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Credit: History

It's time for a raid on England in the next episode of 'Vikings'

It's time to push forward, but that may not be a good idea

What did we learn from the season premiere of "Vikings" last week? It may have been over a thousand years ago, but even way back then divorce sucked, kids feel put in the middle, and women did not take kindly to a husband's suggestion they try a threesome. Ragnar, you dog, you!

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<p>Ralph Fiennes is at his very best in the delightful new film &#39;The Grand Budapest Hotel&#39; by Wes Anderson</p>

Ralph Fiennes is at his very best in the delightful new film 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' by Wes Anderson

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: Wes Anderson's 'Grand Budapest Hotel' is both goofy and gorgeous

Ralph Fiennes has never been better

Wes Anderson has settled into his identity as a filmmaker, and by now, you probably have a pretty fair idea what you think of his voice and his general storytelling style. That's true of a lot of filmmakers, and even within that basic identity they create, there tend to be films that are more or less successful overall, films that feel like they represent the very best of what someone does. It is safe to say that "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is one of those breakthrough moments, a movie that is so beautifully realized from start to finish that I almost doubted myself on the way home. Could I really have enjoyed that film that much?

A Russian nesting-doll of a movie, this is a story within a story within a story within a story for much of its running time, with additional layers either peeled back or laid on top at various points, and there's a real beauty to the way Anderson structures everything. Without giving away all the wonderful layers to the game he's playing, it's safe to say that "The Grand Budapest Hotel" tells the story of how Gustave H., the concierge of the Grand Budapest, ends up mentoring Zero Moustafa, a lobby boy who is there when war finally ruins the world in which the Grand Budapest exists. It is a love story, a heist movie, a farce, a prison break mission movie, and a sort of beautiful ode to a time that has passed, and it juggles all these disparate threads in a way that is breathtaking and elegant.

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<p>A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the most retweeted selfie of all time.</p>

A behind-the-scenes glimpse at the most retweeted selfie of all time.

Credit: AP Photo

The Long Shot: Hollywood takes a selfie at the Oscars -- in more ways than one

Why last night's winners reflect better on the Academy than an amiable ceremony

For a ceremony that wasn't even advertising itself as "the young, hip Oscars" -- how sparkly and limber Anne Hathaway looked in her presenting stint, relieved of that thankless, three-year-old yoke -- you could hardly move for all the pointed assurances that last night's Academy Awards were definitely taking place in the 21st century.

Selfies! Twitter! Lupita Nyong'o getting down to Pharrell! Bette Midler lusking out "The Wind Beneath My Wings!" Well, maybe not entirely in the 21st century. (At least some of it was in an altogether parallel universe, and not just the performance by venerated stage chanteuse Adele Dazim.) Still, a larger-than-usual proportion of the show was at least in the present tense, which is where it needed to be -- not least given that voters were evidently torn between one film that processes and reflects America's past, and another that offers glistening pointers to an entire medium's future.

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<p>Emmanuel Lubezki, an Oscar winner at last.</p>

Emmanuel Lubezki, an Oscar winner at last.

Credit: AP Photo

Tech Support: 'Gravity,' 'Gatsby,' 'Dallas' and 'Frozen' ruled Oscar's craft categories

Four films got the love throughout the Academy's below-the-line fields

The morning after the Oscars is always a strange feeling. We've been covering this process in earnest for months, and now it's over. And for the first time ever, I'm pleased to say that I scored a perfect 10 in predicting the winners in the crafts categories! (I went 21/24 overall, missing Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short and…Best Picture.)

To be fair, however, I'm hardly the only person to have gone 10/10 in this respect. In that sense, we had a night without surprises, which is not to say we didn't have stories.

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Ellen gives the Oscar pizza guy a $1,000 tip on her talk show

Ellen gives the Oscar pizza guy a $1,000 tip on her talk show
Edgar Martiroysan was more dressed up during his visit to the Ellen show today. He is co-owner of Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzeria in Hollywood.

“The Daily Show" hires a new correspondent
Jordan Klepper, a veteran of the Upright Citizens Brigade, makes his debut tonight. PLUS: Watch Klepper in action.

Letterman attempts to break Ellen’s Twitter retweet record
"Only 2,881,887 retweets to go... #Letterman"

Bryan Singer will direct Vince Gilligan’s “Battle Creek”
Singer will reunite with “House” creator David Shore, joining the CBS pilot as executive producer.

Lena Dunham will write a 4-part “Archie Comics” story
"She's the voice of her generation," Archie co-CEO Jon Goldwater says of the “Girls” star. "To have someone like that say, 'Not only am I a fan, I'd love to write something,' it just epitomizes all the hard work we've put in for the last five years."

Bruce Jenner is the latest “Dancing” rumored name
Will the "Keeping Up With the Kardashians” vet join the ABC reality show?

