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Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in "Before Midnight."
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in "Before Midnight."
Credit: Sony Classics

Roundup: The screenplay Oscar conundrum

Also: Cuaron's 'Great Expectations' regrets, and a Cinemascore F-fest

Mark Harris notes, as many have before him, that the Academy's Best Screenplay categorizations are a bit confusing. Why should films like "Before Midnight" and "Toy Story 3" compete as adaptations when they're not adapted from anything, simply because they use pre-existing characters? And on the original side of things, are factual or biographical screenplays really that comparable to fiction crafted entirely from the writer's imagination? Harris argues that the only solution is to divide the writing Oscars into three categories: Best Original Screenplay, Best Screenplay Based On Factual Material and Best Adaptation. Even then, though, a part-factual, part-fabricated film like "The Butler" could blur the lines. What do you think? [Grantland]

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"Untold Stories of the ER"

 "Untold Stories of the ER"

Credit: Discovery Fit & Health

Exclusive clip: A masturbator who can't stop on 'Untold Stories of the ER'

A first year intern must handle a patient who won't stop touching himself

If you ever think, gosh, I should have gone into the glamorous world of medicine, take heart! It's not all "Grey's Anatomy" and lollipops, people. Being a first year intern certainly wasn't all that glamorous for Dr. Andy Kahn. In an exclusive clip from this week's episode of "Untold Stories of the ER" (Fri. at 10:00 p.m. on Discovery Fit & Health, then repeats Sat. at 9:00 p.m. on TLC), watch as Kahn gets stuck with a case none of his coworkers wanted -- a wild-eyed, compulsive masturbator who won't even take a break when medical professionals want to take his blood pressure.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Is it time to say goodbye to Silas?

It's a dopplegangerpalooza!

This week, the Silas/Amara/Tessa triangle finally did in some dopplegangers, and 2,000 years of hatred and spite was taken to its logical, bloody conclusion. I will say I'm a little sad to see this storyline wrap up (if it is, in fact, wrapped up) because I'd grown so fond of Silas. Yes, he was a horrible, horrible villain, but he was also a pretty funny one. Take this week's opening scene; Silas yammers about his horrible life to a couple sitting at a bus stop. Yes, it might have been funnier if he hadn't liquified the internal organs of the boyfriend to make a point, but then, it wouldn't be Silas. 

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Anderson Cooper and GLAAD slam Alec Baldwin over his latest homophobic slur


Anderson Cooper and GLAAD slam Alec Baldwin for his latest homophobic slur
Even GLAAD is coming down hard on the MSNBC host for apparently calling a photographer a "c–ksucking f-g" on Thursday. And Anderson Cooper, via Twitter, also had harsh words for Baldwin: "Wow, Alec Baldwin shows his true colors yet again. How is he going to lie and excuse his anti-gay slurs this time? Just read Alec Baldwin's latest excuses. They are actually so ridiculous they are funny."


Jimmy Kimmel interviews Sarah Silverman for the 1st time since their breakup
Silverman brought a box of Kimmel's old stuff with her, along with a little boy. Watch Part 2.


MSNBC host: We didn't bleep the P-word, unlike Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
"The Last Word's" Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted that MSNBC "was brave enough not to bleep Mayor Rob Ford."


Watch Will Forte & Letterman do a comedy bit in the 90s, when Forte was a "Late Show" writer
Forte, promoting his new film "Nebraska," wrote for Dave before he joined "SNL," in 1997 and 1998.


Stephen Colbert undergoes a prostate exam with the help of Katie Couric and John Lithgow
The Black Keys also were a part of Colbert's "November Sweeps Prostacular."


"Parks and Rec" believes it chose the best option for Leslie Knope

Last night's "Recall Vote" episode was "the most exciting and interesting thing," says creator Mike Schur. PLUS: Ripped from the headlines stories weren't "Parks and Rec's" best effort, and there was one final van ride for Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones on their last day Thursday.


Comedy Central orders 40 more weeks of "@midnight"

Chris Hardwick's midnight show will return on Jan. 6.


Tommy Chong is coming to "Raising Hope"
He'll play Cloris Leachman's stoner love interest.


Check out new "Community" Season 5 photos
Here are 20 pics from the new season, including several of "Breaking Bad's" Jonathan Banks.

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<p>Angelina Jolie speaks with Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp in June.</p>

Angelina Jolie speaks with Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp in June.

Credit: AP Photo

Jolie, Martin, Lansbury, Tosi discuss Honorary Oscar recognition ahead of Governors Awards

This year's quartet set to be honored Saturday night

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's an Oscar ceremony with dinner, drinks and no commercial breaks: For the fifth consecutive year, the motion picture academy will present its honorary Academy Awards at a private, untelevised, black-tie dinner.

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<p>Terrence Howard and Robert Downey, Jr. during a photo call for &quot;Iron Man&quot; in Rome in April, 2008.</p>

Terrence Howard and Robert Downey, Jr. during a photo call for "Iron Man" in Rome in April, 2008.

Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Terrence Howard now blames 'Iron Man 2' cut on Robert Downey, Jr.

