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<p>At least something new won a Best Picture prize.&nbsp;Congratulations to Alexander Payne's &quot;The Descendants.&quot;</p>

At least something new won a Best Picture prize. Congratulations to Alexander Payne's "The Descendants."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'The Descendants,' Terrence Malick win with LA film critics

Fassbender takes Best Actor, Best Actress brings another perennial surprise

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has finished its annual voting on this year's awards-worthy efforts. Firstly, though, a quick note of huzzah to them for sticking with this week rather than leaping to go first ahead of the New York Film Critics Circle's nonsensical date. And kudos to the LAFCA member (who shall remain nameless) who proposed moving the date to January when that announcement was made.

And the awards themselves represent a classy, unique perspective on the race, to say the least. Starting with an inspired choice for Best Music/Score and continuing with nice tops of the hat in the screenplay and director categories, it was just a refreshing vote to watch unfold.

However, when the dust settled on the Best Picture category, it was a bit anti-climactic, with "The Descendants" taking the honor amid all that unique thinking. Ah well, it's a distinguished set regardless. Check out the full list of winners with my real-time commentary scattered throughout below.

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<p>Matt&nbsp;Damon, Anna Paquin and Kenneth&nbsp;Lonergan on the set of &quot;Margaret&quot;</p>

Matt Damon, Anna Paquin and Kenneth Lonergan on the set of "Margaret"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Boston Society of Film Critics issues press release expressing regret over 'Margaret' screening procedures

Organization calls for screeners to be made available to AMPAS

This morning the Boston Society of Film Critics announced its list of award winners, and it was clear Kenneth Lonergan's "Margaret" was close in a number of areas. Though whoever was controlling the organization's Twitter feed made a note about how few of them were able to see the film, the group has issued the following via its official website:

"The Boston Society of Film Critics expresses its regret that Fox Searchlight refused to distribute screeners of the film 'Margaret' and scheduled only a last-minute screening after numerous requests. The film, which received an extremely limited release, was a favorite of many BSFC members and could have won several awards had it been made available for viewing within a reasonable time frame. Despite this disadvantage, 'Margaret' was a runner-up in three of the BSFC’s award categories. We encourage Fox Searchlight to not compound this oversight and to make screeners available to the voting body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and so give the film a fair chance in the upcoming awards competition."

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<p>Michael Shannon's win for Best Actor in &quot;Take Shelter&quot;&nbsp;was a high note.</p>

Michael Shannon's win for Best Actor in "Take Shelter" was a high note.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

'The Artist' wins Best Pic from NY online critics, 'Bridesmaids' clearly a favorite

Top acting honors went to Michael Shannon and Meryl Streep

The New York Film Critics Online have announced their list of awards winners today as well, and the big winner? Yeah, "The Artist." But more unique were some scattered honors for "Bridesmaids" (clearly a favorite among the bunch, taking Best Supporting Actress and Best Ensemble) and "Take Shelter" (which brought Michael Shannon a much-deserved Best Actor prize).

It was nice to see some singular thinking in the debut director field, where Joe Cornish won for "Attack the Block." Even if I didn't like the film (which I didn't, really), it's an outside-the-box pick and that's commendable this time of year.

Check out the full list of winners below with my real-time commentary scattered throughout. With the Boston critics, the NYFCO and the AFI top 10 list out of the way, we have one more group to finish out the day: the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

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"Bridesmaids" made the cut, just like "The Hangover" two years ago.
"Bridesmaids" made the cut, just like "The Hangover" two years ago.
Credit: Universal Pictures

'Bridesmaids,' 'The Help' among films cited for AFI's 2011 top 10 list

'The Artist' and 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' among those not eligible

The American Film Institute has issued its top 10 films of the year, and as always, ineligibilities (only US productions can make the cut) made it an easy field for dubious contenders to slide in.

I'm still embargoed on "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," despite the fact that it's been reviewed and has popped up in a few year-end superlative lists, but it's on there. It shouldn't be, but it is. So is "Bridesmaids," which is just odd.

I don't know, what can you say about this list at this point? Year after year it leads the charge of dubious studio product and token indies, and rarely manages to cite the best from either field. How do you not stand up for "Beginners" or something? Anyway, it's just another notch in the 2011 awards season belt, so check out the full list of films below and feel free to move on to the next thing.

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"The Artist" picks up yet another critics prize for Best Picture. Are we seeing a victory march to Oscar?
"The Artist" picks up yet another critics prize for Best Picture. Are we seeing a victory march to Oscar?
Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist,' Scorsese, Pitt and Williams win top honors from Boston critics

'Margaret' was so close it hurts

The Boston Society of Film Critics dished out its annual list of kudos this morning amid a flurry of other groups doing the same. Last year they stood out somewhat by handing Juliette Lewis their Best Supporting Actress prize for "Conviction," and this year, they went their own way in a couple of areas, which was nice to see.

