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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

Katy Perry's march to No. 1 continues with B.o.B. remix of 'The One That Got Away'

Will it be enough to land her the record-setting sixth No. 1 from 'Teenage Dream?'

Discount single at iTunes? Check. Come up with a new remix? Check. Show up on well-timed, year-end television shows? Check.

Looks like Katy Perry, who hosted “Saturday Night Live” last week and was one of  Barbara Walters’  Most Fascinating People, is on track to make “The One That Got Away” her sixth No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 from “Teenage Dream,” which, as we all know by now, would make her the only artist in pop history to ever do so.

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<p>Shailene Woodley at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;The&nbsp;Descendants&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Descendants"

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Novel giveaway contest winner!

Cody S, come on down...

Thanks everyone who participated in our novel giveaway contest. It dovetails nicely with my post this morning about Hunter McCracken in "The Tree of Life." We got a lot of passionate defenses of actors like Elle Fanning ("Super 8"), Anna Jacoby-Heron ("Contagion"), Chloe Grace Moretz ("Hugo), Anna Sophia Robb ("Soul Surfer"), Jacon Wsocki ("Terri"), Alex Shaffer ("Win Win") and Cozi Zuehlsdorff ("Dolphin Tale").

Ultimately, though, I really liked what reader CODY S had to say about Shailene Woodley in "The Descendants":

"Audiences often worship adult actors, adore child actors and simply recognize teenage actors. Shailene Woodley, coming from a show that criminally mocks and overlooks teenage emotion, surprisingly astounded me in 'The Descendants.' Woodley could have simply played off cliched angst and walked away with a nice paycheck, but instead embodies her character's ambivalence, anger, sadness, and frustration. Beyond her character's profanity and sarcasm lies a genuine struggle between forgiveness and disdain, which Woodley conveys beautifully through strained glances and buried grief. Embodying a showy and subdued performance, Woodley truly deserves a spot in oscar candidacy."

So Cody S, if you're reading, drop me a line so I can get your address and send off your spoils!

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<p>Paul McCartney</p>

Paul McCartney

Credit: AP Photo

Paul McCartney wants to be your sweetheart on Feb. 7's 'My Valentine'

Romantic set focuses on tunes from the '20s and '40s

Newlywed Paul McCartney has got that lovin’ feeling. On Feb. 7, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Sir Paul will release “My Valentine” on Concord/Hear Music.

The Tommy LiPuma-produced set will contain new McCartney-penned odes, because you never can really have enough silly love songs, as well as songs from the 1920s-1940s that his father loved and a young McCartney heard growing up. “My family, my uncles, everybody sang,” he told a French radio station (via Direct Contact). “And there will be pieces I wrote, but in this style...I worked with Diana Krall, and great jazz musicians like John Clayton. This is an album very tender, very intimate. This is an album you listen to at home after work, with a glass of wine or a cup of tea.”

It will be a big week for McCartney, who will be honored Feb. 10 in Los Angeles as MusiCares Person of the Year, the annual fundraiser produced by The Recording Academy two nights before the Grammys.


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<p>The Chieftans</p>

The Chieftans


Bon Iver, Decemberists, Civil Wars join the Chieftains for 'Voice of Ages'

Venerated Irish band pairs with indie, Americana and folk artists for new set

The DecemberistsBon Iver, The  Civil Wars, The Low Anthem, Pistol Annies and Carolina Chocolate Drops all join The Chieftains on the legendary Irish outfit’s “Voice of Ages,” out  Feb. 21.

Co-produced by T Bone Burnett, the set also features Punch Brothers, Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan and Paolo Nutini mixing it up on a collection, as well as writing some of the material: The Civil Wars write a song specifically for the project.

The Chieftains will kick off a tour in conjunction with the release on Feb. 17  in Santa Barbara, which will culminate in their annual St. Patrick’s Day show in New York. This year’s St. Paddy’s show will also serve as a 50th anniversary celebration.

The band has a long history of collaborating with musicians from all different genres, and has recorded in the past with Mark Knopfler, Tom Jones, Ziggy Marley, Jackson Browne, Madonna, Sting, Elvis Costello, Mick Jagger and dozens more.


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Michael Shannon gave the year's best leading male performance in Jeff Nichols's "Take Shelter."
Michael Shannon gave the year's best leading male performance in Jeff Nichols's "Take Shelter."
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

2011: the year in superlatives

Awarding the best in Oscar's categories and ours

So we've spent a week digesting and considering every critics organization's list of winners from LA to New York and everywhere in between. It's probably resulted in a numbing effect, the sheer volume of announcements whittling the season down to a point where it doesn't resemble much of anything anymore.

But who am I to complain about the amount of year-end kudos announcements when I had this post coming all along? I know. I'm so hypocritical.

Alas, after starting with the top 10 column on Monday and continuing with The Longlists on Wednesday, I'm wrapping up a week of year-in-review specials today with the annual list of superlatives, née, "The In Contention Awards." I have over 30 categories here with winners in each. Basically I take the Oscar fields and add a bunch of peripheral stuff to round out the year and send it off with a bang.

I look forward to hearing everyone else's choices for best this and best that as the season continues and more of you are able to see the films in release. But for me, I'm putting a bow on it with the below. Enjoy.

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Howard Stern

Howard Stern

Credit: AP

Is Howard Stern a good fit for 'America's Got Talent'?

The irrascible radio icon says he'll be tough - but is this the right forum for that?

