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<p>Octavia Spencer holds aloft her SAG&nbsp;Award for Best Supporting Actress.</p>

Octavia Spencer holds aloft her SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

'The Help' wins big at the SAG Awards

Honors for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Ensemble mark a stellar night for the film

The 18th annual Screen Actors Guild went down tonight and added, well, nothing to the conversation. Okay, maybe a little something. But before getting to the Best Actor surprise of the evening...

I had thought maybe -- just maybe -- Melissa McCarthy and all that TV love (though not enough love to yield a separate nod for "Mike & Molly") could provide an interesting Johnny Depp moment for her and her "Bridesmaids" performance. It wasn't to be.

Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer kicked off the evening with largely expected wins in the supporting actor and supporting actress categories for "Beginners" and "The Help," respectively. Most expect that they've sewn up their Oscar glory, but I think in the case of the former, the presence of Max Von Sydow in Best Picture nominee "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" makes things a bit more interesting than that, but for the most part, I do agree that the course is (and really has been) set.

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<p>Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Kevin Dunn and Jason Gedrick in &quot;Luck.&quot;</p>

Ian Hart, Ritchie Coster, Kevin Dunn and Jason Gedrick in "Luck."

Credit: HBO

'Luck' - 'Pilot': My best day ever so far, by Jerry

What did everybody think of HBO's new horseracing drama?

"Luckhad its official debut tonight, but of course it was an episode that HBO had already aired as a sneak preview back in December, and which I wrote about at the time. Since then, I've seen all 9 first season episodes — and, as you can see in my review, I really liked them — and also talked a bit about the show with David Milch and Michael Mann.

So on the subject of the first episode, I think I'm all written out at this point. I'll be doing more extensive weekly write-ups for the remaining 8 — and, yes, I'm aware that HBO Go will be carrying the second episode immediately, but we're not going to discuss it until after it airs on HBO itself next Sunday — but for now I just want to get the discussion rolling, both for those of you seeing the show for the first time and any of you who may have watched it again after seeing it in December. The gist of the discussion back then was that only the real horseracing fans could follow everything about the Pick Six and certain other matters; if you watched it a second time, was it easier to make sense of all that? How did everyone feel about so much of the pilot being devoted not to Dustin Hoffman or Nick Nolte, but the four railbirds led by Jason Gedrick and Kevin Dunn? How did you react to what happened to that one horse in the day's final race? And how much did anyone understand (on first or second viewing) from John Ortiz as paranoid, hustling trainer Turo Escalante?

(For those who still feel confused, Vulture's Q&A might help.)

Have at it, and I'll be doing the full-length episode review thing starting a week from tonight.

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<p>Sofia Vergara and a slack-jawed publicist on the Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet.</p>
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Sofia Vergara and a slack-jawed publicist on the Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet.

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2012 Live-Blog

Will 'The Artist' be able to continue its domination at The Saggies?
I'm always of two minds regarding the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
On one hand, they reliably do stupid things like not having "supporting" categories for TV, ignoring "Homeland" completely and nominating "The Artist" -- essentially a two-hander -- for an "ensemble" acting award (while leaving Uggie out of the ensemble list).
On the other hand, they're a major (allegedly) award ceremony that only runs two hours (and always finishes on time) and when the winners say "I'd like to thank my fellow actors," it can't help but sound more sincere than "I'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press."
Click through for my full live-blog of the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award.
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Madonna's 'Give Me All Your Luvin'video to preview on 'American Idol'
Credit: Live Nation/Interscope

Madonna's 'Give Me All Your Luvin'video to preview on 'American Idol'

Release date for 'MDNA' set

It’s a big week for Madonna. In addition to playing the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb.5, she’ll preview the video for first single, “Give Me All Your Luvin” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. on “American Idol” on Feb. 2. The full video will be debut on Madonna’s You Tube Channel Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. EST.

“Give Me All Your Luvin” is the first single from “MDNA,” which comes out March 26, according to a release posted on Madonna’s website Sunday. Madonna, Martin Solveig, Minaj and M.I.A. are the track’s co-writers and Solveig and Madonna are the co-producers.

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<p>President Barack Obama</p>
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President Barack Obama

Credit: Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP

Music Power Rankings: Adele, Ne-Yo and Barack Obama (?) make the list

Plus, the most powerful man in show business

1) Adele: In the never-ending story of “21,” the album celebrates its one-year anniversary nestled at No. 1 on the U.K. charts and is only four weeks away in the U.S. from the most weeks at No. 1 in SoundScan history. In other news, Adele becomes the top baby name of 2012.

2) President Obama: After he sang a portion of Al Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together” at a Jan. 19 fundraiser, sales of the song skyrocketed 490%. He could singlehandedly save the music business if he opened every public engagement with a song.