Throughout the voting, it was clear that "Margaret" was a favorite film among the crowd. Unfortunately it could only manage a few runner-up citations and never won a prize, but it's so wonderful to know that it was so seriously considered.

The big winner of the day was "The Artist," which won the Best Picture prize despite "Hugo" and "Margaret" looking like obvious favorites throughout the vote. On the latter, whoever was updating the BSFC's Twitter account wrote: "It's worth noting that many of us couldn't see MARGARET because the studio did not issue screeners and there was only 1 screening." If only Fox Searchlight had thrown some level of interest behind this film, it could have been a player. Maybe someone will stick up for it still. We'll see.

Check out the full list of winners with my real-time commentary below.

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<p>Gary Oldman (left)&nbsp;and John&nbsp;Hurt in &quot;Tinker, Tailor,&nbsp;Soldier, Spy&quot;</p>

Gary Oldman (left) and John Hurt in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Credit: Focus Features

Tell us what you thought of 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy'

The film hits theaters this weekend

I meant to have this post up on Friday, but Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" opened on Friday and it's time to get reactions. I'd say it's been thoroughly covered around these parts. Guy was a fan at Venice fest. I dug it as well. We also spoke to Gary Oldman and listed his best performances to date. But now it's time to hear what you have to say. If you get around to the film this weekend, come on back here and give us your perspective.

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<p>Robyn, Katy Perry and Stefon of &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>
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Robyn, Katy Perry and Stefon of "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Katy Perry and Robyn

A strong Digital Short, some cameos and Stefon boost Katy Perry's episode
I have to confess my excitement about the possibilities inherent with Katy Perry hosting “Saturday Night Live” tonight. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a fan of her musical output, but she’s certainly shown ample willingness to spoof herself in the past. Her appearance on last year’s “Bronx Beat” sketch was also quite strong, and not just because of her choice of low-cut Elmo top, either. Can she sustain a full show with such energy and aplomb? It’s hard to say. I don’t think anyone’s expected Justin Timberlake levels of success tonight, but I wouldn’t be the least surprised if this turns into a highlight of the 2011 Fall season.
Which pretty much means I probably just doomed the show to being a 90-minute rendition of “The Manuel Ortiz Show,” interspersed between musical performances by Robyn. I sincerely apologize in advance. Onto the recap!
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<p>I am almost positive that 'Jack And Jill' will not squeak on my list of the Ten Best Films Of 2011, but there are still three whole days for me to get that crippling head injury, so keep hope alive.</p>

I am almost positive that 'Jack And Jill' will not squeak on my list of the Ten Best Films Of 2011, but there are still three whole days for me to get that crippling head injury, so keep hope alive.

Credit: Sony Pictures

The end of the year is almost here, and the HitFix lists are coming soon

A look back at everything we saw as we start to sort things out

The year is over.  For me, anyway.

On Tuesday, I'm recording the voice-over for my Top Ten Films Of The Year video, which Alex Dorn is already working to coordinate, part of the massive year-end onslaught of stuff you're about to get from the rest of Team HitFix.  It's an exciting time of year for us because we're sort of mainlining films in one last crazy buffet of a self-programmed film festival for about ten or twelve straight days.

And so as I sit down to write the list this weekend, I'm looking at the list of qualifying films, also known as "All the new films I saw in 2011."  Which is, according to my final count, 211 films.  Not the most I've ever seen in a year, and not the least either.  It's a good solid average number.

I'm always amused by how seriously people take "the rules" when people are making lists at the end of the year.  All I can tell you is that my film year is not the same as Greg Ellwood's film year which is not the same as Kris Tapley's film year or Guy Lodge's or Dan Fienberg's or Alan Sepinwall's, just as my TV year is probably radically different than theirs, or my gaming year, or my year in books.  Media becomes more and more of a personalized diet for people each year, because there's so much of it, and because the ways we ingest it are so different.  Even if you attend the same film festival as someone else, there's no guarantee you'll end up seeing the same things. 

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Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

Music Power Rankings: Adele and Michael Buble top Madonna and Jay-Z

The Black Keys make the list for the first time

1) Adele: Billboard names her its 2011 artist of the year. With the widespread success she’s had, we wouldn’t be surprised if she showed up on the cover of “Guns & Ammo.”

2) Black Keys: As the duo continues to build, look for “El Camino” to debut at No. 2 on next week’s Billboard 200 with sales of close 200,000. That’s up from 73,000 for the opening frame for 2010’s “Brothers.” Withholding music from Spotify is the new black.

3) Michael Buble
: The Canadian crooner is the holiday season’s It Boy, as his “Christmas” collection looks to be this year’s preferred stocking stuffer.

4) Madonna: Her rumored Super Bowl half-time appearance gets confirmed. Time for us all to get into the groove.

[More after the jump...]

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"The X Factor"

 "The X Factor"

Credit: Fox

Reality TV Roundup: 'Survivor' tribe fractures, a 'Real' housewife goes nuts and 'X Factor' dissolves in tears

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

 Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch "The X Factor," "Survivor," "Top Chef," "Project Accessory" or "America's Next Top Model," the latest elimination for each show is revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 






Edna is sent to Redemption Island, and it's the end of Upolu tribe unity. 