“The Shield’s” Benito Martinez and “Deadwood’s” W. Earl Brown join ABC’s “American Crime”
The ABC drama project from Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley will star Martinez as a middle-class widowed father whose son is accused of a crime.

Amy Poehler is turned upside down by her “SNL” and “Parks and Rec” co-stars, plus Bill Murray
Check out what Andy Samberg, Adam Scott, Bill Hader, Bill Murray and Paul Rudd did to poor Poehler.

“Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul breaks the “Top Gear” speed record
The "Need for Speed” star beat all other celebrities.

Watch “Community’s” Dan Harmon in the trailer for “Harmontown”
The controversial TV boss is getting his own documentary.

NFL boasts: The Super Bowl's female viewership beats Oscar's total viewership
That’s 44.85 million female Super Bowl viewers to 43 million male and female Oscar viewers, according to an NFL spokesperson.

“The Americans” gets a 72% ratings boost from DVR viewers
New numbers show that 3.26 million watched the Season 2 premiere.

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<p>Pharrell Williams performing at the Oscars</p>

Pharrell Williams performing at the Oscars

Credit: John Shearer/Invision/AP

Album review: Pharrell Williams' 'G I R L' will make you 'Happy'

Guests Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys join the party

Pharrell Williams’ “G I R L” may open with a flourish of strings and have a few tastefully arranged string parts scattered throughout  (courtesy of Williams’ scoring collaborator, composer and arranger Hans Zimmer), but the album is anything but high minded.The whole idea with with “G I R L” is to have some fun.

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"Rods N' Wheels"

"Rods N' Wheels"

Credit: Discovery

CulturePop No. 39 - Billy Jr. and Shane of 'Rods N' Wheels,' Oscars, 'Bachelor'

We talk about the season finale, goats, Juan Pablo and much more

Doing a podcast right after the Oscars may have been a little much for us, as we had technical difficulties and human difficulties and, after panning John Travolta for mispronouncing Idina Menzel's name, I managed to slur it myself (but hey, I didn't call her Adele Dazim or anything). Thankfully, we had Billy Jr. and Shane from "Rods N' Wheels" (season finale 9:00 p.m. ET tonight on Discovery) as our guests. Could not have asked for nicer (or more patient) guys to chat with us. If you don't already watch the show, Melinda explains why you really, really should at the 33 minute mark. These guys are fun -- and shout out to Jay Leno, give them a call. They're waiting. We loved these guys, and we think you will, too. Here's the rundown (and, at the bottom, a clip from the show):

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<p>From &quot;Honeymoon&quot;</p>

From "Honeymoon"

Exclusive: Poster debut for scary SXSW film 'Honeymoon'

'Sinister' getaway becomes a post-nuptial nightmare in this Midnight selection

You know how catching the bouquet at the wedding is considered a "nice" thing? Well, you wouldn't want to get your hands on this one.

Today we exclusively reveal the poster to SXSW film pick "Honeymoon"; the synopsis alone gives me heebies.

Young newlyweds Paul (Harry Treadaway) and Bea (Rose Leslie) travel to remote lake country for their honeymoon where the promise of private romance awaits them.  Shortly after arriving, Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night. As she becomes more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, Paul begins to suspect something more sinister than sleepwalking took place in the woods.

Midnight selection "Honeymoon" is helmed by first-time director Leigh Janiak, who was impressed by Treadaway's performances in "Fish Tank" and "Control."

"What's interesting about Harry is that he has this masculinity that's not a typical 'dude' way and I'm drawn to that... when he read it, he really got that this wasn't a stereotypical 'I'm a man' role," Janiak said in our interview. She said the film definitely has a way of toying with gender roles, a "back and forth," and a play on "how well you can really know another person."

"Honeymoon" premieres at the Austin-based fest on Friday (March 7) at 11:45pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.

Honeymoon SXSW poster

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<p>Steve McQueen jumps for joy at the 86th annual Academy Awards</p>

Steve McQueen jumps for joy at the 86th annual Academy Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Off the Carpet: A 'Happy' Oscar season draws to a close

Not much to argue with this year

At the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday afternoon, John Cassavetes Award winner (and former In Contention contributor) Chad Hartigan told me something I didn't know: He wouldn't have made "This is Martin Bonner" if it weren't for Steve McQueen's "Hunger." He copped a few of the film's lines in his film, some of the camerawork, too. He was inspired, he said, by a filmmaker who could pull something that powerful off with such modest means, both financially and artistically.

