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<p>Any three-sided coins lying around?</p>

Any three-sided coins lying around?

Credit: Sony Pictures/Warner Bros./Fox Searchlight

Off the Carpet: The closest Best Picture Oscar race ever?

'American Hustle,' 'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' are neck-and-neck

It's wonderful when an exemplary year of filmmaking yields an awards season as unpredictable and wide open as this one is. "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" won Globes. They each led guild nominations. "Gravity" and "Hustle" led Oscar nominations, but "12 Years" wasn't far behind. "Gravity" and "12 Years" tied for the PGA Award, but "Hustle" won the SAG ensemble award. And each film was given a Best Picture prize of some sort at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards. (Some of them dubious but that was clearly the point of the BFCA adding those categories: the opportunity to spread wealth.)

Do you know how difficult it is to tie on a preferential ballot? Do you know how even the distribution of votes has to be? It's mind-boggling that that happened. I thought 2000 was a tight year. Three different films won the top guild honors. A Best Picture/Best Director split happened at the Oscars. But three films this evenly dispersed? Call it. This is the most competitive Oscar season I've ever covered.

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'The Following' returns to huge ratings thanks to 49ers-Seahawks lead-in

"The Following" returns to huge ratings thanks to 49ers-Seahawks lead-in

Kevin Bacon's drama was up 63% from the Season 1 finale.

Gov. Christie could not bring himself to watch Jimmy Fallon & Bruce Springsteen mock him
Chris Christie, who idolizes Springsteen, was told by his son that the parody was funny, according to the NY Times.

Is Adam Scott paying tribute to "Perfect Strangers"?

Looks like Larry and Balki are the subjects of the final "Greatest Event in Television History." PLUS: Or is it "Bosom Buddies"?

Another "Seinfeld" reunion: Tim Whatley and Elaine

Bryan Cranston posed for a picture with Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the SAG Awards.

Simon Helberg is becoming a dad again

"The Big Bang Theory" star, who welcomed a daughter two years ago, is expecting another child with his wife.

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<p>Kevin Bacon in &quot;The Following.&quot;</p>

Kevin Bacon in "The Following."

Credit: FOX

TV Ratings: NFC Championship Game boosts 'The Following' to biggest numbers ever

Richard Sherman and Kevin Bacon couldn't be stopped on Sunday night

Fast National ratings for Sunday, January 19, 2014.

Though any ratings related to live sporting events are subject to change, preliminary numbers from Sunday night have the combination of the NFC Championship Game between the Seahawks and 49ers and "The Following" season 2 premiere gave FOX its highest-rated night in two years (since the Giants-49ers NFC Championship Game), and lifted "The Following" season 2 premiere to that show's best numbers ever.

For the night, preliminary numbers say that FOX averaged 44.7 million viewers and a 15.4 rating among adults 18-49. Everyone else was irrelevant, with CBS, NBC and ABC all averaging only a 0.9 demo ratings, differentiated by small amounts among total viewers (5.7 million for CBS, 4.2 for ABC, 3.5 for FOX).

7 p.m. -- Niners-Seahawks was already under way, and already destroying everything in its path. For the hour, it averaged a 15.7 in the demo and 46.4 million viewers. It was followed by CBS' "60 Minutes" (1.3, 7.8 million viewers), an "America's Funniest Home Videos" repeat on ABC (0.8, 4.4 million), and "Dateline NBC" (0.8, 4.25 million).

8 p.m. -- More football annihilation, with the game pulling a 15.3 in the demo and 44.5 million viewers, followed by "The Bachelor Love Stories" special on ABC (0.9, 3.9 million), a "Good Wife" repeat on CBS (0.7, 4.4 million) and NBC's telecast of the movie "Bridesmaids" (0.7, 2.8 million).

9 p.m. -- Third verse, same as the first two: football at a 15.1 demo rating and 43.1 million viewers, followed by ABC's "Revenge" (1.3, 5.3 million), a "Mentalist" repeat on CBS (0.7, 4.4 million) and more "Bridesmaids" (0.8, 2.9 million).