3) Diddy:
  According to Broadcast & Cable he is launching Revolt, a music-themed cable network, which will bow on 12/12/12. Will Danity Kane reform for the launch?

4) Etta James:
Regrettably and very sadly, dead. However, her music lives beautifully on as her album sales rise 378% following her death. A voice as wondrous as hers can never be silenced.

5) Cher:
Not dead.

6) Irving Azoff: He tops Billboard’s list of the Power 100. As if there were any doubt.

7) Vevo: Will the music video channel leave YouTube for Facebook? All hail Mark Zuckerberg. Can’t wait to see what happens with that IPO.

8) iTunes: Sales in 2011 rose a staggering 55% to $6 99 cent download at a time.

9) Ne-Yo: He becomes the latest artist to want to run things from the other side of the desk. In addition to switching from Island Def Jam as a recording artist, he has moved his Compound Entertainment to Motown, where he will now be senior VP of A&R. That’s Mr. Ne-Yo to you.

10) Bruce Springsteen: Ticket demand for his “Wrecking Ball” tour wrecked TicketMaster’s website, locking out fans trying to purchase tickets. Forever and always The Boss.

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<p>&quot;Beginners&quot;&nbsp;writer/director Mike Mills (right)&nbsp;presents Christopher Plummer with the Modern&nbsp;Master Award at the 27th annual Santa Barbara International&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival.</p>

"Beginners" writer/director Mike Mills (right) presents Christopher Plummer with the Modern Master Award at the 27th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant

Christopher Plummer takes a trip down memory lane as Santa Barbara's Modern Master

The festival presents the 'Beginners' star with its highest honor

SANTA BARBARA - Tonight brought the second tribute of this year's Santa Barbara film fest, a spotlight for "Beginners" star Christopher Plummer and the festival's highest honor: the Modern Master Award.

The evening was moderated by Deadline columnist Pete Hammond, who is a perfect fit for this kind of honoree with his own personal obsessive classic film knowledge and considerations. Plummer told Hammond and the captivated audience a number of wonderful stories throughout the evening, starting at the beginning with his awakening to the arts.

He was encouraged at a young age in Montreal to seek out everything that would play the local cinemas, any kind of theater or ballet, etc. He gravitated toward it quickly and he remembered nursing many a cold beer at this or that club, seeing a young Judy Garland in his youth, a young Frank Sinatra and Edith Piaf, even. "I thought, 'This is the greatest life,'" he recalled. And soon he made it his own.

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<p>Michel Hazanavicius arrives at last night's DGA Awards.</p>

Michel Hazanavicius arrives at last night's DGA Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

Michel Hazanavicius takes DGA award

Oscar-snubbed 'Project Nim' wins in documentary category

And with that, I think you can just about call this Oscar race -- if you weren't willing to do so already. Fabricate uncertainty if you like by remembering the last time the winner of the award didn't take the Oscar (it was Rob Marshall, nine years ago), but in winning the Directors' Guild of America Award last night, "The Artist" and Michel Hazanavicius have enjoyed their biggest and most telling victory yet on the circuit.

There was speculation in some quarters that immense peer affection for previous DGA honoree Martin Scorsese could see him pull off an upset, but I'm not sure how realistic a prospect that really was -- when the industry embraces a frontrunner as warmly as they have "The Artist," and it happens to be a film that hinges on its showy directorial conceits, there's little reason to suspect they won't reward the helmer as well.

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<p>B&eacute;r&eacute;nice Bejo and Michel Hazanavicius walk the red carpet before the 2012 DGA&nbsp;Awards Saturday night.</p>

Bérénice Bejo and Michel Hazanavicius walk the red carpet before the 2012 DGA Awards Saturday night.

Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

'The Artist's' Michel Hazanavicus wins the 2012 DGA Award for film

'Project Nim,' 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' Tony Awards helmers also honored

The Director's Guild of America announced their 2012 DGA Awards this evening and it featured a showdown in the feature film category that had every pundit and Oscar watcher this side of the Mississippi had their eye on: Michel Hazanavicus of "The Artist" vs. the legendary Martin Scorsese of "Hugo" fame.  With the Producer's Guild having already awarded "The Artist" their best picture equivalent last weekend if "The Artist" could take the DGA honor its would pretty much lock up best picture.*

*The SAG Awards are expected to go to the more star-friendly ensembles of "The Help" or "The Descendants" or even "Bridesmaids" Sunday night.

