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<p>The&nbsp;Muppets are ready for their close-up, Academy.</p>

The Muppets are ready for their close-up, Academy.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Why the Academy needs to drown this controversy in a healthy dose of 'The Muppets'

Screenwriter Nick Stoller weighs in with his thoughts on the notion

So I put the question out to you, both here and on Twitter: Who should host the Oscars now that Eddie Murphy has bowed out?

The replies include the usual wish-list picks (Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey) to preferred returning emcees (Hugh Jackman, Steve Martin, Jon Stewart) to interesting original picks (Albert Brooks, Amy Poehler, Craig Ferguson). And while those are all nice and make sense for various reasons, I think the best option is staring us right in the face.

I have to come clean. I was not aware of the online campaign to get The Muppets to host the Oscars (which obviously lost steam once Eddie Murphy was tapped) until this morning. You can read all about it @MuppetOscars and at Facebook. And here's the thing: BRILLIANT.

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Dr. Drew Pinsky
Credit: VH1

Why Dr. Drew needs an intervention for 'Dr. Drew's Lifechangers'

Checking for breast implants? Ridiculous guests? What happened?

I've always been a loyal supporter of Dr. Drew Pinsky. Even when I had qualms about his methods (the seemingly endless talking head interviews every time LiLo melted down, for example), I felt his heart was in the right place. He wanted to help people. I may have watched "Celebrity Rehab" for all the wrong reasons, but I never doubted that Dr. Drew recruited his roster of D-list has-beens in the hopes that someone knee deep in a bag of heroin might look up at their TV and think, hey, rehab doesn't look so bad (although if they were hoping for the same level of craft services, they were probably sorely disappointed). Over the years I've listened to Dr. Drew wearily talk people through their chaotic relationship woes on Loveline, certain that he meant well even when he was clearly rolling his eyes. But now, I'm thinking the guy who wrote the book on narcissism (literally: it's called "The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America") has crossed over to the dark side. 

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<p>Eddie Murphy at the New York premiere of Brett&nbsp;Ratner's &quot;Tower Heist&quot;</p>

Eddie Murphy at the New York premiere of Brett Ratner's "Tower Heist"

Credit: AP Photo/Peter Kramer

Oscars host Eddie Murphy follows Brett Ratner out the door

'Tower Heist' star bows out after controversy forced his creative partner's hand

Well. This is a mess.

I honestly hadn't expected Eddie Murphy to take his leave as Oscarcast host following the Brett Ratner dust-up, mainly because I imagined the Academy would have made sure he was still on board so as not to have two big stories to deal with. But it seems Murphy has indeed followed Ratner out the door after Ratner's controversial media appearances put him in a position with the Academy that left no choice but resignation.

"First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony," Murphy said via AMPAS press release. "I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."

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<p>Morgan&nbsp;Freeman previously won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in &quot;Driving Miss Daisy.&quot;</p>

Morgan Freeman previously won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in "Driving Miss Daisy."

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Morgan Freeman to receive HFPA's Cecil B. DeMille Award

The 'Dark Knight Rises' star gets the lifetime achievement treatment

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has tapped actor Morgan Freeman as the recipient of this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award, the organization's lifetime achievement prize. Recent honorees have included Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and Warren Beatty.

Actress Amy Adams and filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar were on hand at a press conference this morning to make the announcement. No, they have no connection to Freeman. But you know the HFPA and their celebrity fixation.

Freeman has been nominated for a Golden Globe five times, for the same five performances that netted him Oscar attention, in fact: "Street Smart" in 1987, "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989 (he won the Globe but lost the Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot"), "The Shawshank Redemption" in 1994, "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004 (he lost the Globe to Clive Owen in "Closer" but won the Oscar) and "Invictus" in 2009.

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<p>The poster for Cameron&nbsp;Crowe's &quot;We Bought a Zoo&quot;</p>

The poster for Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Cameron Crowe's 'We Bought a Zoo' gets a nifty new poster

Will the film register this season?

With all the talk about the great "unknowns" this season, with "Young Adult" and "J. Edgar" having dropped over the last week and "War Horse," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" still to come, Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo" has kind of fallen through the cracks of expectation. I haven't heard much about it and most seemed to disavow it after that saccharine-loaded trailer, but I'm actually looking forward to it with fingers crossed.

Details of the Jónsi-led soundtrack were recently revealed and I noted in a Best Original Song finger-to-the-wind post that the track "Gathering Stories" will be in the mix for that category. But what else could register for the film? Is Matt Damon lurking as a Best Actor possibility? Is the adapted screenplay up to snuff? I just don't know.

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<p>Stan Lee receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in&nbsp;January.</p>

Stan Lee receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Stan Lee lands another film honor

The PGA will give him its Vanguard Award this year

It's a good year for Stan Lee. "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" have laid the groundwork for "The Avengers" next year. He got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January. The Visual Effects Society has tapped him for a lifetime achievement honor, and the awards just keep coming.

Today the Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced that the comic book legend will receive its Vanguard Award this year. The prize recognizes achievements in new media and technology. Previous recipients include George Lucas, John Lasster and YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Will Wright.

