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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

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'We Are Charlie Chaplin'

Wire-walking, shoe-making, costume-wearing and a shocking conclusion
Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron" is set in a 2081 in which all Americans have been mandated equal by virtue of a series of Constitutional amendments. The truly exceptional are equipped with handicaps, while the mediocre are sometimes elevated to positions far above their natural abilities, all in the name of this equality.
The world of "Harrison Bergeron" has nothing to do with the world of CBS' "The Amazing Race" and the results of Sunday (December 4) night's "Amazing Race" really weren't analogous to anything in "Harrison Bergeron." 
And yet, "Harrison Bergeron" came to my mind immediately as Sunday's "Amazing Race" episode ended and I looked at the last line of my notes, which read "Sometimes it sucks to be better than everybody else." 
That was my takeaway from Sunday's episode, though clearly there are better takeaways like, "You can only get away with being careless and not-so-bright for so long on a Race that occasionally rewards attention-to-detail," but that theme was ultimately less relevant than the first.
Sunday's episode was about the triumph of entirely accidental teamwork and the results came through a circumstance I'm pretty sure we've never seen before on "The Amazing Race."
Click through for a discussion of Sunday's episode...
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<p>Best Actress winner Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan in &quot;Tyrannosaur,&quot; which took top honors at the BIFA Awards.</p>

Best Actress winner Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan in "Tyrannosaur," which took top honors at the BIFA Awards.

Credit: Strand Releasing

'Tyrannosaur' wins top prize as British Independent Film Awards spread the love

Acting awards for Michael Fassbender, Olivia Colman and Vanessa Redgrave

It may be deemed the British film most likely to register at the Oscars and BAFTAs, but UK box-office sleeper "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" had to take a back seat to the little guys at tonight's British Independent Film Awards in London. Instead, it was Paddy Considine's hard-hitting directorial debut "Tyrannosaur" that surprisingly emerged as the night's big winner, taking three awards including Best British Independent Film.

Considine's debut is a vastly impressive and assured one, striking its emotional notes hard and serving as a vehicle for some startling performances -- the most haunting of which, Olivia Colman's grievously abused middle-class samaritan, was a richly deserving winner of the Best Actress award. (Tilda Swinton's run of luck this week, which saw her triumph at the National Board of Review and the European Film Awards, came to an end here.)

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<p>Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed show their tree strength in a scene from &quot;The Twilight Saga:&nbsp;Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1.&quot;</p>

Kellan Lutz and Nikki Reed show their tree strength in a scene from "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Box Office: 'Breaking Dawn' fights off the 'Muppets' to stay no. 1

'Shame' has a spectacular limited debut

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1" pulled off a rare feat this year retaining the top spot at the box office for a third straight weekend.  With $16.9 million and $247.5 million to date domestic and over $550 million worldwide, the fourth installment of Stephenie Meyers' vampire saga has given Summit Entertainment an early if not expected Christmas present.  The picture also is a rare three-weekend topper this calendar year joining "The Help" (four weekends) and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (three) in that regard.

Before Friday many industry observers thought Disney's "The Muppets" could use strong word of mouth to overtake "Breaking Dawn" for the top spot.  Not only did that not occur, the Jason Segel passion project didn't even come close with just another $11.2 million and a troubling 62% drop. With just $56.4 million so far its unlikely the "Muppets" will hit the $100 million mark.

"Hugo," which upped its theater count to 1,840 locations this weekend, grossed $7.6 million.  The National Board of Review winner for best picture pulled has now grossed $25.1 million to date. Paramount Pictures and GK Films will continue to hope awards season recognition can fuel Martin Scorsese's latest critical wonder.

Another film showing true word of mouth appears to be "Arthur Christmas."  The Sony Animation and Aardman collaboration dropped only 39% for another $7.5 million and $25.2 million so far.  The Santa Claus themed animated comedy will still need international to make up most of its $100 million plus budget, but the hold is certainly a nice silver lining for the filmmakers.

Rounding out the top five was "Happy Feet Two" with $6 million and $51.7 million to date. Warner Bros. can take solace that "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" looks like it will have a monster opening in two weeks.

"Shame" debuted in 10 theaters with a spectacular $361,181 or $36,118 per screen.  It's even more impressive when taking the film's NC-17 rating into account.  Fox Searchlight will hope that continued critical acclaim and awards season attention fuels interest in Steve McQueen's breakout.

Another impressive limited player is "The Artist."  After winning the NYFCC award for best picture, The Weinstein Company release didn't drop after adding 2 screens for another $205,580 and a $34,263 per screen. 

