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<p>&nbsp;Ricky Gervais</p>
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 Ricky Gervais

Credit: HBO

Press Tour: Ricky Gervais has his Golden Globes targets ready

'Life's Too Short' star-creator is returning to host because we said he wouldn't
Members of the Television Critics Association have grown accustomed to Ricky Gervais visiting us via satellite from Across the Pond, but on Friday (January 13) morning, reporters were treated to Gervais in the flesh. 
Gervais was able to drop by the TCA press tour panel for his new HBO comedy "Life's Too Short" because he's already in Los Angeles. As you may have heard, the "Office" and "Extras" creator is preparing for his third tour of duty as host of the Golden Globe and for his third tour of duty as lightning rod for trumped up Hollywood controversy.
"I wasn't going to do it a third time, but then I kept reading reports, press saying 'You'll never be invited back.' So I did it to annoy them," Gervais told reporters, many of whom probably wrote similar reports.
Asked if he was nervous about Sunday's telecast, Gervais cracked that he hadn't been nervous previously, but he is now. 
"What's the worst that could happen? I end my career once a week, if you read the press," Gervais cracked. "I only do things that can end my career. That's my fun. That's my extreme sport."
It's obvious, though, that he doesn't especially care about reviews of his performances or the possibility of irritating more sensitive members of the entertainment community. I can surmise that conclusion because, well, Gervais says so.
"If you get final edit, which i do and I demand... nothing else matters, and you're bulletproof. If I'm happy with my performance. I'm a considerate comedian. I don't view comedy as your conscience taking a day off... I stand by it, like I did every joke I did last year. And I don't care what people think," Gervais said.
And it's equally obvious that even some of the most seemingly irate of Gervais' celebrity targets were merely playing offended on previous Golden Globes nights. Johnny Depp, for example, appears as himself on "Life's Too Short," lampooning his own degree of feigned irritation.
"I said, 'Sorry about the Golden Globes, do you want to get your own back?'" Gervais said of his via-text pitch to Depp.
When a critic mentioned that bets were being taken in some circles on which stars will be Gervais' targets on Sunday -- and also asked a preview -- the cheeky host seemed simultaneously amused and bemused.
"I have specific targets, yeah. I've written the gags. But 'targets' isn't a word I'd use. 'Subjects.' Why are they betting on who I'll - what sort of a bet is that? Really? Ugh! I'm going to do a monologue about the year, and then introduce six or seven people throughout the show like I did last year," Gervais said. 
He continued, "But I've got nothing against any of those people in the room. I've worked with many of them, I like many of them, I admire most of them. They're just gags. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or give them a bad night or undermine the moral fabric of America. I'm a comedia. I'd rather they laugh than gasp, but I cherish the gasps along with the laughs. I don't know. I think that everyone took it well. I don't know who was really outraged last year. Everyone I spoke to... was cool with it. If someone says, "I'm outraged," then there was outrage. What did I say that was so outrageous? Oh, yeah, I just remembered..."
As always, you can check out HitFix on Sunday night for full Golden Globes coverage.
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Watch: Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars play 'Hunger Game's' 'Safe and Sound'

Watch: Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars play 'Hunger Game's' 'Safe and Sound'

Swifty shows up at the duo's Nashville show

Taylor Swift, who brought up guest artist after guest artist during her recent tour, got to crash someone else's show last night:  She joined  The Civil Wars to perform “Safe and Sound,” their duet from “Hunger Games”  on stage for the pair's sold-out show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Madonna on &quot;Good Morning America&quot;</p>

Madonna on "Good Morning America"

Watch: Madonna swats at Lady Gaga on 'GMA'

But she saves her true wrath for Newsweek

What is she wearing? That was the first question I thought when I watched the below excerpt from Madonna’s interview with “Good Morning America” that aired today.