10 p.m. -- The game ended at 9:54 p.m., and postgame coverage ran until 10:18. So the numbers for this hour will be fuzzy, but "The Following" itself drew a 4.4 demo rating and 11.2 million viewers, followed by more "Bridesmaids" (1.2, 4 million), a "Criminal Minds" repeat (1.0, 6.1 million), and what was almost certainly the series finale of "Betrayal" (0.7, 3.4 million).

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.
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<p>Ellar Coltrane in &quot;Boyhood.&quot;</p>

Ellar Coltrane in "Boyhood."

Credit: IFC Films

Review: Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood' is an extraordinary chronicle of a life in progress

12 years, one boy, a total one-off

PARK CITY - The unexamined life, to tinker brashly with the words of Socrates, is not worth filming. That, at least, appears to be the key tenet behind much of Richard Linklater's work, in which ordinary lives are put under the most exacting of microscopes, and granted the level of scrutiny and detail usually reserved for the extraordinary. After the 18-year relationship study of the "Before" trilogy – currently a trilogy, at any rate – it seemed Linklater could hardly push his interest in magnified realism and time-lapse chronology any further. Turns out he can, and "Boyhood" is the astonishing result. 

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Richard Madden

 Richard Madden

Credit: Discovery Channel

Interview: Richard Madden talks 'Klondike,' Prince Charming

The 'Game of Thrones' star says one scene gave him 'nightmares'

Watching the expansive three-part miniseries "Klondike," Discovery's Channel's first scripted project (starting Mon. Jan. 20 at 9:00 p.m.) will leave you cold. Literally. Thanks to cinematic imagery, storylines that highlight the high stakes (and fleeting rewards) of the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, and three nights of avalanches, typhus and murder (yup, it's all there -- the miniseries is based on Charlotte Gray's 2011 book "Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike"), you'll not only feel the cold, the intensely dangerous plight of these adventurers will send a chill through your veins. 

Bill Haskell is our intrepid main character, and his journey from naive optimist to hardened warrior is made all the more real by "Game of Thrones" star Richard Madden, who knows a little something about wearing heavy, muddy costumes and facing deadly odds. Madden may finally get to ditch the dirt for his next role as Prince Charming in "Cinderella," but the Scottish actor approaches every role with the same enthusiasm -- even when particularly dangerous scenes like one he faced on "Klondike" give him "nightmares." Shortly after binge-watching "Klondike," I spoke to Madden over the phone about rolling in the mud, speaking "American" for three months straight, and why he loves having homework. 

In the movie, your character develops a wonderful friendship with Meeker (Tim Blake Nelson). 

That's what's so nice, really, is you don't expect this relationship to come together at all, actually, then these two men come together and find a real, proper and true friendship, which is wonderful, really.

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<p>In &quot;Klondike,&quot;&nbsp;Richard Madden from &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;&nbsp;goes prospecting.</p>

In "Klondike," Richard Madden from "Game of Thrones" goes prospecting.

Credit: Discovery

Review: Discovery's 'Klondike' a familiar but exciting adventure

Richard Madden from 'Game of Thrones' heads to the Yukon to seek his fortune

"Klondike," Discovery's first scripted miniseries, traffics in a lot of cliches and hoaky dialogue and takes a few strange detours in dramatizing the Yukon gold rush of the late 19th Century. But it also nails by far the most important part of the story: the unforgiving frozen terrain that made this particular gold rush as much a battle for survival as a hunt for fortune.

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<p>Aubrey, you have something on your face.</p>

Aubrey, you have something on your face.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: Aubrey Plaza stretches in gory horror-comedy 'Life After Beth'

And Dane DeHaan's funny... who knew?

PARK CITY - Well, at least now I know why smooth jazz exists.

It's uncommon to see more than one good horror-comedy in a year, much less two within 24 hours, but "Life After Beth" proved to be a fascinating follow-up to "Cooties," both films ostensibly building off of the current fascination with zombies in pop culture, but each approaching the subject in totally different ways.

"Cooties" really does want to scare you and freak you out, and the humor is mainly from watching those particular characters handle an otherwise not particularly funny situation. "Life After Beth," on the other hand, is a comedy first and foremost, and it showcases a great cast, including two leads who both seem to be stretching here in ways that are exciting to see.