It always comes down to money

Terrence Howard's departure from the "Iron Man" franchise has been the one blemish on Marvel Studios since the company began making its own films in 2007.  Howard played Co. James 'Rhodney' Rhondes, a long time friend of Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.) in Jon Favreau's franchise making hit. After "Iron Man" grossed over $585 million worldwide, it was assumed that the remaining cast would return for the inevitable sequel where Rhodes was expected to become Iron Man's buddy War Machine.  But it didn't happen.  The studio claimed contractual differences with Howard and cast Don Cheadle to replace him. "Iron Man 2" went on to make even more money than its predecessor and Cheadle easily made the role his own.

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<p>John C. McGinley and Skylar Astin in &quot;Ground Floor.&quot;</p>

John C. McGinley and Skylar Astin in "Ground Floor."

Credit: TBS

Series premiere talkback: 'Ground Floor'

What did everybody think of the new TBS comedy?

I posted my review of TBS' "Ground Floor" yesterday. Now it's your turn. For those of you who watched one or both of the episodes tonight, what did you think? Do you mind that John C. McGinley is just playing Dr. Cox in a suit, or have missed his innate Cox-iness? Did you like Skylar Astin and/or Briga Heelan as our young lovebirds? Did you enjoy colorfully-nicknamed supporting characters like Harvard or Threepeat? Were you bothered that episode 2 ignored Harvard's previous shenanigans with the fancy chairs from episode 1? If you're a single-cam comedy fan, did the studio audience laughter bug you, or seem to be at an appropriate volume? And will you watch again?

As I said in the review, "Ground Floor" gets better as it goes (the fourth and final episode TBS sent out for review was by far the best). In general, this isn't the sort of show I have things to write about weekly, but I'll try to check in from time to time over the course of this first season.

Have at it.

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Three for three: Directors who have dominated the Best Picture race

Three for three: Directors who have dominated the Best Picture race

Which ones are looking to make good on the hat trick this year?

There are a handful of filmmakers looking for rare air this year. If "American Hustle," "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Nebraska" end up with Oscar nominations for Best Picture in January, then that means David O. Russell, the Coen brothers and Alexander Payne will enter the exclusive company of 11 other filmmakers who have directed three Best Picture nominees in a row. And next year, Bennett Miller will be looking to do the same with "Foxcatcher," which was recently rescheduled for a 2014 release.

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<p>Conner Chapman in &quot;The Selfish Giant.&quot;</p>

Conner Chapman in "The Selfish Giant."

Credit: Sundance Selects

Brit favorite 'The Selfish Giant,' foreign Oscar hopefuls take gold at AFI Fest

Prize winners remind us of the festival's international outlook

In terms of media coverage, the AFI Fest in Los Angeles is generally portrayed as yet another launchpad for big-name Oscar contenders in this crowded season -- headlines were dominated by the US premiere of "Saving Mr. Banks," the surprise package of "Lone Survivor" and so on. All that Hollywood-focused talk, however, tends to obscure what a fine selection of world and art house cinema the festival also showcases -- and it's this lower-profile part of the programme that comes to the fore when it's time for the jury and audience awards to be handed out.

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<p>Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope as Buttercup in &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope as Buttercup in "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Filibuster/Recall Vote'

Leslie fights to keep voters enfranchised, then waits for their results

"Parks and Recreation" came back from a short break with a double-feature tonight, and I have a review of both episodes coming up just as soon as I find some amazing new conflict-free paella recipes...

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<p>Selena Gomez</p>

Selena Gomez

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - Double Elimination and Selena Gomez performs

Which two acts went home on the first Elimination Thursday?

Last week, "X Factor" screwed up the voting and treated viewers to 13 frenzied performances in an hour, thereby denying us a performance by one Ms. Selena Gomez.

This week, we'll try again on Selena Gomez.

We'll also see the return of Fifth Harmony.

And we're eliminating two acts and presumably getting the rankings for the other 10 acts.

Buckle up and join the live-blog!

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<p>Russell Crowe seems to be a wee bit wet in the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah'</p>

Russell Crowe seems to be a wee bit wet in the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Will Aronofsky's 'Noah' be the latest dream project to turn out as a nightmare?

Today's first trailer raises some big red flags

You will find few more passionate advocates for Darren Aronofsky's work online than me. One of the first times I was quoted in a campaign for a film was for "The Fountain," and I couldn't have been more excited about it. I knew that movie was a hard-sell, but I also felt like it was something special, and anything I could do to help was my genuine pleasure.

Both "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan" topped my list of the year's best films when they came out, and they felt like a huge step for Aronofsky, movies that tapped some nerve with people, more accessible than his earlier work but without any compromise. I have been eagerly anticipating whatever's next, and when "Noah" was announced, I was naturally curious to see what he might be putting together.

So please keep that in mind when I say that today's "Noah" trailer left me cold, and more than that, it worried me. It looked no different than most of the noisy blockbuster fare of the last decade, and there is a seriousness to the trailer that could easily turn into camp if tipped the wrong way. Then again, it's just a trailer and it's ridiculous to judge something based on two minutes of footage… right?

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