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<p>Ben Koldyke drags it up in ABC's &quot;Work It.&quot;</p>

Ben Koldyke drags it up in ABC's "Work It."

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's horrible 'Work It' a drag in every way

Cross-dressing has never seemed less funny
The new ABC cross-dressing sitcom "Work It" won't debut until tomorrow night at 8:30, but it's already been subject to protests from both GLAAD and several transgender activist groups. And while I would never deign to tell any minority group (particularly one I'm not a member of) what they do and don't have a right to be offended by, in this case, it feels like the offense being taken is too narrow.
 
"Work It" could be seen as an insult to the transgender community, sure. But it's also an affront to all women, and men, and thinking adults.
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<p>Michael&nbsp;Fassbender won&nbsp;Best Actor for &quot;Shame.&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender won Best Actor for "Shame."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Tree of Life,' Fassbender, Swinton win with Online critics

Other acting winners include Christopher Plummer and Jessica Chastain

After releasing quite the agreeable slate of nominees last week, the Online Film Critics Society has awarded "The Tree of Life" its 2011 Best Picture prize. The film won five awards in total. Previously announced special awards go to Jessica Chastain and Martin Scorsese. Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>Brad Pitt in &quot;The Tree of Life&quot;</p>

Brad Pitt in "The Tree of Life"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Tree of Life' leads the way with Central Ohio critics nominations

'Drive' was also a favorite, while 'The Artist' only got two mentions

The Central Ohio Film Critics Association should implement different nominating procedures so that ties, etc., don't leave them with a ridiculous slate of 15 BEST PICTURE NOMINEES. Anyway, it looks like "The Tree of Life" has the most mentions. Check out the full list of nominees below.

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<p>&quot;The Birdcage&quot; won the SAG ensemble prize for 1996.</p>

"The Birdcage" won the SAG ensemble prize for 1996.

Credit: MGM

Round-up: When 'The Birdcage' won

Also: Academy exercising Kodak escape clause and 'On the Road' to Cannes?

It's always nice to look back and see the real outside-the-box picks of awards organizations, particularly the Screen Actors Guild. Going back to the first annual ceremony, Jamie Lee Curtis was nominated for "True Lies." That's what I'm talkin' about! A year later, the criminally overlooked Kevin Bacon in "Murder in the First" got a tip of the hat, while in its inaugural year, the Best Ensemble spotlighted films like "Get Shorty" and "Nixon." With that in mind, Nathaniel Rogers flashes back to the 1996 ceremony, which saw a delightfully unique choice for the enemble prize: the cast of Mike Nichols' "The Birdcage." [Film Experience]

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<p>Chelsea Handler and Laura Prepon in NBC's &quot;Are You There, Chelsea?,&quot;&nbsp;one of dozens of new TV&nbsp;shows about to start premiering.</p>

Chelsea Handler and Laura Prepon in NBC's "Are You There, Chelsea?," one of dozens of new TV shows about to start premiering.

Credit: NBC

Glad to see me? I guess we're in the next year!

Get ready for lots of premieres and lots of press tour coverage in the weeks ahead

Happy New year, everybody! I was on a light schedule last week (though not as light as the TV business itself, which tends to ignore the last couple of weeks of December as much as possible), but I'm back in action big-time this week, as TV's mid-season begins with a new wave of premieres, plus the start of the Television Critics Association winter press tour later this week.

Over the weekend, we posted a gallery running down most of the notable TV debuts and returns of the next few months (plus some shows not coming back until later in the year), and as you can see, January is going to be pretty damn busy in terms of premieres. I'll have a review of ABC's "Work It" coming up a little later today, and I'll be trying to review as many premieres as possible, given the usual scheduling issues coupled with the insanity that is press tour.

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<p>I chose to use this shot because honestly, I&nbsp;can never get enough shots of the Witch-King and his crazy Fell Beast</p>

I chose to use this shot because honestly, I can never get enough shots of the Witch-King and his crazy Fell Beast

Credit: New Line Home Video

Could 'Lord of the Rings' have been public domain today?

The shifting landscape of copyright law makes for some interesting close calls

It's one of those accidents of timing that I would decide to finally watch the documentary "These Amazing Shadows" on January 1, the same day that I read an article about what works would have been entering the public domain on January 1, 2012, if not for a new law that revised copyright in the United States in the late '70s.

Even so, those two different bits of information at the same time caused me to really consider the idea of the public domain and what that even means.  Look at this year's Oscar poster, look at something like "The Artist" or "Hugo," or look at that documentary, and it's apparent that the main message Hollywood wants to sell you is that the memories Hollywood creates are the things that we all share, that unite us.

Isn't that the big idea behind public domain in the first place?

If you create something that everyone eventually internalizes, something like… let's pick a random example that has nothing to do with anything I happened to publish in the last week on this blog like, say, "Lord Of The Rings"… something that is hugely influential and widely commercialized and heavily exploited… then after a certain amount of time, you're going to have to expect things like fan fiction and different interpretations and parody and homage and plain old fashioned borrowing, and there comes a point where law was designed to finally say, "Okay, everyone, have at it.  The creator has had enough time with it.  Everyone knows it at this point.  It's all yours.  Do with it what you will."  That's what the law originally had in mind, with a set time period that could be renewed if the author still had an active interest in the thing.  If not, if no one stepped forward to claim something, then it would become public domain. 

