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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Animated Short - Does the Disney double start here?

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Animated Short - Does the Disney double start here?

Rule changes favor the most-viewed nominee

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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<p>Ben Briley from Wednesday night&#39;s &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Ben Briley from Wednesday night's "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 13 - Top 13 Results

Candice Glover performs. She won last year, remember? And somebody heads home.

You know, I was a big Candice Glover fan last year. I was rooting for her almost from the beginning and I was pleased when she won. But when Ryan Seacrest mentioned during Wednesday's show that Candice Glover would be performing tonight, it took me way longer than it should have to remember who Candice Glover was. "American Idol" would also like you to forget that Nikki Minaj and Mariah Carey were ever judges.

Things were pretty tight after Wednesday's performances. I think Malaya Watson made the biggest mess of her song, but I don't think she's going home. I'm assuming that Ben Briley, one of my four favorites last night, is safe, so he's the guy in my picture.

Everything else is up in the air, so click through for my full live-blog!

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'Scandal' is back — and it has a lot of explaining to do

“Scandal” is back — and it has a lot of explaining to do
Here’s ranking the burning questions from most to least urgent, including what’s up with Mama Pope. PLUS: Life lessons from 2 1/2 “Scandal” seasons, Katie Lowes talks B613, Joe Morton says more people will become scary, introducing “Jazzy Snaps,” print out "Scandal" paper dolls, and Bellamy Young recalls being directed by Tony Goldwyn on “Dirty Sexy Money."

Amy Poehler nabs Ellen Burstyn for her NBC comedy pilot
She’ll play Natasha Lyonne’s aunt in the comedy about a reformed wild child who creates her own eldercare business.

HBO: We don’t do product placement, so T-Mobile didn’t pay for its “True Detective” cameo
An HBO spokesperson said “True Detective” bosses felt that the T-Mobile was an authentic brand for 2002.

How is ABC’s plan doing with its plan to split the seasons of “Scandal,” “Grey’s” and “Once Upon a Time”?
Has splitting the season in half resulted in better ratings?

Ailing Quantas hopes for a big financial boost from its “Modern Family” investment
The money-losing Australian airline spent $1 million in Aussie dollars to bring the show Down Under, including flying 80 “Modern Family” cast and crew members in a special “Modern Family Flyer” airplane.

ABC teaming with Twitter for Oscar coverage
Sunday’s broadcast will include 10 “Twitter mirror” photos from celebrities in the green room, plus a sponsored-tweet campaign.

Not long before auditioning for "The Daily Show," Jessica Williams was in a college class that showed Jon Stewart clips
Williams was just 22 when she joined “The Daily Show” in 2012. She recalls telling her professor, "Hey, so I need to reschedule midterms because I’m going to go audition for 'The Daily Show,' which you were showing in class earlier.”

Johnny Weir & Tara Lipinski get another gig: “Today” on the morning after the Oscars
They’ll talk fashion on Monday morning.

HBO's "Silicon Valley" poster spoofs Steve Jobs
“Where Everyone Wants To Be An Icon,” says the poster.

Stop trying to solve “True Detective” -- it's a “parody” of storytelling
The HBO series isn’t about trying to solve murder, it’s focus is on the storytelling in the cop genre, argues Pasha Malla. “The show clearly strives to remain aware of the familiarity of its  material—and to play around with that familiarity,” Malla explains. "Its  self-consciousness becomes evident when characters appear to be speaking directly to viewers—most obviously in Rust’s quasi-metaphysical interrogations of chronological narrative.” PLUS: Creator Nic Pizzolatto previews the remaining episodes, Alejandro González Iñárritu was originally on board as director, and how a former pro snowboarder ended up directing “True Detective."

Seth Rogen tells a US. Senate subcommittee he's a huge "House of Cards" fan
In testifying to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, Rogen said: "I came here today for a few reasons. One, I'm a huge 'House of Cards' fan. Just marathoned the whole thing."

Fred Armisen credits the editors for making “Portlandia” funny
They take everything that we’ve shot, says Armisen, and make it funny. “We’re not in the editing room at all,” he says. “They judge it on what they laugh at.” PLUS: Armisen and Carrie Brownstein go through the “Portlandia” process.

Mayim Bialik’s kids don’t know about her “Blossom” past
“The Big Bang Theory” star tells Howard Stern she has shielded her kids from her child actor past, even though they get to play with a “Blossom” doll. PLUS: Simon Helberg shows off his Nicolas Cage impression for Letterman.

OWN releases details of Lindsay Lohan’s first 4 episodes
In Episode 4, Lohan tries to revive her image by doing a sketch on Jimmy Fallon.

Why is the 1st breakout star from “Girls” a guy?
What does say Adam Driver’s reported casting on “Star Wars” say about gender biases in TV vs. movies?