That, to me, is McQueen's legend. That, to me, is the kind of thing that will endure. These nickel-plated notions of "importance" that people throw around during the Oscar season, straining to associate some arbitrary level meaning to the thing, they can frankly diminish the very fine achievement on display. "I fear all the talk about the historical importance of '12 Years a Slave' almost completely obscures its extraordinary artistic merit," Black List founder and CEO Franklin Leonard Tweeted after the Oscars Sunday night, and that's sort of what I was getting at with my piece last week titled "On Oscars and the personal gravity of art." The worst thing you can do is allow the Oscars to smother the movies.

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<p>Pharrell performed at Sunday&#39;s Oscars</p>

Pharrell performed at Sunday's Oscars

Credit: John Shearer/AP

The 2014 Oscars hit a 10-year high in total viewers

Ellen DeGeneres can't top Seth MacFarlane in the key demo

Early this morning, I posted some meaningless numbers with time period data suggesting that the 86th Academy Awards might have been up for ABC.

Slightly less meaningless data is in and, indeed, ABC is boasting that the Ellen DeGeneres-hosted Oscars hit a 10-year high in total viewers and crushed the year's other big award shows in all measures.

Per Fast National and Live + Same Day ratings, the Oscars averaged 43 million viewers on Sunday (March 2) night and did a 12.9 rating among adults 18-49.

That made this the most-watched Oscars overall since 2004 and, in fact, ABC is saying this was TV's most-watched entertainment telecast since the May 2004 series finale of "Friends." The show was up by 6 percent in total viewers. The Oscars telecast was also up 1 percent among adults 18-34 to a seven-year high, up 8 percent among teens 12-17 and up 9 percent among kids 2-11.

It's unclear what to make of that, other than that ABC gave a lot of "growth" numbers, but ignored the key 18-49 demographic. That's because last year's Seth MacFarlane-hosted show did a 13.0 rating in the key demo. ABC, in fact, broke out relatively few demos for Sunday's Oscars, so it can probably be assumed that MacFarlane drew better male numbers, etc. However, "overall" is a pretty big demo and ABC's happy about that one.

The Oscars remains the gold standard for TV awards shows, certainly. The Academy Awards topped the Golden Globes by 22.1 million viewers and by 98 percent in the key demo and beat the Grammys by 14.5 million viewers and by 30 percent in the key demo.

Also growing was "Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars," which drew 6.99 million viewers, up 22 percent from last year, including 2.42 million viewers in the key 18-49 demo, up 20 percent from last year.

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43 million watched the Oscars, the highest since 2004

43 million watched the Oscars, the highest since 2004
Ellen’s Oscars was up over Seth MacFarlane’s gig, which attracted 40.5 million. Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel was up 22% from last year.

Twitter engineers weren’t thrilled with Ellen’s Oscar selfie stunt
“Oh f*ck,” one Twitter engineer was quoted as saying. Another tweeted: "<GULP>."

“House of Cards” got one of the most enthusiastic responses during the Oscars
The reaction to Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood just goes to show how popular a TV show could be among a film crowd.

Chelsea Handler criticized for promoting her African safari travelogue while congratulating Lupita Nyong’o
Handler used a single Huffington Post tweet to congratulate the “12 Years a Slave” star on her Oscar and to promote her book “Uganda Be Kidding Me.”

Meet “The Black Bachelor”
Funny or Die’s spoof features Tatyana Ali, plus Terrell Owens in the Chris Harrison role.

Why was the Jim Parsons-hosted “SNL” so bad?
Was it the lack of Seth Meyers? Or did “The Big Bang Theory” star lack versatility?

VH1 orders “Suave Says,” starring the singer of “Rico Suave”
The reality show will follow Latin singer Gerardo Mejía as he passes the music torch to his children.

“Game of Thrones’” Iron Throne makes a cameo on “Parks and Rec”
Watch Ben Wyatt’s dream come true.

Don Draper’s “Mad Men” secretary joins LeBron James’ Starz comedy
Teyonah Parris will be part of “Survivor’s Remorse,” an NBA-themed comedy.

Jimmy Fallon’s brings his “Tonight Show” to a living room for a Time Warner Cable ad
Fallon managed to fit his desk and The Roots in this guy’s living room.

FCC fines ESPN several cable channels for playing a movie trailer that used Emergency Alert Sounds
Viacom, ESPN and NBC Universal were fined for playing the ad for “Olympus Has Fallen.”

“New Girl’s” Max Greenfield is Ellen’s guest DJ today
He’s working her live Oscar show.

Watch Patton Oswalt’s opening monologue at the Film Independent Spirit Awards
The day after Oswalt tweeted: "Yeah, I'm gonna Live-Tweet the #Oscars. As a wiser, humbler Tweeter who knows how hard it is to host an awards show. Seriously."

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<p>Coldplay has a new album coming</p>

Coldplay has a new album coming

Coldplay set to release 'Ghost Stories' May 19

Hear first single, 'Magic'

After slipping out a surprise tune, “Midnight,” last week, Coldplay will release its sixth studio album May 19.

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