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<p>Ben Affleck at the 65th annual&nbsp;DGA&nbsp;Awards</p>

Ben Affleck at the 65th annual DGA Awards

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Ben Affleck, Lena Dunham, Rian Johnson win Directors Guild awards

'Argo' keeps on keepin' on

Check off one more box on the "Argo" industry tour of awards season goodies. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has crowned Ben Affleck with the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film, this just a week removed from big wins from the Producers and Screen Actors Guilds. Is it really clear sailing to a Best Picture win at the Oscars from here? Or will the fact that Academy members won't even have ballots in hand until Friday mean there's too much time for "them" to second guess the guild circuit?

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Jason Isaacs talks 'Sweetwater,' Lucius Malfoy and returning to TV

Jason Isaacs talks 'Sweetwater,' Lucius Malfoy and returning to TV

Sundance interview includes much discussion of sympathetic villains
PARK CITY, UTAH - Jason Isaacs is an extremely nice guy who makes an extremely evil guy when circumstances require.
 
The "Awake" and "Brotherhood" star was battling a near-total vocal outage when we talked at last month's Sundance Film Festival, but he fought through the hoarseness to discuss his dark turn in "Sweetwater."
 
In the Miller Brothers' not-exactly-Western, Isaacs plays self-appointed prophet Josiah, who rules a small frontier fiefdom with the alleged word of God and an iron fist. A man of faith, Josiah is also heavily invested in worldly goods, including land, multiple wives and a band new mahogany desk from British Honduras. This all causes him to run afoul of the initially passive, but increasingly vengeful, Sarah (January Jones).
 
Josiah is not a good guy, but to hear Isaacs describe him, he's not exactly a bad guy either. Then again, Isaacs has a deep and abiding sympathy for Lucious Malfoy, the dastardly Death Eater he played in the Harry Potter franchise.
 
In our Sundance conversation, Isaacs discusses the fine art of playing villains without thinking of them as villains. He also talks about his love for Apple products and -- this will be exciting for fans of the short-lived "Awake" -- his desire to get back into TV this year. In fact, he says he's weighing several TV offers. 
 
Check out the full interview above...
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<p>&quot;Life of Pi,&quot;&nbsp;winner for fantasy film</p>

"Life of Pi," winner for fantasy film

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Anna Karenina,' 'Life of Pi' and 'Skyfall' win at the 17th annual Art Directors Guild Awards

'Anna' would appear to still be the Oscar favorite -- or is it?

The 17th annual Art Directors Guild awards were also held this evening. On the film side, as always, awards were given in three categories: period, fantasy and contemporary. Check out the nominees here.

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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: Morry Gash/AP

Music Power Rankings: Beyonce and Justin Bieber make the list

Why are Kelly Clarkson and Barbra Streisand in the top 5?

1. Beyonce: “...Any questions?”

2. Justin Bieber: He’s headed for his fifth No. 1 album next week with “Believe Acoustic,”  making him only the 10th artist to have a No. 1 album in four consecutive years.

3. Kelly Clarkson: She leads Forbes’ list of top-earning “American Idol” alumni with $8 million. While that’s about $7,950,000 than the average person makes, that still seems low to us.

4. Gary Allan: After making albums for 17 years, the country singer finally lands one atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Still, he’s got nothing on Tony Bennett who was 83 by the time he landed his first No. 1 album.

5. Barbra Streisand: Babs will perform at the Oscars, marking her first appearance at the show in 36 years. Hello and welcome back, gorgeous.

6. Justin Timberlake:
He brings sexyback to the Grammys with his first television appearance to support his new album, “The 20/20 Experience.” 

7. Miley Cyrus:
She leaves Disney far behind and signs with RCA. “Party In The USA, Parts 2-5” coming soon.

8. Chris Brown: He brawls with Frank Ocean in a studio parking lot and then compares himself to Jesus on the cross. I must have missed The Gospel According to Chris in the Bible.

9. The Eagles:
They sign with Capitol Records. We’ll see how high they fly again, especially on the wings of their new documentary, “A History of The Eagles.”

10. Alicia Keys: She’s named global creative director for BlackBerry. Do you think she thought they said Burberry?
 

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<p>&quot;Wreck-It&nbsp;Ralph&quot;</p>

"Wreck-It Ralph"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Wreck-It Ralph' wins big at 40th Annie Awards

Is Oscar next?

This year's Annie Awards did a nice job of spreading out the wealth. "Brave," "ParaNorman" and "Rise of the Guardians" all won multiple prizes. Indeed, the one film that seemed snubbed throughout was Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie." But it was "Wreck-It Ralph" that ended up with the most prizes (five), including the award for Best Animated Feature.

Elsewhere, "The Avengers" and "Life of Pi" predictably won awards in the live action races, while both "Head Over Heels" (student film) and "Paperman" (short subject) were recognized as well. On the latter, that certainly does little to clear up their odds of picking up the Best Animated Short Oscar. But more on those when we profile the category in the Oscar Guide next week.

Check out the full list of film winners below, and as always, keep up with all the ups and downs of the 2012-2013 film awards season via The Circuit.

And stick around. There are two other awards shows going on as you read, with more winners to come. Crazy day for the season.

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<p>Jemima Kirke and Chris O'Dowd in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Jemima Kirke and Chris O'Dowd in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Girls' - 'It's a Shame About Ray'

A tale of two dinner parties in which almost everything goes wrong

A quick review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as we have a look at the bad one...

