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<p>&quot;Hugo&quot;&nbsp;was nominated in the period film category.</p>

"Hugo" was nominated in the period film category.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Art Directors Guild nominees include 'Anonymous,' 'Captain America' and 'Drive'

'The Adventures of Tintin' surprisingly in the mix, while 'War Horse' gets snubbed

The Art Directors Guild and the Costume Designers Guild separately make for two fun announcements during the awards season, because by dividing their nominations into three categories (period, fantasy and contemporary), they make room for films that might not otherwise share in the kudos spotlight.

The former announced its slate of nominees this evening, and the surprises were few and far between. I half expected "Hugo" to be chalked up as a fantasy film (it wasn't) in order to make way for some of the many other period films, among them "J. Edgar," "Midnight in Paris" (which also could have gone fantasy) and "War Horse."

Yes, Steven Spielberg's war epic was snubbed by the group, but oddly, his other effort, "The Adventures of Tintin," was chalked up in the fantasy film category. Elsewhere, I was pleased to see "Anonymous" get its due here, a stellar below-the-line showcase.

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"So You Think You Can Dance"

 "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' will return without a results show - but is that so bad?

While voters will be impacted, the change also means less fluff

Via Twitter, producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe revealed this week that "So You Think You Can Dance" will be returning to Fox for a ninth season -- but this time, without a results show. "Fox [has] cancelled the results show so I have to change the format of #SYTYCD," he wrote. "At least we have [a ninth] season at the end of May."

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<p>Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose in &quot;Drive.&quot;</p>

Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose in "Drive."

Credit: FilmDistrict

‘Drive’ cruises back for a limited engagement

AMPAS gets a second chance to see Albert Brooks as a straight-up gangsta

FilmDistrict has announced plans to re-release “Drive” at the Arclight Hollywood for an exclusive one-week engagement, beginning this Friday, January 6th. Albert Brooks will be in attendance for a Q&A on opening night. Though “Drive” has received a significant number of nominations and wins throughout the precursor season (including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director BFCA nominations), Brooks’s Golden Globes nod solidifies him as the film’s strongest Oscar contender (despite a SAG snub).

It is not out of the realm of possibility, however, for Christopher Plummer to steal Best Supporting Actor for his work in “Beginners” (which would be a first-time win for a long and distinguished career). This is not to detract from the other deserving players on the field, it is simply to note that the Academy does take the overall picture into account when it comes time to cast their ballots.

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<p>Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco in &quot;Work It.&quot;</p>

Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco in "Work It."

Credit: ABC

'Work It' - 'Pilot': The crying game

What did everybody think of ABC's new cross-dressing comedy?

I posted my review of ABC's "Work Ityesterday, and Fienberg registered his own disgust this afternoon. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the gender-bending hijinks of the new ABC comedy? Is this more like "Some Like It Hot" or "He's My Girl"? Does Benjamin Koldyke strike you as a 21st century Tom Hanks? How about that nightclub set? And if you tuned in tonight, do you intend to ever watch it again? 

Have at it.

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<p>Kelly&nbsp;Clarkson performs at the Allstate Fan Fest in New Orleans on Monday.</p>

Kelly Clarkson performs at the Allstate Fan Fest in New Orleans on Monday.

Credit: Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for Allstate

Should artists just shut up and sing when it comes to politics?

Was Kelly Clarkson wrong to endorse Ron Paul?

Today’s Iowa Caucus and Kelly Clarkson’s recent dust-up with her fans after she endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul got me thinking about whether artists should talk politics or just keep their mouths shut unless they are singing.

As we posted yesterday, Clarkson, who initially got her feelings hurt by fans’ criticism following her endorsement, saw a slight bump in album sales after her Paul plug, but it’s impossible to know if that’s because pro-Paul people rushed out to buy the record (unlikely) or if the publicity that ensued simply reminded them that she had a new album out there (likely).

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<p>Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska in &quot;Jane Eyre.&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska in "Jane Eyre."

Credit: Focus Features

First-Half FYC: Best Original and Adapted Screenplay

From 'Rango' to 'Jane Eyre,' screenplays from early 2011 that deserve a shout

Last week, I began this year's round of First-Half FYC columns, wherein we aim to respectfully draw attention to worthy Oscar alternatives from the first six months of the U.S. release calendar -- a response to the annual domination of the awards by year-end prestige fare. With our supporting performance picks out of the way, we turn this week to the screenplay categories.

The writing branch of the Academy routinely select the most adventurous and considered nominees of the bunch, but they can be as vulnerable as any other to the attractions of newer, more loudly-hyped contenders, so I've combed through the list of January-to-June titles to find a few titles that have unjustly slipped from the conversation -- if, indeed, they were ever in it. Interestingly, for an industry so commercially dominated by existing properties, it was the Original Screenplay category which came far more quickly into focus: at least two of my picks are seriously in the Oscar hunt already (while one slam-dunk nominee, "Midnight in Paris," didn't make my own five).

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<p>Justin Bieber during &quot;Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve&quot;</p>

Justin Bieber during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve"

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Justin Bieber wants to wish you a Happy New Year

He's brought Jaden Smith along for the countdown

We’re playing catch-up here, but Justin Bieber is so sincere is his desire to wish us a Happy New Year, who are we to let a few days’ delay stop us?