"The Descendants" continued its strong limited run as well jumping to 574 theaters and another $5.2 million.  Searchlight's premier best picture player has now grossed an impressive $18 million to date.

Next weekend's wide releases include "New Year's Eve" and "The Sitter."

Box office actuals are released on Monday.

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<p>&quot;Saturday Night Live&quot; host Steve Buscemi</p>
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"Saturday Night Live" host Steve Buscemi

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Steve Buscemi and The Black Keys

Could the 'Boardwalk Empire' bring the 'SNL' funny?
After a one-week hiatus, “Saturday Night Live” is back for the first of three consecutive episodes to end 2011. Kicking things off tonight: Steve Buscemi and The Black Keys. Given Buscemi’s cinematic track record, I wonder if Adam Sandler might pop by tonight. After all, Buscemi seems to appear in nearly every Sandler big-screen jam. Will Sandler appear tonight? Unlikely, but color me curious all the same. Also, color me curious if “SNL” will attempt any “Boardwalk Empire”-related sketches tonight. Bill Hader as Richard Harrow? Sign me up for THAT, please.
Guess we’ll have to break down each sketch as they air to find out. Onto the recap!
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Credit: AP Photo/Big Beat/Atlantic, Bruno Postigo

Music Power Rankings: Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Skrillex and Pauly D make the list

We've got Tim and Tricky too

1) Michael Buble: Its only a few days into December, but he’s already looking like the winner of the Holiday sales derby. “Christmas” tops the Billboard 200 by the slimmest margin over Nickelback and it looks like it is there to stay until after Santa returns to the North Pole. Susan Boyle has just scratched him off her Christmas present list.

2) Skrillex: People are still saying “Who?” But at least now it’s following by “Who is that dude who got five Grammy nominations?” #thatsmrskrillextoyou

3) Bon Iver: Justin Vernon-led outfit surprisingly grabs song, record and best new artist nominations from the Grammys. I still have no idea what “Holocene” means.

4) Kanye West: He tops all Grammy nominees with seven nods, though we still believe he was robbed when it comes to no album of the year nomination and we’re pretty sure he does too.

5) Britney Spears: She turned 30 Dec. 2. Given that there were some plenty dark days there over the last few years where reaching that milestone was in no way guaranteed, we tip our hat to the pop princess.

6) Nicki Minaj: As if she weren’t plastic enough, the “Super Bass” artist gets her own Barbie Doll from Mattel. Of course, she refers to her fans as her Barbz and/or Barbies, but have the fine folks at Mattel actually listened her lyrics? They’re enough to make Ken blush. Then again, it’s all for charity, so no complaints here.

7) Tim McGraw: A judge rules in the country superstar’s effort to finally free himself from his contract with Curb Records. Curb’s response? They immediately issue a new single from McGraw....How soon before we see an eighth compilation of McGraw’s music from the label?

8) Tricky Stewart: Rumor has it that Epic Records is getting ready to name the uber-producer head of A&R. Will that take him off the market for any non-Epic act like Dr. Luke’s deal with Sony.

9) Elvis Costello: We don’t actually agree with his recommending that fans “steal” his forthcoming boxed set, but we love the fact that he’s steering them toward buying the new Louis Armstrong box set. Satchmo’s heirs say thanks.

10) Pauly D: The “Jersey Shore” dude signs a deal with 50 Cent’s G-Note and has toured with Britney Spears.  There may be a luckier SOB on the face of the earth, but I don’t know who it is...


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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

Reality TV Roundup: Some 'Real Housewives' get nasty, 'Survivor' ousts a fave and it's a double X on 'The X Factor'

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. 

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<p>Tilda Swinton in &quot;We Need To Talk About Kevin.&quot;</p>

Tilda Swinton in "We Need To Talk About Kevin."

Credit: Oscillscope Films

Tilda Swinton and 'Melancholia' get nice boost from European Film Awards

Colin Firth wins best actor for 'The King's Speech'

The 24th Annual European Film Awards were announced during a ceremony in Berlin Saturday night and Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia" dominated the show winning three awards including European Film (best film), European Cinematographer (Manuel Alberto Claro) and European Production Designer (Jette Lehmann).

Unlike the BAFTAs which feature a cross section of Academy and U.S. guild members, the European Film Awards have little connection or relevance to the U.S. awards season.  2,400 members vote on the awards and the last three European Film Award winners included "The Ghost Writer," "The White Ribbon" and "Gmorrah."  The latter wasn't even nominated for foreign language film and "White Ribbon" lost that category.  Polanski's excellent "Ghost Writer " was completely overlooked by the Academy.  The organization also has a strange calendar year which found "The King's Speech" eligible for this year's slate of awards.  That lead to Colin Firth winning the European Actor award this year for the flick.