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James Purefoy in "The Following"

 James Purefoy in "The Following"

Credit: Fox

HitFix Interview: 'The Following' villain James Purefoy talks guns and bogey monsters

Star admits his 'character could be dead by the end of the year'

As Joe Carroll, James Purefoy plays the ultimate control freak on the FOX show "The Following" (Mon. 9:00 p.m.). Carroll is a charming professor-turned-serial killer with a knack for getting other, seemingly normal people to do his bidding -- whether that's living undercover for years, killing themselves or offing someone else. I spoke to Purefoy at TCAs this winter and found that the English actor, who was previously best known for playing Marc Antony on the HBO series "Rome," may not have Carroll's lethal abilities, but he had lots of opinions about almost every topic from Newtown to anorexia to leash laws.  

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<p>The Oscar Guide is primed for its spotlight. Three weeks of wall-to-wall analysis!</p>

The Oscar Guide is primed for its spotlight. Three weeks of wall-to-wall analysis!

Credit: AP Photo

Coming next week: the Oscar Guide 2012

Time to dig in...

Just a note that last week's examination of the Best Documentary Short Subject category indeed represented the beginning of this year's Oscar Guide, our annual analysis of each category's nominees with an eye toward guessing the outcome of the Academy Awards. As always, it's possible that we could go back to earlier installments and update this or that prediction, which we'll make note of, but Monday the daily stuff starts in earnest. We'll have at least one per day, sometimes two. So check back for that then.

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<p>Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in &quot;House of Cards.&quot;</p>

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in "House of Cards."

Credit: Netflix

'House of Cards' producer Beau Willimon on writing for Kevin Spacey and David Fincher

'Ides of March' screenwriter served as showrunner for Netflix original drama
By the time you read this, you’ve had the opportunity to watch all 13 hours of Netflix’s “House of Cards,” though I’m guessing most of you haven’t had that kind of free time. (As I noted in my review yesterday, I’ve only seen the first two hours so far, and am not sure when I’ll get around to the remaining 11; if you've watched a lot already, please be vague, plot-wise, in your comments.) In the meantime, though, you can read my interview with the show’s executive producer and head writer, Beau Willimon, who was hired by director/producer David Fincher after impressing with his play “Farragut North” (which was adapted into the movie “Ides of March”).
 
At press tour last month, Willimon and I spoke about what pieces he borrowed from the original British “House of Cards,” how he and the rest of the TV neophytes involved in this series approached crafting 13 hours that could all be watched consecutively, and what contemporary TV dramas he enjoys.
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January Jones discusses wreaking vengeance in the Sundance film 'Sweetwater'

January Jones discusses wreaking vengeance in the Sundance film 'Sweetwater'

'Mad Men' star was already comfortable with firearms
PARK CITY, UTAH - In hiatuses from her Emmy nominated role as Betty Draper on "Mad Men," January Jones has somewhat unexpectedly gravitated towards a brawny brand of films. 
 
She messed with Liam Neeson's head in "Unknown." She displayed mutant powers in "X-Men: First Class." She set off Nicolas Cage's vigilante streak in "Seeking Justice."
 
In The Miller Brothers' 1880s-set not-quite-Western "Sweetwater," which premiered out-of-competition at last month's Sundance Film Festival, Jones' character makes all of those other roles look like so many Mothers Theresa.
 
Initially, Jones' Sarah is just a milquetoast frontier wife, but when tragedy hits her family, she goes on an escalating spree of revenge that leads her closer and closer to Jason Isaacs' Josiah, a prairie prophet with grand aspirations and delusions. Were this justice being meted out by a Clint Eastwood "Man With No Name," we wouldn't blink, but when it comes from a character who's a corset-wearing daughter of a prostitute, it becomes a revisionist discourse just waiting to happen.
 
Up in Park City during the Festival, I chatted with Jones about this role reversal and about the chance to play this sort of badass female lead. We talked about her native comfort with firearms and horseback-riding and about underplaying opposite flamboyant performances by co-stars Isaacs and Ed Harris. [I already posted the brief side conversation in which I was able to tell Jones the premiere date for the sixth season of "Mad Men," which she promises will feature a little more Betty.]
 
Check out the interview above.
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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: aP Photo

Justin Bieber poised to land album No. 5 at No. 1 on Billboard 200

Three other acts debut in the top 10

Justin Bieber will score his fifth No. 1 album next week with “Believe Acoustic.” The album, which includes stripped-down versions of the songs from 2012’s “Believe,” will sell up to 215,000, making it the biggest sales week for a January debut since Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”  sold 481,000 in 2010, according to Hits Daily Double.

Bieber’s title is one of four new albums bowing in the Billboard 200 top 10.  Andrea Bocelli’s “Passione” comes in at No. 2 with sales of up to 90,000 while twins Tegan & Sara’s “Heartthrob” will move up to 45,000 album, for the sisters’ best opening frame yet.

Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and this week’s No. 1 album, Gary Allan’s “Set You Free” are locked in a dead heat for No. 4, with both targeted to sell between 35,000 and 40,000.

Charlie Wilson’s “Love, Charlie” is the fourth debuting album this week. It will launch at No. 6 most likely, although “Love, Charlie,”  the “Pitch Perfect” soundtrack and The Lumineers’ self-titled album are all poised to sell in the 30,000-35,000 range, making the No. 6-8 spots too close to call.

Taylor Swift’s “Red” and the “2013 Grammy Nominees” album are also tied for No. 9 with three days left of sales to calculate. Both are slated to move between 23,000 and 26,000 copies.

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Reality TV Roundup: The latest on 'American Idol,' 'Top Chef' and more

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 

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