Yes, it's true -- Howard Stern will be replacing Piers Morgan at the judges' table on "America's Got Talent." Clearly, the contentious radio personality is considered a big get by producers, who are moving the whole show to New York to accommodate him. What this means for co-judges Sharon Osbourne (who has a regular gig at Los Angeles-based "The Talk") and Howie Mandel is not yet clear -- and the impact Stern might have on the show itself is also anyone's guess.

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<p>&quot;The Life &amp;&nbsp;Times of Tim.&quot;</p>

"The Life & Times of Tim."

Credit: HBO

Reminder: HBO's 'The Life & Times of Tim' returns

Animated comedy of embarrassment survived cancellation

HBO's "The Life & Times of Tim" returns from cancellation tonight at 9, and you can be forgiven for not even realizing the show was canceled. The animated comedy has always existed well below the radar, airing in latenight for its first season and on Fridays for its second. It has its fans - I happen to be one of them - but they seem neither as vocal nor numerous as, say, the people stumping for "Archer" or various Adult Swim series.

So it was a disappointment but not a shock when HBO declined to order a third season back in June of 2010, and then a pleasant surprise when the decision was reversed a month and a half later after the show was shopped elsewhere. It's rare to see shows comes back from the dead, and the low-key fashion in which the whole saga played out seemed oddly fitting for such a simple, deadpan comedy.

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<p>Christopher Plummer</p>

Christopher Plummer

Credit: AP Photo/Focus Feature

Santa Barbara fest selects Christopher Plummer for Modern Master Award

The actor follows up SAG and Globe nominations with the festival's highest honor

Christopher Plummer is easily one of the most well-known and respected actors of our time. He is also an incredibly active 82-year-old man with a schedule to rival that of Clint Eastwood’s: He's completing press rounds for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” can be seen in the film version of his one-man show “Barrymore,” is developing another one-man show, "A Word or Two," and has settled in as the frontrunner for the Best Support Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a widower who comes out of the closet in the later part of his life in Mike Mills’s “Beginners.”

Plumber just received Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his work in the film, among other kudos, and has now added anoter feather to his pre-Oscar cap. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced that Plumber will receive the Modern Master Award at this year's festival. SBIFF describes the award as its highest honor, created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her multi-faceted accomplishments in the industry.

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<p>Hunter McCracken, disavowed almost entirely by the 2011-2012 awards circuit, in &quot;The Tree of Life&quot;</p>

Hunter McCracken, disavowed almost entirely by the 2011-2012 awards circuit, in "The Tree of Life"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Tree of Life' leads Chicago film critics nods

And someone finally throws Hunter McCracken a bone

Another day, another list of film critics groups dishing out their year-end kudos. This will continue on for a few weeks, but the Chicago Film Critics Association announced its nominees today, and something in the mix got me thinking: Where's the love for Hunter McCracken this season?

The young star of "The Tree of Life" picked up a notice from the Chicago crowd for Most Promising Performer, and if you can believe it, it's only the first time he's been mentioned in an awards capacity this season. The first time! Though please correct me if I'm wrong.

This is stunning to me. I think the kid is good enough to warrant Best Actor attention, as you know, but he hasn't even shown up in the various youth performance categories. I was most disheartened to see that he didn't even land in the BFCA's Best Young Actor/Actress category. He deserved to be in over every other nominee in that field, but at LEAST he should have been in over Asa Butterfield, who is kind of all over the place in "Hugo."

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<p>George Clooney in &quot;The&nbsp;Descendants&quot;</p>

George Clooney in "The Descendants"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Dallas-Fort Worth critics REALLY like 'The Descendants'

The film has won five awards from the group

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association has picked its jumped into the fray with a list of winners and it's rather clear they kind of had a thing for Alexander Payne's "The Descendants." The film won awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay. Check out the full list below.

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<p>William Joyce is imagining a new relationship between Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and more in his multi-media project that kicks off in movie theaters next year with 'Rise Of The Guardians'</p>

William Joyce is imagining a new relationship between Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and more in his multi-media project that kicks off in movie theaters next year with 'Rise Of The Guardians'

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

We sit down with William Joyce for a first look at 'Rise Of The Guardians'

Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman are coming next year

It's strange when you realize that the people who you flip out about meeting are rarely the ones you expect will make you have that reaction.  I've met people whose work has been important to me my whole life and handled it with relative grace and calm, and then I've also met a few people who rattled me face-to-face simply because I didn't understand quite how significant their work is to me.

William Joyce is one of those people.

I love reading to my kids, and the books that end up in the constant rotation, the ones that we come back to over and over again, are the ones where the art and the prose are both approached with care and with soul.  We've sampled books from dozens if not hundreds of authors, and there are certain guys who went right to the top of the permanent pile as soon as we read the books for the first time, and an uncommon number of those books were written and illustrated by William Joyce.

They are gorgeous, designed and painted with delicate wit and a lush sense of imagination, books like "Bently and Egg" and "Buddy" and "Santa Calls" and "The Leaf Men," and he's the creator of the "Rolie Polie Olie" books and TV show.  His work has been a key part of films like "Meet The Robinsons" and "Robots," and he's just published two new books as part of what sounds like the biggest overall property of his career.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 74 -- LAFCA, SAG, Globes, 'Dragon Tattoo,' 'Extremely Loud' and more

Oscar Talk: Ep. 74 -- LAFCA, SAG, Globes, 'Dragon Tattoo,' 'Extremely Loud' and more

Also: 'Bridesmaids' staying power and surprises so far

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.

After a break from our regularly scheduled programming last week for some top 10 shenanigans, it's back to business today. And there is PLENTY to talk about, with a wave of critics and precursor award announcements having sped through this week. Let's see what's on the docket today...

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