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<p>&nbsp;Jennifer Lawrence walks the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards last February.</p>

 Jennifer Lawrence walks the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards last February.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Academy Awards get a 'Hunger Games' tie-in as Jennifer Lawrence set to announce nominations

Former nominee will get up early Oscar morning

 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this morning that former nominee Jennifer Lawrence will announce the nominees for the 84th Academy Awards alongside Academy president Tom Sherak on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Sherak and Lawrence will unveil the nominations in 10 of the 24 categories at a 5:30 a.m. PT news conference at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Nominations information for all categories will be distributed simultaneously to news media in attendance and online. 

Lawrence was nominated last year in the best actress category for her acclaimed performance in "Winter's Bone."  She next stars in the highly anticipated adaptation of "The Hunger Games" and David O. Russell's "The Silver Linings Playbook."  Lawrence recently appeared as a younger Mystique in "X-Men: First Class," Jodie Foster's "The Beaver" and in Drake Doremus' Sundance Grand Prize winning drama "Like Crazy." 

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<p>&nbsp;Rooney Mara in David Fincher's &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.&quot;</p>

 Rooney Mara in David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Fincher surprises by joining Allen, Payne, Scorsese and Hazanavicius for 2012 DGA Awards nominations

Spielberg, Refn, Daldry and Malick don't make the cut

In something of a surprise, David Fincher's work for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" made the five director field for the 2012 DGA Awards announced this morning.  Fincher was joined by Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michael Hazanavicius ("The Artist") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"). 

Notable omissions included Steven Spielberg ("War Horse," "The Adventures of Tintin"), Nicholas Winding Refn ("Drive"), Terrence Malick ("The Tree of Life") and Bennett Miller ("Moneyball").  

Fincher's surprise entry is the second major guild honor for the film after a WGA Awards nom for best adapted screenplay.  It's still unclear whether "Tattoo" will make the cut in those categories or the best picture field.  The reason for the latter is the Academy's new 5% rule which makes it unclear how many films will actually be nominated this year (most are assuming seven to eight).  The former is more complicated.  The best adapted screenplay category will be more competitive with non-WGA member scripts eligible and its hard to believe Fincher's pedestrian work could make the Academy cut.  While the Fincher nomination shows the "Dragon" director has likely reached the revered Scorsese/Eastwood/Spielberg status amongst his peers (i.e, they can do no wrong - until they do) and the assistant directors (who make up the majority of the DGA membership) most would still put their money on Spielberg or Miller to make the Oscar field in his place.

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<p>&quot;The Nine Lives of Chloe King&quot;</p>
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"The Nine Lives of Chloe King"

Credit: ABC Family

Press Tour: 'Nine Lives of Chloe King' TV movie on the verge of development

Also, what's up with the 32 episode 'Switched at Birth' season?
ABC Family President Michael Riley took the Television Critics Association press tour stage on Monday (January 8) morning to talk about a fantastic summer for for his network, a summer that saw the launch of one major dramatic hit ("Switched at Birth") and at least one other dramatic success ("The Lying Game").
Naturally, I started the Q&A portion of the panel by asking about the summer's lone clear failure, "The Nine Lives of Chloe King."
I found "Chloe King" to be a properly frothy piece of summer counter-programming and many viewers agreed, but compared to "Switched at Birth" and "The Lying Game," the ratings weren't there and after only 10 episodes, "Chloe King" was cancelled. The pill was especially difficult to swallow, because the 10th episode of "Chloe King," what ended up being the series finale, contained at least a half-dozen cliffhangers and concluded with a daunting percentage of the main cast either seemingly dead, possibly dead or in some form of indeterminate limbo.
Regarding the cancelation, Riley said, "We never talk about canceling shows at ABC Family. We always make sure we air all of our productions, because for us, it's very much a long-term view. Obviously, we love all of our shows and 'Chloe King' is such a great example of just an amazing show. We loved the cast. We loved the writing in that show. For us, it was about making some decisions and we had to choose between what we thought was resonating stronger with the audience."
But wait! There's hope!
Riley added, "One of the things about 'Chloe King' is we loved and are on the verge of putting a movie into development, so us, we always look at the intellectual property that we're capitalizing on and making sure there's opportunities for even more storytelling."
Would that possible TV movie pick up immediately after the infuriatingly open-ended finale?
Riley said, "We are just looking at it in development now, so the hope is that it will obviously, we're just putting it into development, so the idea is very much to capitalize on the storytelling that's already been in place."
So that's "on the verge of in-development," y'all. That's not the same as "in development" and it's also not the same as the formal ordering of a telefilm, so don't necessarily get too, too excited. But at least it's cause for guarded optimism.
Meanwhile, on an unrelated side note, a reader asked me last week why "Switched at Birth" received an unweildy back-22 order, bringing its first season to 32 episodes spread into three segments. What was the reason for the larger-than-normal order?
Riley explained, "For us, as we greenlight shows, traditionally we'll open up the first season with 10 episodes and from there, in the event it's a success, we'll look to continue to increase those episodes. For us, e absolutely loved 'Switched at Birth' and wanted to get as many episodes as possible on air as quickly as possible, so really it's much more about loving a show and getting as much content as we can before everybody goes on hiatus."
So there you go.
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<p>Woody Allen (right)&nbsp;directs Marion&nbsp;Cotillard and Owen&nbsp;Wilson on the set of &quot;Midnight in&nbsp;Paris.&quot;</p>

