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<p>&quot;A&nbsp;Separation&quot;&nbsp;won awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble and Best Film Not in the English Language.</p>

"A Separation" won awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble and Best Film Not in the English Language.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

International Cinephile Society awards 'A Separation,' 'The Tree of Life'

'Margaret' walks away with two acting honors

The International Cinephile Society may be the last of innumerable critics' groups to announce their top film achievements of 2011 before the Oscars finally call a moratorium on the practice -- but in a season that has long since fallen prey to fatigue, this fresh, imaginative list of winners couldn't come as a more welcome pick-me-up. As a voting member of the ICS, I'm pleased to say I'm as surprised as anyone by some of the results, which stray far from the Oscar pack and include a handful of unique choices.

I'm pretty sure, for example, that this is the first group to hand their Best Actor prize to British newcomer Tom Cullen for "Weekend" -- my own first choice in the category. And if the London Critics' Circle pre-empted the ICS by choosing Anna Paquin as Best Actress, this is certainly the first mention for Paquin's onscreen mom in "Margaret," J. Smith-Cameron, in the Best Supporting Actress category. Kenneth Lonergan's beleaguered little film just keeps chugging along -- who knows what could have happened had it received more critical and studio support upon its September release?

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<p>Jamie Hewlett's interpretation of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000</p>

Jamie Hewlett's interpretation of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000

Listen: Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 combine for 'DoYaThing'

LCD Soundsystem's frontman meets the boing-boing of Outkast

The combination of Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 sounds exactly like what you'd think it'd sound like: boing-boing, beep beep, bounce bounce.

This funky collaboration was created in the name of Converse, for their Three Artists, One Song series. It bowed on BBC radio today and will be available through the company's website tomorrow.

The track is another good origin of the query: Why isn't Andre 3000 rapping on everything ever in the whole world ever? Murphy might as well have been filing his nails or cleaning the bathroom when he wrote the mindless refrain "You want to do it, but you don't know what you're doing, baby," but that doesn't mean I won't remember it.

And Albarn sounds thankfully better here than he did at the Brits last night with Blur. Haters: hating. Keep your eyes peeled for the music video.

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"The X Factor"

 "The X Factor"

Credit: Fox

Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid talk 'X Factor' rumors about Britney, Whitney

Cowell explains why he's committed to the 'Jennifer Hudson save'

Wondering who will replace Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones on "The X Factor"? Well, despite rumors that Britney Spears, LeAnn Rimes or Janet Jackson might be stepping in, Simon Cowell and fellow judge L.A. Reid are staying mum about the top candidates. "This happened last year," Cowell told reporters in a conference call. "There's loads of speculation, some true, some not true. It's true to say a lot more people are interested. We're waiting to see who contacts us... which is a good place to be in." According to Cowell, possible replacements are still up in the air. "We will be meeting with people over the next few weeks, mainly to explain that this is a big commitment with the mentoring."

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<p>Preparations underway for this year's Oscarcast at the theatre formally known as the Kodak</p>

Preparations underway for this year's Oscarcast at the theatre formally known as the Kodak

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

In advance of Sunday's Oscars, the Kodak Theatre officially loses its name

And is it maybe time to start considering other venues anyway?

You might recall the story a couple of weeks back about the Kodak Theater potentially undergoing a moniker change, as Kodak, amid financial reorganization, wanted out of its deal with the Hollywood & Highland complex where the annual Oscars are held. In a nutshell, the company no longer afford the hefty yearly price tag of maintaining the naming rights to the facility.

Well, it looks like that change is already in effect. Over at The Odds, Steve Pond's sharp eyes caught this bit of language in a press release announcing Meryl Streep as one of this year's Oscarcast presenters: "Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, from the Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live by the ABC Television Network." Hollywood & Highland. Not Kodak. Most of us probably just slid that email on over to the trash, but good on Pond for catching it and ringing up the Academy to confirm.

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<p>Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.&nbsp; I want to see that.</p>

Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.  I want to see that.

Credit: Drafthouse Films

One Thing I Love Today: Exclusive new Mondo poster for Belgian Oscar-nominee 'Bullhead'

A Polish-inspired piece of art for the powerful limited release impresses

I love movie posters.

I know that seems sort of obvious, but if going to the movies is my church (and I think it is), then great movie posters are a sort of article of faith for me, objects that connect me to that thing I love.  One of the reasons I wanted to work at a movie theater when I was a teenager was so that I could have access to the movie posters, and I amassed an absurdly large collection of them, taking home everything that interested me and wallpapering my bedroom to the point where there were posters on top of posters on top of posters, a visual assault of movie-related imagery that I loved waking up to every morning.

Watching the evolution of movie posters over the last 20 years has been sort of disheartening.  Movie advertising in general has become very slick and calculated, and it all looks generally the same.  You see trends where one trailer does something and 50 trailers do the exact same thing because it worked.  You see posters that look like they took an intern 30 minutes to create in Photoshop.  You see an indifference to the idea of movie posters as art, and they are disposable as a result.

