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<p>&quot;The&nbsp;Tree of Life&quot; continues an impressive precursor streak.</p>

"The Tree of Life" continues an impressive precursor streak.

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Toronto critics tap 'Tree of Life,' Terrence Malick

Michael Shannon and Michelle Williams win top acting honors

One more before you shut out the lights. The Toronto Film Critics Association has named "The Tree of Life" the best film of the year. The film's director, Terrence Malick, was also awarded while "Take Shelter" won two acting honors. Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>Shailene Woodley won&nbsp;Best Supporting&nbsp;Actress for &quot;The&nbsp;Descendants.&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley won Best Supporting Actress for "The Descendants."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'The Descendants' takes Best Picture from Houston critics

Nicolas Winding Refn takes down another prize as well

"The Descendants" has been crowned Best Picture with the Houston Film Critics Society. Nicholas Winding Refn received his second Best Director prize of the day (following an award from the Las Vegas Film Critics Society) and Michael Fassbender was recognized for "Shame." Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>Angelina Jolie at the premiere of &quot;In the Land of Blood and Honey.&quot;</p>

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of "In the Land of Blood and Honey."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostin

Angelina Jolie's directorial debut inspires praise and controversy

As the PGA announces plans to honor "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a Serb association calls for a ban

Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey” is stirring the initial rumblings of critical praise as well as a bit of controversy. The mix feels oddly fitting given the trajectory of the filmmaker's own relationship with the public.

Earlier this week producers were faced with a potential lawsuit from James Braddock, a Croatian author claiming that the script plagiarized his 2007 novel “The Soul Shattering.” He has since withdrawn his motion for a restraining order against the film.

Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today that the film will be honored with the 2012 Stanley Kramer Award at the 23rd Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony. As the PGA explains it, the award was established in 2002 to honor a motion picture, producer or other individual whose achievement or contribution illuminates provocative social issues in an accessible and elevating fashion.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Law by Sheree'

Sheree gets her day in court - but will Phaedra be outsmarted?

For some reason, we're getting a Very Special Episode of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" on a Tuesday night, though this isn't actually a Very Special Episode for any other reason than yes, we're watching it on a Tuesday night. I was hoping for some big catfight or maybe Kim popping out a second baby she didn't realize was in there, but instead this is a fairly sedate episode, though I think it's safe to forecast some turbulent waters ahead, specifically for Sheree. 

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<p>Amber Riley of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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Amber Riley of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Extraordinary Merry Christmas'

New Directions splits its attention during the holidays, and HitFix starts a tradition of its own
“Well, tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you!” That line, sung by Bono in “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, has always bothered me. I’m sure it’s bothered a lot of you as well. I understand the meaning the song was probably going for, but it comes off completely condescending at best, and totally tone-deaf at worst. Is Bono sarcastically berating those who have the technology to listen to the song? Is he mocking those in Africa who might not get MTV, satellite radio, or Spotify? For reasons only Ryan Murphy can probably answer, New Directions sang this song, including that infamous line, AT A BUNCH OF HOMELESS PEOPLE TONIGHT. Essentially, New Directions said, “Look, you’re down and out, but at least you don’t live in Africa.” I think. I honestly don’t know. All I know is that when I heard, “Well, tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you,” I heard “Glee” singing it at everyone no longer watching this program.
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<p>Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek and Octavia Spencer in &quot;The Help,&quot; likely to receive a Best Ensemble SAG nomination tomorrow morning.</p>

Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek and Octavia Spencer in "The Help," likely to receive a Best Ensemble SAG nomination tomorrow morning.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Share your SAG and Globe nominee predictions

The last major precursors of the year land in the next two days

It's been a pretty relentless week for precursor announcements, and we're not over the hump yet: tomorrow brings the Screen Actors' Guild nominations, Thursday the Golden Globe list, and then we can all go more or less into holiday mode until the other guilds reignite the conversation in January. (Well, out of loyalty, I must point out that the London Critics' Circle, of which I am a member, announce their nominations next week.)

Some of you have requested a space to offer your own predictions (or wishlists, as you prefer) for the SAG and Globe nominees; as always, we aim to please, so here it is. I've got the ball rolling with my own SAG predictions after the jump -- I haven't the energy to take on the Globes, but maybe I will tomorrow. I'm particularly intrigued to see how SAG fills out its ensemble category: they tend to veer between using it to honor genuine ensemble pieces and lazily checking off supposed Best Picture frontrunners, regardless of the ensemble quality. Will "Hugo" and "War Horse" feature, despite not being major acting showcases? We'll see. Either way, I expect "The Help" to have a good morning. How about you?

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<p>Jason Reitman, Charlize Theron, Diablo Cody and Patton Oswalt at the New York premiere of &quot;Young Adult.&quot;</p>

Jason Reitman, Charlize Theron, Diablo Cody and Patton Oswalt at the New York premiere of "Young Adult."

Credit: AP Photo/Dave Allocca

'Young Adult' to receive Vanguard Award at Palm Springs fest

Award honors contribution of film's creative ensemble

We've written before about how the Palm Springs International Film Festival tends to stick very closely to the presumed template of surefire Oscar contenders when picking their honorees. So they've at least gone slightly out on a limb by handing their Vanguard Award for "outstanding creative ensemble" to Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" -- a film already on the fringes in the three awards categories it's aiming for, and one far outside the Best Picture conversation. Reitman took the same award four years ago for a far more broadly popular film, "Juno"; "Little Miss Sunshine" is another previous winner.