“The Vikings” returns — its boss was surprised fans loved the intellectual aspect of the show
"I always assumed they would be interested in the visceral side of it -- by the battles and things -- but in fact people really got into the human saga and the human story and the gods,” he says. But "people responded strongly to the more intellectual parts of the show,” he says, adding: "I was pleased by that.”

Sarah Drew tells whom she’d pick for her “Grey’s Anatomy’s” April
"I were playing matchmaker, I would set her up with Matthew,” she says. "They are on the same page about big life things, the way they look at the world and the way they share the same space.” PLUS: Why it’s hard to quit “Grey’s,” and Jessica Capshaw and Camilla Luddington on the midseason return.

Check out "Community's" animated “G.I. Jeff”
Jeff “Wingman" will get a special episode.

See “Game of Thrones’” brutal deaths animated as 8-bit gifs
Including the King’s Landing battle. PLUS: Hand-carved “Thrones” wood action figures are for sale.

Jimmy Kimmel puts Ellen on his back in Oscar promo
Who is he wearing? Ellen!

“Sharknado” producer: Syfy will "be very aggressive in making things look like things are naturally happening” on Twitter
Unlike the original movie, “Sharknado 2” will have a orchestrated social media presence that will include the entire cast live-tweeting.

Chelsea Handler will be live-tweeting the Oscars
The E! star will be live-tweeting for The Huffington Post.

Sarah Jessica Parker: TV’s portrayals of female friendships have devolved since “Sex and the City”
“It’s kind of surprising to say, but in a way (‘SATC’) was a more innocent time,” Parker recently told British GQ "… I think so much reality television – and the women that dominate culture today – are pretty unfriendly towards one another. They use language that’s really objectionable and cruel and not supportive. I like to remember that Carrie and the other
women in 'Sex and the City' were really nice to each other."

“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series" posters revealed
El Rey Network and Robert Rodriguez have released posters for each of the main characters.

Another “Vampire Diaries” alum is joining the “Supernatural” spinoff
Stephen Martines is the 3rd “Vampire” veteran to join “Supernatural: Tribes."

Canadian TV renews “Lost Girl”
No word yet if Syfy will pick up the 5th season.

Meet Jerry Seinfeld, the Muppet
“New Material Seinfeld” was introduced on Pete Holmes’ TBS show.

“Orange is the New Black’s” Pablo Schreiber wants a divorce
After his wife filed for separation, Schreiber is requesting an end to their marriage.

“Downton Abbey” costumes are on display in a Delaware museum
Why Delaware?

“The Red Road” wastes its fascinating premise
The Sundance series, starring Jason Momoa, premieres tonight with a compelling story, but a weak script. PLUS: Sundance ends its streak of creating quality shows, there’s some excellence in it you’re patient, it’s like a flashback to 1990s Indie films, and why Jason Momoa calls it the “most challenging thing” he’s ever done.

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<p>Could Alexander Payne&#39;s &quot;Nebraska&quot; get some big love in a few unexpected areas?</p>

Could Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" get some big love in a few unexpected areas?

Credit: Paramount Pictures

5 longshot Oscar predictions that could make you look like a smarty pants

If you're looking to shake up your office pool, give these a whirl

The Oscars are coming Sunday and as you look around the web, you can see that all the pundits are getting their final predictions in just under the buzzer. What's fascinating to me is how, really, everyone seems to mostly agree. The degrees of fluctuation in those who might disagree on this or that category is minimal. And where some might diverge in one category or another, there are certainly others there to back them up.

Basically, no one is way out on any limbs alone and we're all more or less expecting the same range of activity. That means we're all, of course, WRONG — at least somewhere. So what will the surprises be? That's the question I keep hearing, even from publicists and strategists who have their ear closer to the ground than us lowly pundits.

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What incredible feat will Pharrell's 'Happy' achieve if it wins the Oscar?

No other Oscar-winning song has done this

What neat feat could Pharrell Williams achieve if “Happy” wins the Oscar for “Despicable Me?”

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<p>You know why I couldn&#39;t fit Ray into this image? Because Ivan Reitman had a great eye for scope composition when he shot 1984&#39;s &#39;Ghostbusters&#39;</p>

You know why I couldn't fit Ray into this image? Because Ivan Reitman had a great eye for scope composition when he shot 1984's 'Ghostbusters'

Credit: Columbia Pictures

You don't want to see 'Ghostbusters 3,' even if you think you do

Isn't it time to let this one rest?

I want to ask you a question.

Do you really want to see "Ghostbusters 3"?

Before you answer, I want you to consider every angle. I don't want the knee-jerk response, because I know what the knee-jerk response is, and so does Columbia, and so do Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman. The knee-jerk response is easy. After all, I love the original 1984 film "Ghostbusters," and I'm more than willing to cop to a fondness for the admittedly-lesser sequel. On the surface, the thought of more "Ghostbusters" is appealing. Undeniably so.