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<p>B&eacute;r&eacute;nice Bejo in &quot;The Artist&quot;</p>

Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist' leads the way with 8 D.C. critics nods

'The Descendants,' 'Drive' and 'Hugo' also have a good showing

Not far behind the New York film critics' vote is the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association, which today made a firm declaration for Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist." The film (which won the NYFCC prize) led the field with eight nominations.

There wasn't much wealth-spreading or unique thinking going on. The group tried to shake things up by tipping its hat to Tom McCarthy's "Win Win" in the Best Film category, but they couldn't be bothered to chalk it up anywhere else other than the Best Original Screenplay category.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" screened just in time for the vote, but like with the other early birds this year, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" was not shown. The former did get a score nomination; the double CD soundtrack was also mailed out to voting bodies earlier this week.

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<p>&quot;Nostalgia for the Light&quot;&nbsp;won top honors from the International Documentary&nbsp;Association, and is a good bet for Cinema Eye Honors, but isn't on the Academy shortlist.</p>

"Nostalgia for the Light" won top honors from the International Documentary Association, and is a good bet for Cinema Eye Honors, but isn't on the Academy shortlist.

Credit: Icarus Films

International Documentary Association picks doc winners, PGA shortlists nominees

A big weekend on the non-fiction awards circuit

Two weeks after the Academy advanced 15 films in the race for Best Documentary Feature, the non-fiction awards circuit is showing further signs of life.

Last night, the International Documentary Association held its annual awards gala. None of the nominees happened to be on the AMPAS shortlist, but "Nostalgia for Light" came out on top, besting "Better This Workd" (one of the surprise Academy omissions), "How to Die in Oregon," "The Redemption of General Butt Naked" and "The Tiniest Place." One of last year's Best Documentary Short Oscar nominees, "Poster Girl" -- a fantastic portrait of a female Iraq veteran grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder -- managed to win the short film prize (beating out fellow Oscar nominee "The Warriors of Qiugang" in the process).

Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of America (PGA) was busy tapping its list of documentary nominees for the year. Those had a little more in common with the Academy shortlist, though not much.

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<p>Daniel Craig at the press conference announcing the new James Bond film's title, &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig at the press conference announcing the new James Bond film's title, "Skyfall."

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Q&A: John Logan's busy year of 'Rango,' 'Coriolanus,' 'Hugo' and James Bond

Plus: The freedom of a Mendes 007 movie and reuniting with Ralph Fiennes

You've heard it time and time again this season like a constant drumbeat banging in your ear: "It's the year of Michael Fassbender." Or, "It's the year of Jessica Chastain."  Or, even "It's the year of Melissa McCarthy."  Well, how about the year of John Logan?  

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<p>Whitney Duncan of &quot;Survivor: South Pacific&quot;</p>
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Whitney Duncan of "Survivor: South Pacific"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Whitney Duncan and Dawn Meehan talk 'Survivor: South Pacific'

More discussion of Cochran's flip and Coach's Cult
Another week, another "Survivor: South Pacific" exit interview with the tattered remnants of the formerly strong Savaii tribe.
As was the case with Jim & Keith two weeks ago, my latest exit interview is a twofer of evicted castaways who left the game grumbling about John Cochran and his apparently unsuccessful defection into the temporary warmth of Coach's Cult.
In this interview we've got frequently insecure Mormon college professor Dawn Meehan and not-especially-bashful country crooner Whitney Duncan, who had some of the harshest (most pixelated) words for Cochran after his flip-flop.
What do the two newest Jury members have to say about Cochran, Coach and Ozzy?
Click through for the full Q&A.
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<p>&nbsp;The cover of Michael Buble's new album</p>
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 The cover of Michael Buble's new album

Billboard 200 chart preview: Buble and Adele crack open the bubbly

How do the Grammy nominations affect sales?

Michael Buble is having a great Christmas. After topping the Billboard 200 this week with the slimmest of margins over Nickelback with his holiday album, “Christmas,” it looks like the crooner is on top to stay through the holidays.

Buble is on track to sell around 275,000 copies of his holiday sparkler next week, giving him a 2-to-1 lead over his next competitor, Adele’s “21,” which likely soars five spots back to No. 2 following her six Grammy nominations.

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