Woody Allen (right) directs Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson on the set of "Midnight in Paris."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

David Fincher, Woody Allen make the cut for DGA

Steven Spielberg, Tate Taylor and Terrence Malick snubbed

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has announced this year's slate of nominees for excellence in directing, and chalk another guild citation up for David Fincher, who somehow got in for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Also nominated was Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris," while Steven Spielberg and Tate Taylor were snubbed for Best Picture contenders "War Horse" and "The Help," respectively (both of which I had expected to get in). So was respected auteur Terrence Malick for "The Tree of Life."

This announcement is largely considered the most important harbinger of Oscar, as the 14,000-member organization often taps directors of films that go on to receive Best Picture nominations from the Academy. With the expanded Best Picture field, first to 10 and this year to anywhere between five and 10, the odds get even better, of course, but this is a good way of whittling the field down to the pulpy center of industry favorites.

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<p>It runs in the family:&nbsp;Michael&nbsp;Mann at the 2011 Venice International Film&nbsp;Festival with his daughter, &quot;Texas Killing Fields&quot;&nbsp;director Ami Canaan Mann.</p>

It runs in the family: Michael Mann at the 2011 Venice International Film Festival with his daughter, "Texas Killing Fields" director Ami Canaan Mann.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Michael Mann talks finding a place for camaraderie with his fellow directors

F.X. Feeney has a lengthy chat with the director of 'Heat,' 'The Insider' and HBO's 'Luck' pilot

The DGA announces theatrical nominees today (in under an hour). It will be a big announcement, but as I perused the Guild's website this morning killing a little time, I delighted in F.X. Feeney's lengthy chat with director Michael Mann currently being featured there.

Mann is my favorite working director and I can't wait to dive into the new series he's been working on with David Milch (another personal god), HBO's "Luck." So I leap at any chance to read someone picking his brain. And Feeney has a nice history with the director, having edited that handsome Taschen book on the films of Mann and offered up some quality interviews over the years.

A lot of ground is covered, from Mann's "I-want-to-make-movies" moment (seeing Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" in college) to his new task managing directors on "Luck." I was having trouble deciding which bit I wanted to quote. It's all good stuff. Ultimately, though, a passage on Mann's view of camaraderie with his fellow directors seemed particularly applicable today.

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<p>Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph in &quot;Up All Night.&quot;</p>

Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph in "Up All Night."

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: 'Up All Night' does game night in Thursday move

Christina Applegate/Will Arnett sitcom celebrates New Year's in its new timeslot

From the moment NBC's primetime schedule was announced last spring, it seemed only a matter of time before "Up All Night" got moved to Thursdays at 9:30 in place of "Whitney." From the single camera format to Lorne Michaels' presence as a producer to the wattage of stars Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett, it just seemed a more obvious fit for Thursday nights. And when it debuted in the fall to solid reviews and better-than-expected ratings given its placement in NBC's no-man's-land Wednesday lineup, it seemed even more clearly destined to do the timeslot switcheroo with "Whitney."

Well, the move has finally happened, and "Up All Night" gets the post-"Office" timeslot this week. Though we're now a couple of weeks into 2012, this week's episode is called (and about) "New Year's Eve," and features Reagan and Chris spending the holiday night with their friends, including Ava and her new boyfriend Kevin. (Adding Jason Lee as Kevin was one of the smartest moves creator Emily Spivey has made to date, as it creates a more natural bridge between Reagan's work and home lives and allows Ava to appear more frequently on the home front.) 

In this clip from the episode - exclusive to HitFix for the next few hours - we are reminded of just how competitive Reagan can get, and also of how good Applegate is at playing crazy. Enjoy.

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<p>Critical favorite &quot;Senna&quot; was controversially left off this year's documentary Oscar longlist -- might it have made it in under the new rules?</p>

Critical favorite "Senna" was controversially left off this year's documentary Oscar longlist -- might it have made it in under the new rules?