I won't lie. When I was 21 or 22 years old, my writing partner Scott Swan and I had an elaborate written treatment for "Ghostbusters 3" that I was convinced I was somehow going to get in front of the right people. After all, when I was 21 and 22 years old, I had almost constant access to Joe Medjuck, Michael Gross, and Ivan Reitman thanks to my job at Dave's Video. I never found myself in a position to connect those two dots, though, and 43 year old me laughs at how painfully earnest the younger me was about this sequel idea.

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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Actor - An amazing year likely to yield to the McConaissance

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Actor - An amazing year likely to yield to the McConaissance

But that doesn't mean it's not competitive right up until the very end

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

Read Full Post
<p>Dan and Shay</p>

Dan and Shay


Interview: Hot country newcomers Dan and Shay on T Pain and their hit single

Duo set to tour with Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton

Bandmates find each other in all kinds of ways: through mutual friends, through ads in music-oriented publications, through industry contacts…For Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, collective known as Dan and Shay, a tent brought them together.

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"Ice Cold Gold"

"Ice Cold Gold"

Credit: Animal Planet

CulturePop No. 38 - David Casey of 'Ice Cold Gold'

We talk Greenland, skirting death and the "Gravity" connection

Ever been to Greenland? If you get a chance -- be warned that you might be so entranced you'll never be able to quit the place. "Ice Cold Gold" executive producer David Casey visited once and headed back with this Animal Planet show, now heading into its second season (the season premiere is Thurs. March 6 at 10:00 p.m., but you can catch up on the first season series finale tonight as well). We talked to Casey about how he got prospectors on board even though doing a TV series about what's supposed to be a top secret dig seems like it would be pretty tough (it wasn't), the dangers and challenges of digging (and visiting) Greenland despite increasing temperatures, and the connection between Greenland and Oscar-nominated "Gravity" (there really is one!). We had fun -- and we hope you do, too.

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'The Americans' returns to slightly above last season’s average

“The Americans” returns to slightly above last season’s average
The 1.9 million who tuned in was sharply down, however from the 3.22 million who watched the Season 1 debut, but DVR viewership should boost the final numbers.

“Parks and Rec” boss: Next season would be a good time to end the show
"We haven’t talked about it with NBC officially,” says Michael Schur, "but for many reasons — mostly just creatively in terms of where we’re building to this year — it would be natural if next year were the last year. I mean, you never know. We thought season 3 was our last year…. No decision has been made on that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if next year were the final season.”

“True Detective” creator shocked by Matthew McConaughey’s early “Unsolved Mysteries” role
“What?!?!? Had NO IDEA such a thing existed,” Nic Pizzolatto told EW by e-mail of McConaughey’s 1st acting credit, which has several similarities to the HBO series. “McConaughey never said anything about it, so he must not’ve remembered. That’s like eerie coincidence number #50. We’re in a hall of mirrors now, men…”

“Gilmore Girls” and “Scandal” alum Liza Weil joins “How To Get Away With Murder”
She’ll play an associate of Viola Davis on the legal thriller.

Clay Aiken’s Congressional bid is official
The former “Idol” runner-up submitted papers today to run for Congress in North Carolina.

Jimmy Fallon’s 1st week was “The Tonight Show’s” best since Johnny Carson said goodbye
About 10.42 million tuned in on average.

Introducing the new “SNL” Weekend Update team
Cecily Strong and Colin Jost went on “Today” this morning to talk about their new partnership.

Here’s every terrible joke from the “Mixology” premiere
Include the joke about rape.

CW finds its “Jane the Virgin”
Gina Rodriguez will play the title role in the Venezuelan telenovela adaptation.

“The Crazy Ones” and “Two and a Half Men” swap timeslots starting tonight
“Two and a Half Men” will kick off the hour at 9 pm.

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<p>First Lady Michelle Obama at a speaking event in Miami, which is also where she filmed a &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot; cameo.</p>

First Lady Michelle Obama at a speaking event in Miami, which is also where she filmed a "Parks and Recreation" cameo.

Credit: AP

'Parks and Recreation' finale to feature First Lady Michelle Obama

Mrs. Obama joins John McCain Joe Biden and another political celebs to meet Leslie Knope

Tonight at 8:30 Eastern, "Parks and Recreation" airs its first new episode since the Olympics, as well as the first new episode since Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe left the cast. It's terrific — the best one they've done since the season premiere — and I'll have a review of it up after it ends on the East Coast.

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<p>Matthew Rhys of &quot;The Americans&quot;</p>

Matthew Rhys of "The Americans"

Credit: FX

'Americans' Season 2 premiere numbers come in soft

Acclaimed drama was down from its series premiere, but up from end-of-year

Despite rave reviews -- including Sepinwall's written review and our joint podcast praise -- and aggressive promotion, the second season of FX's "The Americans" got off to a ratings start which can most politely be described as "soft."

Wednesday's (February 26) premiere drew 1.9 million viewers, including 863,000 in the key 18-49 demographic. 

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