Money can’t buy taste and the fake cheerleader outfit with silver fringe and "WE" necklace distracted me so much that I almost couldn't focus on what she was saying.  The interview is largely a snore in which Cynthia McFadden tries to be titillating by asking if Madonna’s recent kiss with Nicki Minaj included tongue, but Madonna is really having none of it.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Magnetic Fields</p>

Magnetic Fields

Listen: Magnetic Fields is hot for 'Andrew in Drag'

Naked homosexuality, with heels on

It's well documented that Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt does the majority of his songwriting and brainstorming in gay dance clubs or piano bars. From the band's latest offering, it appears a drag club has been further added to the circuit.

"Andrew in Drag" is a funny, spirited sigh for Merritt, as he enjoys "the only girl I'll ever love." Again, he proves why he is one of the most refreshingly and rare overtly gay songwriters penning overtly gay songs, wielding his heartache as much as he does his humor and wit. This one is much more juvenile than, say, anthems like "100,000 Fireflies," with a playful use of the term "fag," a reference to a weiner dog and the misanthropic joy contemplating his ambiguous, sensual "misspent youth."

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 77 -- Critics' Choice Awards, DGA nominees, documentary rule changes

Oscar Talk: Ep. 77 -- Critics' Choice Awards, DGA nominees, documentary rule changes

Also: Who has offered up the best campaigns of the 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.

It's been a busy week of announcements and awards shows leading into an even busier week of same as we barrel toward Sundance next week. Plus, ballots are due today (in a few hours, in fact). So let's see what's on the docket today...

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<p>Dirty Three's &quot;Toward the Low Sun&quot;</p>

Dirty Three's "Toward the Low Sun"

Credit: Drag City

Listen: Dirty Three's new 'Rising Below,' from first new album in 7 years

'Rising Below' precedes the 'Low Sun'

As explained in my post last month, I'm breathless that the Dirty Three are prepping their first album in seven years. And, today, the trio has something to show from it.

"Rising Below" features the same attention to recording detail as their last "Cinder" did, with a close miking of the hollow kick drums, textures of the violin and the stoked, narrative guitar lines mumbling through the tubes. Drummer Jim White carries the thing as the mid-toned instruments go and have their own says, several takes and dubs eventually merging into a tension-filled series of ebbs.  I'm hot for it, I want more.

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<p>Tom Hardy in &quot;Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.&quot;</p>

Tom Hardy in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."

Credit: Focus Features

'Tinker, Tailor,' 'Tree of Life' lead the way with Georgia film critics nods

Hunter McCracken and Juliette Binoche finally make their mark this season

Say, what are they drinking down in Georgia? Whatever it is -- and I'll bet it's good -- can we arrange for a few thousand crates of the stuff to be shipped over to Academy voters? The state's film critics have put their heads together for what is surely the most singular US critics' award slate of the season: from "We Need to Talk About Kevin" popping up in the Best Picture and Director categories to a Best Adapted Screenplay nod for "The Muppets" to "The Artist" failing to show up for Best Picture, Director or Actor, this is one group that clearly couldn't care less about their record as Oscar predictors.

"The Tree of Life" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" lead the nominations with eight mentions apiece, with both films scoring a pleasingly unexpected acting nod: young Hunter McCracken makes the Best Actor list (with Brad Pitt in supporting), while the critics have singled Tom Hardy out of the latter film's formidable supporting cast.

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<p>Hosts Paul Scheer (left) and Rob Huebel at the 17th annual Critics'&nbsp;Choice Movie Awards</p>

Hosts Paul Scheer (left) and Rob Huebel at the 17th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

A night at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards

The sights and sounds of the first major televised awards show of the season

I haven't watched the telecast of last night's Critics' Choice Movie Awards on VH1 yet, but to hear it from cranky New York Post critic Lou Lumenick, it was the worst piece of produced television in the history of God and heaven and love and death and everything else.

