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If In Contention readers had a ballot...

If In Contention readers had a ballot...

'12 Years' would win Best Picture and Leonardo DiCaprio would take Best Actor

Over the last week and a half we've asked In Contention readers for their preference in each of the Academy's 24 Oscar categories in our daily Oscars Lowdown features. The results are in and, like a number of people and organizations this year, our readership had a tough time deciding between "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" for top honors. In the end, Steve McQueen's film was voted Best Picture by those who participated, while Alfonso Cuarón was the preference in Best Director.

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<p>Alain Resnais</p>

Alain Resnais

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

On the passing of Alain Resnais, the auteur who stayed playful to the end

The 'Last Year at Marienbad' director has passed away at 92

When I awoke this morning to the unhappy news that Alain Resnais, the French director of "Last Year at Marienbad," "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" and "Night and Fog" among many, many others, had passed away at the age of 92, my first thought was how different the moment felt to most other announcements of veteran artists' departures -- more sorely immediate than the usual solemn, remove-your-hat mourning. Most nonagenarian directors who die do so with their life's work complete; Resnais's certainly wasn't lacking, but the man wasn't finished either.

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Jim Parsons and Bobby Moynihan

Jim Parsons and Bobby Moynihan

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Jim Parsons and Beck

The star of "The Big Bang Theory" is game, but the show's return is shockingly unfunny

It seems like an eternity since the last episode of “Saturday Night Live” aired, but it’s back tonight, with the most beloved member of one of television’s biggest shows as host. Jim Parsons is a semi-unlikely television star, but there are few who don’t know who Sheldon Cooper is at this point, and a large chunk of that goes to Parson’s portrayal of that character. In lesser hands, Sheldon would not be one of the true genuine breakout characters in recent TV history. Tonight, Parsons gets to potentially stretch his wings, in addition to almost undoubtedly delivering “The Big Bang Theory”-related humor as well. Along for the ride is musical act Beck for this, the first show in the post-Seth Meyers Era.

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<p>Garrett of &quot;Survivor: Cagaya&quot;</p>

Garrett of "Survivor: Cagaya"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Garrett Adelstein talks 'Survivor: Cagayan'

Poker player explains why he left his Idol back at camp

As I mentioned in my recap of the "Survivor: Cagayan" premiere, poker player Garrett Adelstein managed to get himself blindsided through a number of impressive, self-generated circumstances. 

He pushed easy target J'Tia on a path to nutso rage at camp with his open forum strategy back at camp. He nudged Tasha to more aggressive play by trying to cut of strategizing at camp. He alienated Kass at Tribal Council by outing their semi-alliance. And, of course, he found an Immunity Idol, but left it buried at camp. 

To me, I also felt like he fixated too heavily on getting David out at the first Tribal Council, a decision that left J'Tia in the game in the first place.

Although Garrett came across as failing to live up to his tribe's braininess in the premiere, in his exit interview, he seemed much more articulate and introspective about his performance. One thing he didn't want to entertain was the possibility that targeting Dave was a mistake and, in that answer, he impressively filibustered for nearly half of our interview time, leaving me with a number of things I wasn't able to ask about. 


As I suggested in my recap, I think that the season goes a very different way if Brice, whose IQ I don't actually know, and Garrett had been swapped. Probably the season goes different if Garrett had been on the Brawn tribe as well. You can tell Garrett has thought about these things and more.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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'Limo driver' Jimmy Kimmel picks up Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who’ll guest on his show

“Limo driver” Jimmy Kimmel picks up Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who’ll guest on his show
The cocaine-using mayor, in town to attend the Oscars, was greeted by the Kimmel dressed as a limo driver at the airport today. The butt of many late-night jokes will make his American late-night talk show debut on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which has been skewering him the most.

“Zack Morris” turns 40 on the same day Justin Bieber turns 20
“Saved by the Bell's" Mark-Paul Gosselaar enters his 40s today.

Super Bowl-winning QB Russell Wilson: I turned down "Dancing with the Stars" -- twice
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback says he was asked this year and last year, after his rookie season.

“Hannibal” returns lower
About 3.4 million watched the Season 2 premiere.