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<p>Woody&nbsp;Allen backstage at the 74th annual Academy Awards in 2002, his only appearance on the telecast to date</p>

Woody Allen backstage at the 74th annual Academy Awards in 2002, his only appearance on the telecast to date

Credit: AP Photo/Doug Mills

On Woody and Terrence, Oscar's inevitable no-shows

Don't expect cameras to find the directors of 'Midnight in Paris' or 'The Tree of Life'

The DGA Awards will be going down tonight, and the smart money remains on Michel Hazanavicius. But speaking of directors, I hadn't quite taken note yet of the fact that two of the Academy's nominees in the field are inevitable no-shows for the event. Stu VanAirsdale is way ahead of me, but let me add a few nuggets.

Woody Allen, of course, has only attended the Oscars once. It was a surprise appearance six months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the writer/director came out to introduce a Nora Ephron-directed package of clips featuring New York cinema in a show of solidarity for the city.

My colleague Steve Pond tells the story of being backstage and seeing "Nora Ephron" on the rundown, a placeholder for someone, but for whom, no one knew. It wasn't until Allen walked by decked out in his tux that everyone suddenly went, "Oh, shit."

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<p>Jean Dujardin in &quot;The Artist.&quot;</p>

Jean Dujardin in "The Artist."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Watch Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo and Uggie foul up in a blooper reel from 'The Artist'

Reads a lot like a scene from the film itself

Typically blooper reels feature actors breaking out of their created roles. There may be some unforeseen accident on set, a stray boom falling into frame, performers losing their handle on the dialogue (or language in general), unexpected bouts of Tourette syndrome, uncontrolled laughing during the funeral scene or otherwise unusable, though amusing, takes. But it is always clear that, for that moment, Fred Friendly (or whoever the character is) has dropped away and George Clooney (or whichever actor) has reemerged.

What is striking about the blooper reel from Michel Hazanavicius's “The Artist” that Coming Soon made available yesterday is that it is difficult to discern the moment where George Valentin/Peppy Miller disappear and Jean Dujardin/Bérénice Bejo emerge. Sure, when Uggie the dog fails to follow a command, it is obvious that the shot has not gone as planned (it is also more than a little bit adorable). When poor Bejo face plants in the midst of a sequence, we know it wasn’t an “I meant to do that.” But the distinction between actor and character is infinitesimal at best.

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<p>Viola Davis at the 27th annual Santa Barbara International Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Viola Davis at the 27th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Credit: AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant

Viola Davis talks Steven Soderbergh, Tyler Perry, Meryl Streep and humanizing her characters

The 'Help' star receives Santa Barbara's Outstanding Performer of the Year Award

SANTA BARBARA - The tributes at this year's Santa Barbara Film Festival kicked off with a bang tonight as Viola Davis took the stage at the Arlington Theatre to be fluffed up for her Outstanding Performer of the Year Award. And in my four or five years of attending the festival, it was one of the better productions I've seen.

After Davis's "The Help" co-star Octavia Spencer introduced the actress, my Oscar Talk colleague Anne Thompson served as moderator for the evening -- her first stint in this format, and she did a great job. But Davis also makes it very easy with her organic and incredibly thoughtful responses. Truly, she commands this kind of setting so well, offering up authentic, specific insights into her process as an actress, and not in a sound byte way, but with a kind of matter-of-fact poignancy that really is exceptional. She's "on" in ways other stars only hope to be in such a scenario.

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<p>The cover of Tim McGraw's &quot;Emotional Traffic&quot;</p>
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The cover of Tim McGraw's "Emotional Traffic"

Can Adele make it 18 weeks on the Billboard 200 or does Tim McGraw top her?

Check out the six debuts in next week's top 10

Adele “21” will likely tie Garth Brooks’ “Ropin’ the Wind” next week when the British singer’s sophomore set spends its 18th week atop the Billboard 200 album chart.

Early projections show “21” handily outselling Tim McGraw’s “Emotional Traffic,” and possibly topping 100,000 again. This means that "21" only needs to spend three more weeks at No. 1 to set the record for most weeks at the top in the Nielsen SoundScan era. The "Bodyguard" soundtrack current holds the record at 20.

Following several post-holiday slow release weeks, the chart sees six titles debuting in the Top 10. In addition to “Emotional Traffic,” which will will sell up to 70,000 to bow at No. 2,  metal band Lamb of God’s “Resolution” looks good for No. 3, with sales of around 60,000, according to Hits Daily Double.

The “2012 Grammy Nominees” compilation is right behind Lamb of God for No. 4 with sales of 50,000-55,000. Singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson’s “Human Again” will score a top 5 debut, moving around 40,000 copies. 

The other likely Top 10 premieres are former “American Idol” contestant  Kellie Pickler’s “100 Proof” at No. 8 and Christian artist Kari Jobe at No. 9. Both are targeted to sell between 24,000-28,000.

Previously released sets remaining in the top tier are “Kidz Bop Kids 21,” which falls 2-6; Drake’s “Take Care” likely drops 4-7, and Black Keys’ “El Camino” tumbles 3-10.

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