From my spot on the floor, though, it seemed like a pretty good step forward for the show, which is aiming to compete with the Golden Globes as THE televised precursor film awards ceremony of the season (shoot for the stars, so to speak). The move to the Hollywood Palladium in 2009 was a smart branding play, taking it out of Santa Monica (which the Indie Spirits have long-called home) and into slightly more unique waters. And in its third year at the venue, the steady progression of ambition and creativity in how the show is put together on the floor is noticeable and exciting.

The winners of the awards themselves? Not so exciting. Guy has already given that rundown, but I'll say that I was surprised at how well "The Help" did, kicking things off with a big win for Octavia Spencer.

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<p>Tom Hanks in &quot;Forrest Gump,&quot; one of Time Out's picks for the 20 worst Oscar winners of all time.</p>

Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump," one of Time Out's picks for the 20 worst Oscar winners of all time.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Round-up: Revisiting Oscar's worst decisions

Also: 'Harry Potter' for Best Picture, and a Globes seating shortage

Ah, the old "worst Oscar winners" topic -- it never fails to get a righteous movie-geek conversation going. We all have our personal bugbears, both within and beyond the list of consensus groaners that repeatedly get hauled out for another retrospective whipping. Tom Huddleston's fun list of the Academy's 20 worst decisions pulls from both piles: everyone loves to rag on "Driving Miss Daisy," but Anthony Hopkins's Best Actor win for "The Silence of the Lambs" is a more singular pick. For my part, I'm cheering on his selection of "Forrest Gump," Renee Zellweger and Stevie Wonder, feeling a little protective of "Gone With the Wind" and "The Sound of Music," and itching to add "Braveheart" to the list. Browse and rant at your leisure. [Time Out]  

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<p>Rory McCann and the rest of the &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;&nbsp;cast will return in April.</p>

Rory McCann and the rest of the "Game of Thrones" cast will return in April.

Credit: HBO

HBO sets 'Game of Thrones' premiere date, plus 'Veep,' 'Girls' and 'Game Change'

April will be a big month for HBO drama and comedy

HBO is about to kick off a three-hour bloc of press tour panels, mostly for new shows like the Milch/Mann horseracing drama "Luck," Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Armando Iannucci's "Veep," Lena Dunham's "Girls" and Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's "Life's Too Short." And now we know the premiere dates for all of those shows, plus when "Game of Thrones" season 2 will begin.

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<p>Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin were back on &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;last night.</p>

Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin were back on "30 Rock" last night.

Credit: NBC

The Morning Round-Up: '30 Rock,' 'The Office' & 'Up All Night'

Liz Lemon returned, while the 9 o'clock shows both had trivia battles

Some quick thoughts on last night's episodes of "30 Rock," "The Office" and "Up All Night" coming up just as soon as lupus lets me cut in line...

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<p>George Clooney and Viola Davis won Best Actor and Actress at last night's BFCA Critics' Choice Awards.</p>

George Clooney and Viola Davis won Best Actor and Actress at last night's BFCA Critics' Choice Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

'The Artist' wins 4 Critics' Choice Awards, including Best Picture and Director

Viola Davis and George Clooney take lead acting trophies

Forgive the delay in posting last night's BFCA Critics' Choice Awards results: Kris was on the scene and doubtless living it up, while I was catching some shut-eye. I'm sure Kris will fill you in later on how things went down from the inside -- I haven't even seen the ceremony myself -- but the chief news to take away here is that "The Artist" inevitably sealed its status as the film to beat this Oscar season with four wins, including Best Picture and Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius. (Among its other wins is one for Best Original Score -- someone go and check Kim Novak's pulse.)

It appears to have been an evening short on surprises -- but then, when have we ever counted on the BFCA to shake things up? It is worth noting, however, that "The Help" star Viola Davis scored her first big win of the season here, after having been largely shut out of the critics' awards. (After tying for the win in the 2008 and 2009 ceremonies, Meryl Streep remained in her seat this time.) Sandra Bullock started her streak of Best Actress wins here two years ago, and I sense it'll be the same for Davis, whose vehicle, like Bullock's, is more beloved by the industry and the public than by the critical majority.

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