I'm not sure how exactly the festival organizers define "creative ensemble," though I do hope the award covers more than just the director, writer and two principals. There's smart supporting work, for example, from Elizabeth Reaser as the homely, unwitting romantic rival of Charlize Theron's protagonist; on the technical front, as I wrote yesterday on the category's Contenders page, the elegantly character-defining costumes by David C. Robinson are thoroughly worthy of recognition.

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<p>Melissa McCarthy is crowned best actress in a comedy queen at the 2011 Emmy Awards. &nbsp;Will McCarthy find the same amount of love from SAG&nbsp;voters?</p>

Melissa McCarthy is crowned best actress in a comedy queen at the 2011 Emmy Awards.  Will McCarthy find the same amount of love from SAG voters?

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

2012 SAG Nominations: 10 things you should look for

What surprises are on deck from Hollywood's thespians?

Early tomorrow morning the Screen Actor's Guild will get a jump on the HFPA and announce the nominees for the 2012 SAG Awards.  Unlike the Golden Globes, the SAGs are held in much higher esteem by most actors because they are being honored by their peers.  Of course, with such a large group of voters on the nominating committee(4,200 randomly selected members) you're bound to get a few strange nods here and there.  Moreover, as the largest branch in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, how the actors (er, SAG) falls is generally (but not always) a good indicator of where the Academy Award nominations will land.  That being said, before you get up bright and early to hear Regina King and Judy Greer announce this year's nods, keep these 10 things in mind.

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<p>Seth Rogen in &quot;50/50.&quot; </p>

Seth Rogen in "50/50."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Seth Rogen will be both host and nominee at the Film Independent Spirit Awards

What did he learn from Franco's dual role at the Oscars?

In an interesting turn of events, Seth Rogen (who just last month indicated that he would have no interest in following his friend James Franco’s lead to one day host the Oscars) is set to host the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The 27th annual ceremony will again be held as a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 25 and will air later that evening at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on IFC.

Rogen’s own film, “50/50,” is well-represented with nominations for Best Feature, Anjelica Huston for Best Supporting Female, and Will Reiser for Best First Screenplay. The actor co-produced and co-stars (indirectly as himself) in the film alongside indie (and now big budget) favorite Joseph Gordon-Levitt. So, Rogen is indeed taking a feather from Franco’s cap in that there is the potential for him to walk away as both host and honoree should “50/50” secure the Best Feature win.

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<p>Mumford &amp; Sons</p>

Mumford & Sons

Credit: Katie Hasty

Mumford & Sons talk second album

You won't believe whom they compare themselves to

Describing it as “kind of Black Sabbath meets Nick Drake,” the members of Mumford & Sons says their second album will build on the musical tone set on 2010’s “Sigh No More.”

 "[It's] certainly more mature, I’d say," bassist Ted Dwane told Rolling Stone.  says. "The second record is just a reflection of our mindsets, where we’re all at. It’s doom folk.

The multiple Grammy nominees, including for record and song of the year, just finished their last show of the year on Sunday at KROQ’s Acoustic Christmas in Los Angeles.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Melissa McCarthy in &quot;Bridesmaids&quot;</p>

Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Las Vegas critics spring for 'The Artist,' Melissa McCarthy

Meanwhile, Nicolas Winding Refn gets his first critics award of the year

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society dished out their kudos today, and they fell right in line. "We'll take 'The Artist,' please."

More interesting is their choice for Best Director: Nicolas Winding Refn for "Drive." As noted in today's Off the Carpet column, it's intriguing how much staying power the film has this season. Maybe it can parlay some of these notices into more serious Academy consideration, but it'll take some more campaign wind in the sails.

Elsewhere, Melissa McCarthy nabbed yet another Best Supporting Actress prize for "Bridesmaids," and I just don't get it. But congratulations to her. It's a real coming out this year and maybe -- given how rocky the category is -- she can manage an Oscar nomination when all is said and done. I'm sure Zach Galifianakis is wondering if he was chopped liver two years ago.

Check out the full list of winners from Vegas below. (And always bet on black.)

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<p>Jeremy and Sandy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Jeremy and Sandy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Jeremy & Sandy talk 'The Amazing Race'

The season's second place team isn't down in The Dump
Who would have guessed that Atlanta would have two landmarks known as "The Dump"?
The first version of The Dump is the former residence of Margaret Mitchell, where she wrote "Gone with the Wind."
The second version of The Dump is a really big furniture warehouse.
Geographically, the two Dumps are separated by only a few miles, but for Jeremy Cline and Sandy Draghi, the distance can be measured monetarily as the difference between the million dollar "Amazing Race" first prize and whatever the show awards for second. 
It wasn't Jeremy & Sandy's fault, per se. The dating couple had a solid lead on the last leg of "The Amazing Race" and they simply asked a couple Atlanta natives to help them find The Dump. The helpful strangers sounded certain and their directions were helpful in getting the Racers to the furniture store. Unfortunately, that wasn't the right Dump. 
That marked a disappointing end for a team that started the Race prone to bickering, but grew stronger and more consistent as the Race progressed.
In their "Amazing Race" exit interview, Jeremy & Sandy discuss Dumps, Snowboarders and inadvertently helping the other two Finalists in Panama City.
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