Cochran tells HitFix he wasn't bullied. Condescended to, yes, but not bullied. 


Jeff Probst marries a Russell. No, not that Russell. 




The snowboarders' luck runs out, and they are eliminated


Part of the first parent-child team on the show has died. She would have celebrated her 35th wedding anniversary next month, too. 

Andy and Tommy put a happy face on being ousted during this HitFix interview. 




Another hellish elimination, and Rachel is sent home, sobbing. 


A look at the top five performances -- and who should have been sent home (not Rachel). 


Rachel doesn't blame Nicole for her elimination, but everyone else does. 


Steve Jones is only a weird/bad announcer because of his earpiece. No, really. 




We get the list of lovely ladies who will attempt to hook up with Ben. 


The show's producers sue Reality Steve for leaking information. Those damn bloggers!




How hard is it to cook a steak? Pretty hard, and Whitney is told to pack her knives and go. 



Kenneth Cole foolishly agrees to sell the winner's design as part of his Holiday 2011 collection, while Aidan's ugly clutch, ring and cuff get him sent packing




There's a mystery surrounding Angeala, and Lisa walks away with the title of America's Next Top Model.  


Lisa says she's gotten therapy, and talks about winning. She's happy about it, FYI. 


The mystery surrounding Angeala may be that she won -- and was then disqualified for yakking about it. 






Taylor goes bat crap crazy and Camille's wacko friend Dedra doesn't help matters at poor Brandi's pathetic Malibu beach party. 


Is anyone going to read Taylor's sad sack memoir? There seems to be a consensus among commenters...




NeNe may or may not have cheated on her husband with Charles. Her behavior at Cynthia and Peter's wine bar does nothing to dispel suspicion.




Well, it looks like they won't have to change the title of "19 Kids and Counting" after all. Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage. 


Have you been watching "La La's Full Court Life"? Someone has, because VH1 renewed it


The "Mythbusters" fired a cannonball through a house. The stars feel really bad about it. 


Lowe's pulls advertising from "All-American Muslim" because the Florida Family Association whined about something. 


Another sign the end of the world is nigh: E! has four more Kardashians-centric TV shows planned. 


Conservative Republicans like reality TV more than liberals do. 



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<p>Could this be the end of Batman?&nbsp; Warner Bros certainly wants you to think so with their new teaser poster for 'The Dark Knight Rises'</p>

Could this be the end of Batman?  Warner Bros certainly wants you to think so with their new teaser poster for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Credit: Warner Bros

New 'Dark Knight Rises' teaser poster hints at powerful series ending

Could Nolan be serious about letting Bane break the Batman?

I was very careful when I wrote about the "Dark Knight Rises" footage we saw the other day not to give away certain images or beats from the seven-minute prologue that will be available on a limited number of IMAX screens when "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" opens on December 16.

But I feel like with the release of the new teaser poster for "The Dark Knight Rises," I don't have to be quite as careful, because the goosebumps-inducing ending of the preview reel is the same basic idea as the remarkable new teaser poster for the film that Warner Bros. just released.

Of all things, they used Twitter to debut this power, sending out a link mid-afternoon on Saturday, and right away, I expect that this poster is going to spark a spirited round of fan debates and speculation about what we're going to see when this final film in Nolan's trilogy arrives in theaters this summer.

Bane, played in the new film by Tom Hardy, is notable in his original comics incarnation as the man who quite literally broke Batman.  I'm starting to get the idea that Nolan and his collaborators like the idea of giving Batman a physical challenge in this film that he's not ready to handle, and I'm starting to wonder if Nolan is indeed perverse enough to kill Batman in this film.  After all, he's done.  It's time to wrap things up, and there are very few ways that are more final to end a series than killing your main character.

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<p>John Cochran of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
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John Cochran of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: John Cochran talks 'Survivor: South Pacific'

The season's most discussed castaway talks bullying, Big Moves and Jeff Probst
Given that he was doing exit interviews with reporters on Thursday, we can probably say this with empirical certainty: John Cochran's Big Move on "Survivor: South Pacific" didn't work.
That doesn't mean it wasn't a good (or at least "valid") idea. It just means it didn't work, at least not for the man who asked Jeff Probst to call him "Cochran."
Switching his allegiance from the Savaii tribe to Upolu after the "Survivor" Merge, a move that completely changed the game's balance of power, didn't win Cochran the million dollars or get him to the Final Three or even help the self-described superfan outlast a single member of Coach's Cult.
No, the 24-year-old law student didn't win the million dollars, but he was certainly the most talked-about new player of the "Survivor: South Pacific" season.
In his "Survivor" exit interview, Cochran discusses bullying, mythical Final Three plans, Jeff Probst's respect and, of course, his Big Move.
Click through...
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