“I am extremely appreciative that the Producers Guild has chosen me for this distinguished award,” Lee says in the press release. “I am eager to continue to expand comic book storytelling into the digital space and am honored to be awarded alongside such amazing visionaries.”

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<p>Oprah&nbsp;Winfrey:&nbsp;&quot;I don't think there's room for criticism in the do-good department.&quot;</p>

Oprah Winfrey: "I don't think there's room for criticism in the do-good department."

Credit: AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Oscarweb Round-up: Oprah's honor

Also: Gurus pick lead actor, animated feature and Searchlight debuts 'Shame' site

With the Governors Awards right around the corner, this year's recipients have been making the press rounds. When they were announced earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey's planned Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award fete was criticized by many who felt like she was known more for her TV work than her film work and therefore it was a stretch to extend her an honor that has gone to the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Jerry Lewis over the years. Well, Winfrey says she gets it, and that she was surprised herself, but she also defends herself: "I don't think there's room for criticism in the do-good department." Let's get down to brass tacks. Do I win a car or what? [Associated Press]

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<p>The Braverman women (Erika Christensen, Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham)&nbsp;attend a &quot;Parenthood&quot;&nbsp;party.</p>

The Braverman women (Erika Christensen, Mae Whitman and Lauren Graham) attend a "Parenthood" party.

Credit: NBC

'Parenthood' - 'In-Between': Don't you want somebody to love?

Kristina's jealous of Adam's hot receptionist, and Amber makes Seth an ultimatum

A review of last night's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I bore you with a story about Jefferson Airplane...

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<p>A&nbsp;moment from Gore Verbinski's &quot;Rango.&quot;</p>

A moment from Gore Verbinski's "Rango."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Contender Countdown: 'Rango' vs. 'Tintin' for animated feature Oscar?

Plus: 'J. Edgar' takes a dive in the best picture race

While there aren't too many changes in this week's best picture countdown things are heating up in the best animated feature race.

The Academy announced 18 films that had qualified for the animated feature which means there should be five nominees this year. Even with newly expanded rules, this is only the third time that's occurred.  In 2003 when "Spirited Away" won and in 2010 (perhaps the greatest field of nominees so far) when "Up" took the Oscar. In this pundits view, this year's race comes down to a three-way race between the critically acclaimed "Rango," Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin" and Aardman produced "Arthur Christmas." Verbinski's "Rango" was a surprise hit and arguably the most thematically sophisticated (let alone triply) animated film in years. "Tintin" is already a hit overseas, but its also motion-capture.  Will the Academy really recognize a motion-capture film for best animated feature?  "Arthur" will be adored by critics and audiences, but is facing very tough domestic box office prospects with "Muppets" and "Hugo" opening on the same day.

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<p>&nbsp;Justin and Jennifer of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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 Justin and Jennifer of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Justin & Jennifer talk 'The Amazing Race'

Marathons, U-Turns, Roadblock clues and a warm-and-fuzzy 'Race' season
Fate on "The Amazing Race" is always a fickle thing. Just ask Justin and Jennifer Young.
 
One week after reaching the Pit Stop in first in one part of Malawi (they were penalized for not paying a driver and ended up in second), the bickering siblings were the last team to get to host Phil Keoghan in a different part of Malawi and were sent packing (not every week can be a Non-Elimination Leg).
 
Make that "formerly bickering siblings." 
 
Justin and Jennifer spent the first couple "Amazing Race" episodes constantly mid-argument (with Jennifer as the regular instigator), but then they started getting along and making geeky pop culture references and having fun. That made it all the more disappointing when a forgotten Roadblock clue left Jennifer standing around an African village waiting for further instruction as one team after another passed them by. 
 
Click through for Justin & Jennifer's full "Amazing Race" exit interview...
 
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<p>Zhang Yimou (left)&nbsp;directs Christian Bale on the set of &quot;The Flowers of War.&quot;</p>

Zhang Yimou (left) directs Christian Bale on the set of "The Flowers of War."

Credit: Wrekin Hill Entertainment

Zhang Yimou's 'Flowers of War' set for Oscar-qualifying run

Meanwhile the Chinese filmmaker has already landed his first award

It’s been a momentous week for Chinese director Zhang Yimou. The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations announced that the prolific (and often times controversial) director will be this year’s recipient of the FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia-Pacific region. The honor will be awarded at the fifth annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony on Australia's Gold Coast on November 24.

The director’s previous achievements include the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, two BAFTA awards, Silver and Golden Lions at Venice and Berlin's Silver and Golden Bear. Zhang’s “Ju Dou” became China's first Academy Award-nominated film in the Best Foreign Film category in 1991 followed directly by his next film “Raise the Red Lantern.” The director’s latest offering, “The Flowers of War” has already been selected as China's official foreign language entry for this year’s Academy Awards.

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<p>Maggie Siff on &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Maggie Siff on "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Hands': This old man

The club and several characters reach the point of no return in a fantastic episode

A review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as I give you until after "The Jetsons" to decide...

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