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<p>&quot;There's no place like home...&quot;</p>

"There's no place like home..."

Credit: Profiles in History/Lou Bustamante

Leonardo DiCaprio helps 'Wizard of Oz' slippers find their way home to the Academy

Steven Spielberg and Terry Semel aided in effort to bring ruby slippers to museum

There's no place like home...even for a pair of shoes.

With Leonardo DiCaprio and some other "angel donors" leading the way, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has acquired Judy Garland's legendary ruby slippers from 1939's "The Wizard of Oz" -- possibly the most famous footwear in film history -- for the future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Major donations came from Steven Spielberg and former Warner Bros. and Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, and other donors.

"The ruby slippers occupy an extraordinary place in the hearts of movie audiences the world over," said Disney's Bob Iger, who acts as chair of the Academy's capital campaign. "This is a transformative acquisition for our collection."

"Leo's passionate leadership has helped us bring home this legendary piece of movie history," added Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. "It's a wonderful gift to the Academy museum project, and a perfect representation of the work we do year-round to preserve and share our film heritage."

Although there are four pairs of ruby slippers known to exist, these slippers (known as the "Witch's Shoes") are in the most pristine condition, and are believed to be the very slippers that Garland wore on set for the famous scene in which Dorothy clicks her heels together three times and repeats the immortal words "There's no place like home" in order to return to Kansas.

After the film wrapped, the various pairs of slippers were put into storage at MGM's Culver City lot for over thirty years. MGM costumer Kent Warner stumbled upon several pairs while preparing for a studio auction in 1970. One pair was sold at said auction and was eventually donated to the Smithsonian, while Warner kept the finest pair – the "Witch's Shoes" – until he sold them in 1981. Seven years later, another collector bought them, allowing them to be displayed in public at the National Portrait Gallery and the Library of Congress.

Now (or, more accurately, in a few years) fans will have chance to see the famous footwear when the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens. It will be located inside the historic May Company building at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave., currently known as LACMA West.

 

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All of Katy Perry's 'Part of Me' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

All of Katy Perry's 'Part of Me' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Adele, Whitney Houston and Nicki Minaj also see surges

Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” takes her where “The One That Got Away” could not: to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Not only does “Part of Me” hit No. 1, the song debuts in the top spot, making it the 20th song in the 53-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to start its chart life at the top. The last song to do so was Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”  almost exactly a year ago. Both songs received their coming out at the Grammy Awards.

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<p>Metric</p>

Metric

Credit: Justin Broadbent

Can Metric's new album 'Synthetica' set new records for the band?

Rock band's last 'Fantasies' wrote a new page on independent releases

Metric's last album, 2009's "Fantasies," quietly sold millions of album worldwide, and those profits -- more than any other album in the Canadian band's history -- went largely and directly into their pocket. In fact, they grossed more for themselves from its sale than all their other their other records combined.

That's because the band went the independent route when it came to releasing "Fantasies" outside of their home country; their own label Metric Music International got distribution from indie groups like PIAS. The acclaim they earned for songs like "Help I'm Alive" helped propel them onto film soundtracks and movie works like "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World." They were also among the bands to prove that an artist without a traditional label deal can make it into the top 20 of U.S. rock radio's spin lists: songs like "Help," "Gimme Sympathy" and "Gold Guns Girls" all made it into regular rotation in 2009 and 2010.

"Fantasies" topped out at No. 76 on the Billboard 200, but also managed to tap into success on the web: right around the time Spotify picked up, the band put "Fantasies" up for $.99 and found new fans and buyers quickly that way. They also utilized TopSpin's innovations to maximum capacities, with all downloads, data and word-of-mouth going straight to the band, and not to their label. They let their pool of fans, then, remix their tracks for a revamped "Fantasies" release, which dropped last year, which gave the album longer legs.

And undoubtedly, Metric will be using all that data and cash to go even wider this year, as they prepare to drop their brand new album "Synthetica" on June 12. This time, the album will go out via MMI in conjunction with Mom + Pop, who (as I previously mentioned) is on freaking fire (Andrew Bird, Sleigh Bells, Ingrid Michaelson). This deal will give them the added benefit of distro indie RED, and, undoubtedly, since the band was doing just fine on their own thankyouverymuch, you can imagine that striking any deal will be on their terms as far as profit share is concerned.

"Synthetica" was produced by Metric's guitarist Jimmy Shaw, partly out of Shaw's Toronto-based Giant Studio (co-owned by gnarly genius Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979) and partly out of the legendary Electric Lady studios in New York. The band started work on "Synthetica" the day after they shined off their Fantasies tour in November 2010.

Frontwoman Emily Haines says that the title was inspired by the "skin jobs" out of "Blade Runner."