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<p>&quot;Web Junkie&quot;</p>

"Web Junkie"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'Web Junkie' explores Internet addiction in China

Since we're all probably web junkies, this doc is pretty universal
Everybody has their Sundance Film Festival goals, whether it's to see all of the eventual Jury winners or to see all of the eventual Oscar nominees or just to make sure that you've never missed a single cinematic second of Brit Marling or Elizabeth Olsen.
This year, I have a much more restrained goal: I just want to complete the documentary trifecta I'm going to call The Oy Vey The Internet Is Freaky Trilogy.
It's a slate that includes the open access tragedy "The Internet's Own Boy," the South Korean online gaming horror story "Love Child" and the Chinese cautionary tale "Web Junkie." It's a subject matter that isn't new to Sundance, what with "Wikileaks" and "Google and the World Brain" premiering here just last year, but when the original 2014 Festival schedule was first announced, it was the first trend I was going to isolate as being on the verge of a Park City explosion.
The first of the three documentaries on my docket is Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia's internationally diverse China-set, Israeli-American co-production playing here in the World Documentary Competition.
At a only-slightly-too-brisk 75 minutes, "Web Junkie" is, on its surface, a harrowing look at a seemingly ordinary behavior taken to extremes and the stifling culture going to equal extremes to combat it. Looking very close below the surface, though, "Web Junkie" isn't such a foreign tale at all. It's about a generational clash that repeats itself over and over across the decades and also across international boundaries. 
The narrative transition from alien to universal is what will likely help "Web Junkie" find an audience, but at times I felt it went too much for relatability at the expense of some of the things that make the story unique. 
More after the break...
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<p>The producers of &quot;Gravity&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot; at the 25th annual Producers Guild of American&nbsp;(PGA)&nbsp;Awards</p>

The producers of "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" at the 25th annual Producers Guild of American (PGA) Awards

Credit: AP Photo

'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' tie at the 2014 PGA Awards

'Frozen' and 'We Steal Secrets' take honors for animation and documentaries

Heading into today's Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards announcement, it was "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" that appeared to have the momentum. The former had landed some major media prizes in the form of Golden Globe and Critics' Choice wins, while the latter added a Screen Actors Guild ensemble award to its own Golden Globe prize last night. But, well, Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" had a little something to say about all of that. And the season itself had something to say about calling this thing just yet, as the final award of the night ended up split down the middle in a tie between Cuarón's opus and Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave."

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Atlanta': Would Kenya be a good mom?

Plus, Kandi deflates an argument in the best way possible

Didn't you love the resounding silence that met Kenya's announcement she was going to have a baby? Somehow? It seems her aunts Lisa and Lori know Kenya about as well as we do, and I bet they're thinking they're going to have to call Child Protective Services if, in fact, Kenya does manage to get herself knocked up with some batch of mystery sperm as yet to be determined.

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<p>Frankie J. Alvarez, Jonathan Groff and Murray Bartlett in HBO's &quot;Looking.&quot;</p>

Frankie J. Alvarez, Jonathan Groff and Murray Bartlett in HBO's "Looking."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Looking' - 'Looking for Now'

Who wants to move to San Francisco?

HBO's highly anticipated new series "Looking" finally debuted tonight and my biggest fear is there will now be a deluge of gay men who decide that San Francisco is now the city for them. We'll only be talking about the first episode in this post, but the overall series is so good that guys who really shouldn't be heading to the Bay Area will pack up that truck, er, KIA and head west in hopes of finding their own Patrick (Jonathan Groff). Wait until they find out how much he's paying in rent.

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"Downton Abbey"

 "Downton Abbey" 

Credit: PBS

'Downton Abbey' recap: Mary makes a tough decision

Secrets and lies create problems upstairs and downstairs

This week, if you didn't have a horrible secret or a pretty crafty lie, you really weren't a part of the action at "Downton Abbey." For all the sneaking around, swallowing of feelings and blathering of half-truths, you'd think you were watching "Falcon Crest." There wasn't a lot of justice to be had for some of the nastier secrets, but what little we got was a welcome relief, if a little too pat and easily resolved, if you ask me.

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