On “Happy New Year,” a slow jam with Jaden Smith which Bieber tweeted on Dec. 31, Bieber counts down “5-4-3-2-1. Kiss Me.”  Then he advises us that 2012 is a year to be “better, stronger and closer to the people around you,” before suggesting we grab someone special and “you know...”  Every nine-year old Bieber fan is undoubtedly kissing her pillow by this point, pretending it’s Bieber.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Erica Dasher of &quot;Jane by Design&quot;</p>
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Erica Dasher of "Jane by Design"

Credit: ABC Family

TV Review: ABC Family's 'Jane By Design'

Erica Dasher shines a young woman leading two bland lives
I like to praise ABC Family for having one of the clearest brand identities of any network -- broadcast or cable -- particularly when it comes to dramas. 
 
That doesn't mean, though, that all ABC Family dramas are identical. In fact, they fit into a few easily identifiable categories.
 
"Melrose Place" with Training Wheels: Teenage girls (and random adults on my Twitter feed) love a trashy primetime soap, even if ABC Family's sure to put a cap on the depicted violence or sexuality. This category obviously includes "Pretty Little Liars" and "The Lying Game," so basically anything relating to teenage mendacity.
 
Extended After-School Specials: Let's not forget the *family* in ABC Family and let's not forget that it's important to have programming that kids can watch with their parents and maybe learn a lesson. This kind of good-for-you development can yield preachy messes like "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," but it needn't necessarily be a bad thing. If handled right, this category can also include thoughtful, sensitive shows like "Switched at Birth."
 
Convolutedly Aspirational: "Make It or Break It" is ABC Family's surviving offering in this genre, but it's probably also where "The 9 Lives of Chloe King" -- I still want resolution from that finale! -- and "Greek" might have fallen, assuming your aspirations could expand to include becoming a teenage superhero or a law student.
 
ABC Family's newest drama series, "Jane By Design" fits squarely into the Convolutedly Aspirational category, since it's not especially soapy and I don't know that watching it is going to teach people anything.
 
"Jane By Design" is inoffensive and after watching two episodes, I didn't feel the sort of annoyance that I get from two minutes of "American Teenager" or from the full season of "Pretty Little Liars" that I stuck with before quitting. But it falls short of that bar that ABC Family shows clearly strive for, which is "Can we provide enough depth and sustenance to give Dan a reason to watch, even though he couldn't possibly be less in our target demographic?" The answer there is "No." "Jane By Design" is the story of a teenage girl who's living two lives, but since neither of those two lives is especially interesting or original, I think I'll politely check out, albeit without any animosity. 
 
More after the break...
 
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<p>Katy Perry at the 2011 Grammy Nominations Live! concert</p>

Katy Perry at the 2011 Grammy Nominations Live! concert

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Katy Perry sings about a man 'that breaks me' on 'Bullet'

Do you like her version or Jessie James' version better?

Oh, don’t think for a second that it’s a coincidence that Katy Perry’s version of “Bullet,” a song about falling for a bad boy leaked out today, only days after word of her divorce from Russell Brand went public.  Note that it’s the first we’ve heard of her since the announcement. Also note the song was written long before she met Brand, so don't get any ideas.

“My heart  was like a ghost town baby and now I’ve met a man that breaks me,” she sings on the track, before an autotuned voice chimes in “My mama warned me about boys like you.”   However, as the title indicates, she gives as good as she gets: “I’m a bullet and I’m headed straight for your heart/it’s going to leave a mark.” Ouch.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Bon Iver</p>

Bon Iver

Credit: D.L. Anderson

Listen: Bon Iver releasing new single, 'Towers,' with John Prine cover

Justin Vernon recently completed production work on Kathleen Edwards' new album

After year of a sophomore set release, first-time Grammy nominations, being propelled up outlets' year-end lists and a video-laden re-release, Bon Iver is already making a few plans for 2012. The Jagjaguwar group -- headed by Justin Vernon -- will be releasing a new single "Towers" b/w "Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)."

That B-side, a John Prine cover, was originally released in June last year; you can stream it below. "Towers" is available on "Bon Iver," and will likely remain the same recording on the single release.

"Towers" will be available as a 12" in the U.S. on March 6. Last I checked, that's a little early for Record Store Day, and a little late to cash in on the Grammy Awards show (Feb. 12), so it just seems to want to live as an entity on its own.

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"Bering Sea Gold"

 "Bering Sea Gold"

Credit: Discovery Channel

Watch: A hunt for gold at the bottom of the sea from 'Deadliest Catch' creators

It's off to Alaska for a dangerous adventure on 'Bering Sea Gold'

Just when you thought reality television had mined every dangerous job out there, the creators of "Deadliest Catch" have found another one worthy of a television series. The eight-part "Bering Sea Gold" (premieres Jan. 27 at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel) follows four dredge operations as they hunt for gold on the bottom of the sea. It turns out glaciers have been dumping gold-rich sediment into the Bering Sea for millions of years, and it's up to miners to scoop it up over the summer, before the water becomes too icy for diving. Watch a promo below and learn why hunting for gold (in this way, at least) is "stupidly dangerous."

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<p>Jason Mraz</p>

Jason Mraz

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Jason Mraz shows his softer side on 'I Won't Give Up'

First track from new album reveals a mellower Mraz

Fans who are familiar with Jason Mraz through his jaunty “The Remedy” or ubiquitous “I’m Yours,” will see a completely different side on “I Won’t Give Up.”

The largely acoustic ballad, which is ripe for a country remake (Rascal Flatts, we are talking to you), is a poignant tale about a lost relationship that Mraz exits with his head held high.

The gentle tone was no doubt influenced by Mraz’s international acoustic tour, which took him through five continents before it wrapped in December.

[More after the jump...]

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