Credit: Producers' Distribution Agency

Round-up: Oscar's doc rule change favors theatrical visibility

Also: 'The Iron Lady''s composer switch and the craftsmen of 'War Horse'

Credit where it's due to the Academy: when the high number of egregious omissions in this year's documnentary Oscar longlist (from "Senna" to "The Interrupters" to "Tabloid") made it clear that something in the system was broken, they didn't waste too much time attempting a fix. Whether their solution works remains to be seen: in future, any doc hoping to compete will need to be reviewed in either the New York Times or Los Angeles Times to qualify, spelling the end of phantom qualifying runs. Some are protesting that this discriminates unfairly against smaller works with sketchier distribution, though I don't think it's unreasonable to limit the competition to films that have, at some point, been made available to the public in a theatrical context: it's no different from how the general Oscar categories work, after all. Perhaps the Best Foreign Language Film award should go the same way? [New York Times]    

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<p>Charlie Sheen, seen here at his Comedy Central roast, stopped by press tour last night.</p>

Charlie Sheen, seen here at his Comedy Central roast, stopped by press tour last night.

Credit: Comedy Central

Press tour: Charlie Sheen 'not crazy anymore' as he talks 'Anger Management'

Sitcom star stays on message in discussing new show and 'Two and a Half Men'
Charlie Sheen spent the first few months after being fired from "Two and a Half Men" trying to win the PR battle through a series of bizarre interviews, tweets and stage shows filled with Sheen-y buzzwords about "winning," "goddesses," and "tiger blood." The Sheen who became the main attraction at last night's combined FOX/FX press tour party was still doing image rehab, but coming from a much calmer, more magnanimous place.
Surrounded by reporters, Sheen was in his element: happy and laid-back and entirely on message. Asked at one point what makes him different from the guy getting into all that trouble a year ago, Sheen laughed and said, "Well, I'm not crazy anymore! That was an episode."
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<p>Laura Prepon and Chelsea Handler in &quot;Are You There, Chelsea?&quot;</p>

Laura Prepon and Chelsea Handler in "Are You There, Chelsea?"

Credit: NBC

Review: Laura Prepon channels Chelsea Handler in 'Are You There, Chelsea?'

Handler plays her own sister as one of several confusing issues in an unfunny sitcom
NBC's new comedy "Are You There, Chelsea?" (Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.) is a riddle wrapped in an enigma drowned in Kahlua. Among the confusing issues:
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<p>If &quot;The Tree of&nbsp;Life&quot;&nbsp;is showing weakness, &quot;Pirates of the Caribbean:&nbsp;On&nbsp;Stranger Tides&quot; and the franchise's history in the category could be a spoiler to watch.</p>

If "The Tree of Life" is showing weakness, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and the franchise's history in the category could be a spoiler to watch.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Tintin,' 'Harry Potter' and 'Transformers' out front with Visual Effects Society nominations

Oscar shortlisters 'Real Steel,' 'The Tree of Life' and 'X-Men: First Class' shut out

The Visual Effects Society has announced its list of nominees for the organization's 10th annual ceremony, and leading the way wasn't one of the live action blockbusters on the whittled-down slate of 10 advancing Oscar contenders. It was Steven Spielberg's animated offering "The Adventures of Tintin," which landed six nominations across the feature film categories.

The animated films are segregated by the Society, though, (and "Tintin" was not shortlisted by the Academy), so leading the way for live action entries was the year's one-two franchise punch (and perhaps not-so-coincidentally the top two domestic grossers of the year) "Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Each picked up five nominations.

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" wasn't far behind with four. All three are considered frontrunners for the Best Visual Effects Oscar race.

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<p>Shockwave is pleased with &quot;Transformers:&nbsp;Dark of the Moon's&quot;&nbsp;VES&nbsp;Awards nominations.</p>

Shockwave is pleased with "Transformers: Dark of the Moon's" VES Awards nominations.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Harry Potter,' 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' Game of Thrones' lead 2012 Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations

'Tree of Life" is shut out from the digital guild

The Visual Effects Society (VES) today announced the nominees for its 10th Annual VES Awards and the surprise was the exclusion of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life."  Short-listed for the Oscar for Visual Effects, "Life" didn't land any film-centric nominations.

On the film side, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2"  and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" each landed five nominations. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" found four nominations, "Hugo" received three while "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" landed two nods respectively. "The Adventures of Tintin" had the most film nominations - animated or live-action - with six.

On the television side, "Boardwalk Empire"lead the way with four nominations, "Game of Thrones" found three nominations and "Pan Am" and "Terra Nova" each landed two.

As previously announced, Stan Lee will be honored with the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and Douglas Trumbull with the Georges Méliès Award.

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<p>Josh Lucas and Molly Parker in &quot;The Firm.&quot;</p>

Josh Lucas and Molly Parker in "The Firm."

Credit: NBC

'The Firm' - 'Pilot': The Firm 2: Die firmer?

What did everybody think of NBC's new legal drama?

I posted my review of NBC's "The Firmsequel earlier this week. Now it's your turn. Did this feel like a worthy successor to either the John Grisham book or Tom Cruise movie? Did Josh Lucas make a good Mitch McDeere? Did the presence of both Callum Keith Rennie and Tricia Helfer make you wonder whether this new firm is some kind of elaborate Cylon plot? Did you care at all about the case involving the kids and the vengeful father? And do you intend to continue watching when the show moves to Thursdays at 10 later this week?

Have at it.

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