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<p>A viewing of 'These Amazing Shadows' this afternoon lit a match under me as a viewer and made me consider what I hope to accomplish this year here on HitFix</p>

A viewing of 'These Amazing Shadows' this afternoon lit a match under me as a viewer and made me consider what I hope to accomplish this year here on HitFix

Credit: SPHE

Some thoughts on 'These Amazing Shadows' and the National Registry to kick off 2012

A documentary about film preservation offers a great reset for a new year of movies

Ted Turner may be the greatest accidental hero in the history of film preservation.

Let me back up and take the long way around to get to this point.  I'm going to try something different this year and keep a media journal for myself, to not just break down what movies I watch but every bit of media I ingest.  When, how much, where, what I used to watch them.  I'm curious about my own diet, but also about our media diets in general.

With this in mind, I realized that I wanted to pick just the right thing to start 2012, and so I opened Netflix Instant and pulled up the documentary "These Amazing Shadows," a movie about the National Film Registry and why it was created, how the films are chosen, who chooses them, and what it all means.

I had not seen the film before, and it's a lovely piece on the cultural importance of movies, the nature of film preservation, and how we share our cultural history.  One thing the movie reminds me of is the way these films that have become old hat, ingrained to the point of white noise to some of us, are always new to someone, and there's an importance to the idea of keeping them pristine and available so that future audiences have their chance to have that experience.  Yes, I've seen "Wizard Of Oz" so many times over the course of my life that I barely "see" it when it's on, but this ongoing Film Nerd 2.0 project with my kids underlines the idea that every viewer has their first time with films, and setting the stage the right way for that first viewing can mean so much.  You can ruin a movie by showing it wrong, and you can make an afternoon into magic if you show it right.

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<p>Killing a dragon in face-to-face combat may be one of the highlights of 'Skyrim,' but it is hardly the sole reason to recommend the game, which is as close to role-playing virtual reality as I've encountered so far</p>

Killing a dragon in face-to-face combat may be one of the highlights of 'Skyrim,' but it is hardly the sole reason to recommend the game, which is as close to role-playing virtual reality as I've encountered so far

Credit: Bethesda Studios

2011's Best Of The Rest includes dragon-killing and the world's dirtiest podcast

Louis CK changes the world, fantasy football gets funny, and more as we look back

I made a mention of a Girl Talk concert the other night on Twitter… well, actually, that's not true.  I RT'd someone else's mention of the show, and I got a surprised response from someone who seemed amazed by the idea that I have any other interests than film, which is fair.  When you spend as much time writing and talking about one subject, it would seem to be the defining thing about you.

But of course, there are other ways I spend my time, and other things I give my mental real estate to, and music and games and books are all part of what I feel keeps me sane and interesting and engaged each and every year, all of them ingested for different reasons and in different ways and in different quantities.  I decided that the last thing I run every year should be this article, the one that bats clean-up for all the other End-Of-The-Year pieces.

The big one, of course, in terms of time spent putting it together and considering it, is my Ten Best Films of 2011 list.  And I think that turned out pretty well.  My piece about the next ten film, the Runners-Up, was also solid, I thought.  And then there was my list of The Ten Worst Films of 2011 as well.  All of those took time.

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<p>Fireworks erupt over the Kremlin (alive and well despite what you saw in &quot;Mission:&nbsp;Impossible - Ghost Protocol&quot;), signaling the start of a new year.</p>

Fireworks erupt over the Kremlin (alive and well despite what you saw in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"), signaling the start of a new year.

Credit: AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel

Ringing out the old with hope for the new

So long, 2011

'Twas a year of change to say the least at In Contention. A little more than three months into our new arrangement with HitFix and we're going strong as ever. A new voice in Roth's unique perspective has added another dimension, as Guy and Gerard continue firing on all cylinders in their roles.

So as 2012 slowly creeps westward across the globe, greeting any number of international readers before finally making its way to Los Angeles, allow me to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. Thanks for reading, for sticking with us through the growing pains, for engaging and being respectful amid lively debate and for making In Contention unique and rich with the spirit of community.

See you next year.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 75 -- Critics' picks so far, 'War Horse' box office, PGA/WGA preview, boiling down Best Actress and more

Oscar Talk: Ep. 75 -- Critics' picks so far, 'War Horse' box office, PGA/WGA preview, boiling down Best Actress and more

Also: Would Jessica Chastain be riding such a high without a large body of work this year?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

We took a week off around Christmas to refocus and leave all this madness behind for a moment, but we're back on the case today ready to chew on the few morsels left in the year to discuss. The clock is ticking on 2011, so let's see what's on the docket today...

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<p>The cover of Adele's &quot;21&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

The cover of Adele's "21"

Will Adele ring in the New Year headed back to No. 1 on the Billboard 200?

Buble and Bieber likely go bye bye

Bye bye, Buble, bye bye Bieber. If next week’s Billboard 200 follows the usual pattern, most, if not all, of the holiday titles will fall out of the Top 10 next week.

As Michael Buble’s “Christmas” likely vacates the top spot, early signs indicate that Adele’s “21” will move back into No. 1. If so, it will mark her 14th non-consecutive week in the pole position. Billboard projects sales of around 150,000.  “21” is on target to surpass “Titantic,” which spent 16 weeks at No. 1 in 1998.

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<p>Yvonne Strahovski got a Sarah spotlight on tonight's &quot;Chuck.&quot;</p>
<br />

Yvonne Strahovski got a Sarah spotlight on tonight's "Chuck."


Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Baby': The mother and child reunion

Yvonne Strahovski kicks ass in another strong Sarah spotlight

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as we actively waste our babysitter...

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