"If you imagine a nightmarishly fake version of me as a pop star, that's her," she says.  "And this record was about me saying, I'm going to give more to the music than ever, but there's no way I'm going to turn into someone like that."

Tour dates are to be announced.

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<p>Darren McGavin starred as Carl Kolchak in the original 'Night Stalker' TV&nbsp;series, and when I look at Darren McGavin, I can't help but think 'Johnny Depp'</p>

Darren McGavin starred as Carl Kolchak in the original 'Night Stalker' TV series, and when I look at Darren McGavin, I can't help but think 'Johnny Depp'

Credit: ABC TV/MGM

Johnny Depp and Edgar Wright set to bring Kolchak back for 'The Night Stalker'

Could this be a major monster-driven franchise for Disney?

"The Night Stalker" is one of those "duh" ideas in television history, an idea that is such a natural that it almost seems like an inevitability.  The story of Carl Kolchak, a newspaper reporter who finds himself involved in chasing down the supernatural, the show is a clear precursor of something like "The X-Files," and even thought the series never quite lived up to the promise of the original TV movie, it was one of those shows that got lodged in the consciousness of anyone who saw it when it aired.

Johnny Depp is, of course, starring in this summer's "Dark Shadows," which seems to be taking the somewhat groundbreaking tactic of releasing a giant-budget Tim Burton film without a single poster or trailer.  That's about as cult a cult show as has ever existed, and stepping into the role that Jonathan Frid made creepy is going to be a very interesting role for Depp.  After that, he's headed out west to play Tonto opposite "The Lone Ranger."  So while he's on this particular nostalgia kick, why not throw in Kolchak?

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<p>The Beatles</p>

The Beatles

Got To Get The Beatles into your phone? Now you can

Ringtones from the Fab Four arrive today

Want “All You Need Is Love” as your ringtone when your sweetie calls? What about “Help” when your in-laws call or, of course, the very appropriate “Hello, Goodbye” for all calls?

As of today, you can. After holding out on iTunes for  seven years before finally going digital with most of their albums in late 2010, the Fab Four has now added ringtones to the mix.

The band’s 27 No. 1 hits in the U.S. and U.K. are now available as ringtones for your phone exclusively on iTunes.

Here are your choices.

The Beatles #1 ringtones

 "Love Me Do"
 "Yellow Submarine"
"From Me To You"
 "Eleanor Rigby"
 "She Loves You"
. "Penny Lane"
"I Want To Hold Your Hand"
 "All You Need Is Love"
 "Can't Buy Me Love"
"A Hard Day's Night"
 "Lady Madonna"
 "I Feel Fine"
. "Hey Jude"
"Eight Days a Week"
 "Get Back"
 "Ticket to Ride"
 "The Ballad of John and Yoko"
"Help!"
"Something"
 "Yesterday"
 "Come Together"
 "Day Tripper"
 "Let It Be"
 "We Can Work It Out"
 ""The Long and Winding Road"
 "Paperback Writer"
"Hello Goodbye"
 
 

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<p>A scene from Oscar-nominated animated short &quot;Wild Life&quot;</p>

A scene from Oscar-nominated animated short "Wild Life"

Credit: ShortsHD/Magnolia Pictures

Oscar-nominated shorts make their way to cable

Catch them on demand before Sunday's ceremony

Many of you would really like to see the Oscar-nominated shorts prior to Sunday's telecast but can't make it to one of the theaters currently running the package. Well, better late than never, I guess. I'll let the press release speak for itself:

"Just days after the February 10th theatrical release of The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012, and just in time for the 84th Academy Awards, ShortsHD, the only TV network dedicated exclusively to short movies, today announced the collection of Oscar nominated films will be available to cable subscribers on demand.

"Starting Feb 21st, the best of this year’s nominated shorts are offered in two special packages: Best Animated Short Films and Best Live Action Short Films, in both HD and SD. These films are presented to cable television subscribers by ShortsHD in conjunction with the nation’s leading Movies on Demand (MOD) distributor, iN DEMAND.

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<p>A scene from 1994's &quot;Hoop Dreams.&quot;</p>

A scene from 1994's "Hoop Dreams."

Credit: Fine Line Features

Oscar’s big miss: ‘Hoop Dreams’

A look at one of the Academy's most glaring snubs

Nearly every year there are a number of films that Oscar simply seems to miss. Just recently Steve McQueen addressed some of the reasons he believes that Oscar ignored Michael Fassbender's performance in what was, for me, one of the best films of the year: “Shame.” Certainly Guy, Kris and I have all expressed our support for “Margaret” and our wish that the Academy voters had caught onto its value in time for it to make even a small showing.

Over the years there have been a number of omissions that have inspired either a quiet or riotous outcry from audiences and critics circles. In recent memory “The Dark Knight” and “Dreamgirls” were each considered shocking snubs by many given their momentum in the precursor circuit. In general terms, there are certain categories that tend to yield frustrating nominations and wins due to nonsensical and counterproductive voting practices.

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