octagonal house...

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<p>Chevy Chase as Pierce on &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Chevy Chase as Pierce on "Community."

Credit: NBC

Why I miss 'Community': Because Pierce isn't as dumb as he looks

Every now and then, the old man has something to teach Jeff

It's Thursday at 8, which once upon a time would have meant an episode of "Community" was about to start. Instead, "Community" remains off of NBC's schedule with no announced return date(*), which means it's time for another installment of Why I Miss "Community," which I'm going to keep running every Thursday until we know the show's coming back.

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Kim Kardashian

 Kim Kardashian

Credit: AP Photo

Are you ready for Kim Kardashian's multi-episode arc on 'Drop Dead Diva'?

The tabloid fixture debuts her new character on the show's season premiere

Just in case you thought the Kardashians might finally be reaching the end of their extremely lengthy fifteen minutes, guess again. Kim Kardashian, who last year snagged a role in Tyler Perry's "The Marriage Counselor," has just landed a multi-episode arc on the fourth season of the Lifetime series "Drop Dead Diva" according to Deadline Hollywood. On the show Kardashian will play Nikki, the new love interest of Fred (Ben Feldman). Nikki will also be partnering with Fred's ex Stacy (April Bowlby) in a new business venture. 

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<p>&nbsp;Chris Brown</p>

 Chris Brown

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Chris Brown is back with 'Turn Up The Music'

Does it remind you of a certain recent 'party hit?

Wow. Someone has been listening to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and “I’m Sexy And I Know It.”  And his name is Chris Brown.

“Turn Up The Music,” a song from Brown’s forthcoming album, “Fortune,” is a straight-up slab of electro-dance that is a kissing cousin to “Party Rock Anthem... especially the first several bars.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;LMFAO</p>

 LMFAO

Credit: AP Photo

LMFAO to join Madonna for Super Bowl, says will.i.am

Will the 'Party Rock' duo appear alongside Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.?

Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime extravaganza is only a little more than a week away, as more rumors sneak out about her 12 minutes to rule the world on Feb. 5.

The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am has now gotten into the act, telling a U.K. radio station that LMFAO, who are signed to his Interscope-distributed imprint and Cherrytree Records, will play with Madonna at the big show in Indianapolis.  As you’ll recall, the Black Eyed Peas provided the half-time entertainment last year.

"I'm going to the Super Bowl this year to see my group LMFAO perform with Madonna," he told Capitol FM.

This is on top of a report from Wednesday from the New York Daily News’ Gatecrasher column that Madonna was “bringing gay to the Super Bowl,” according to one of her back-up dancers.  We don’t even know what that means.

The Material Girl, herself, is keeping tightlipped. At the “W.E.” premiere on Monday, she simply said that she was “extremely nervous” and that in addition to singing “Gimme All Your Luvin” (reportedly with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., both of whom appear on the song), her performance would include some  “oldies but goodies.”

We’re trying to get more details and will fill you in if we get them. In the meantime, voracious Tweeter will.i.am has tweeted nothing further about his radio remarks, neither has LMFAO.
 

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<p>&nbsp;The cast of 'Bridesmaids'</p>

 The cast of 'Bridesmaids'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Kristen Wiig and the 'Bridesmaids' cast will present at the Oscars together

Best supporting actress nominee Melissa McCarthy reuniting with cast mates

The hilarious ladies of "Bridesmaids" are getting back together in a few weeks -- but not for the rumored sequel

The hit film's stars Kristen WiigRose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Maya Rudolph are set to be presenters at the 84th Academy Awards.

Emmy winner McCarthy ("Mike and Molly") is up for the best supporting actress Oscar for her scene-stealing performance in "Bridesmaids," while Wiig is nominated for the film’s original screenplay. All six are making their first Oscar show appearances.
 
The Academy Awards, produced by Brian Grazer and Don Mischer, will air on ABC Sunday, February 26 from the Kodak Theatre in L.A. Billy Crystal is hosting.

Think you can guess this year's winners? Prove it in our
Oscar pool.

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<p>Rodriguez</p>

Rodriguez

Review: 'Searching for Sugar Man' requires some waiting for a sweet payoff

The musical journey of Rodriguez brings the dead back to life at Sundance

Two documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival turned their focus on American singer-songwriters making an impact on different eras of apartheid-stricken South Africa. But one major difference between the Paul Simon “Graceland” doc “Under African Skies” and Malik Bendjelloul's directorial debut “Searching for Sugar Man” are the artists’ awareness of their influence on that African country. Simon lived it. Obscure folk artist Rodriguez had no idea what the hell was going on. 

Sixto Rodriguez put out two albums under his last name in 1970 and 1971 via Sussex/A&M. They failed to sell here in the ‘States. Through several interviews with recording engineers and label executives that “discovered” him in dingy nightclubs in Detroit, there was a feeling of disbelief that an artist so talented went unrewarded in his lifetime.
 
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