“Mad Men’s” Rich Sommer lands a CBS pilot
He’ll co-star in therapy comedy “Good Session.”

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Best and Worst of the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards

Best and Worst of the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards

Leto thanks the world and Oswalt feels out the gig for the first time

The rain is touch and go in LA as the Independent Spirit Awards have come and gone. "12 Years a Slave" was the big winner, but throughout the show, as usual with these things, there was plenty to praise and plenty to pan. From cool and rousing speeches to an audience that just couldn't sit down and shut up, check out our survey of the best and worst of the show in the gallery story below.

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HitFix's final 86th Academy Awards predictions

HitFix's final 86th Academy Awards predictions

Who will get bragging rights Monday morning?

It's time to put up or shut up. After months and months and months of campaigning, stretching as far back as Cannes 2013 (or maybe even Sundance?), the Oscar season is finally drawing to a close.

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<p>Steve McQueen and the production team of &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot; at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards</p>

Steve McQueen and the production team of "12 Years a Slave" at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards

Credit: AP Photo

'12 Years a Slave' leads Independent Spirit Awards winners

Matthew McConaughey, Lupita Nyong'o and Jared Leto pick up acting awards

The 29th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards found a place in the sun away from (most of) the rain for a few hours Saturday afternoon. "12 Years a Slave" led the pack, picking up five awards, including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography. The film could take the industry's top prize at the Oscars Sunday night.

Acting winners included Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for their work in "Dallas Buyers Club," supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o for "12 Years a Slave," and Cate Blachett for best actress in "Blue Jasmine."

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<p>Schoolboy Q</p>

Schoolboy Q

Credit: Interscope

Schoolboy Q goes to the head of the class on next week's album chart

'Oxymoron' is one of six debuts on the Billboard 200

It’s a huge week for debuts as up to six albums will bow in the Billboard 200 next week following the busiest release week of 2014 so far.

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<p>Mads Mikkelsen of &quot;Hannibal&quot;</p>

Mads Mikkelsen of "Hannibal"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'Shark Tank,' 'Blue Bloods' lead Friday, while 'Hannibal' premieres low

'Enlisted' equals recent repeats for FOX

Fast National ratings for Friday, February 28, 2014.

After three weeks of NBC Olympics dominance, "Shark Tank" and "Blue Bloods"  put ABC and CBS back in their normal positions atop primetime in young viewers and overall. 

In its first Friday airing, NBC's "Hannibal" outdrew its Thursday episodes from the summer, but its premiere numbers weren't appreciably different from recent "Dracula" performances in the same time period.

Meanwhile, "Enlisted" failed to get any post-Olympics bump and an original did the same numbers as recent encore for FOX. Having a lead-in might have helped.

On to the numbers...

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Report: Teresa & Joe Giudice will plead guilty to federal fraud charges and go to prison

Report: Teresa & Joe Giudice will plead guilty to federal fraud charges and go to prison
The Bravo “Real Housewives” stars have reached a plea deal that would put Teresa behind bars for less than two years and her husband in prison for a minimum three years, according to the Bergen Record.

Warner Bros. posts the first 2 minutes of the “Veronica Mars” movie online
The opening of the film is mostly a rehash for new viewers.

Joan Rivers gets cake in the face
The E! star was at a pre-Oscar bash when she was smothered with cake, but was it a publicity stunt?

Watch Jimmy Kimmel’s fake post-Oscar film trailer with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks
Chris Hemsworth also appears in the 30-second promo.

Dean Winters joins Vince Gilligan’s “Battle Creek”
He’ll play an FBI agent on the detective drama pilot that also stars Kal Penn and Janet McTeer.

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<p>Looks like an Oscars promo picture doesn&#39;t it?&nbsp; Nope, these three represent likely winners at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards.</p>

Looks like an Oscars promo picture doesn't it?  Nope, these three represent likely winners at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards.

2014 Independent Spirit Awards predictions

Is Brad PItt going to win an Indie Spirit Award?

It may be raining. It may be chilly. One thing is for sure, the drinks will be flowing and the giant tent that is the annual home for the Independent Spirit Awards will be buzzing.

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