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"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Watch: 'Honey Boo Boo' hits the ice for 'A Very Boo Christmas'

Alana learns to ice skate, sort of

It's time for yet another holiday-themed special from Mama and the family, and in this preview from "A Very Boo Christmas" (airing Sun. Feb. 10 at 8:00 p.m.) it's time for ice-skating. Of course, a wholesome outing such as this can't set the tone for the whole show, which includes farting, jokes about the extra-thumbed baby, and Alana asking to get her ears pierced. For better or for worse, it seems the family hasn't let fame change them (much). 

Watch a clip from "A Very Boo Christmas." 

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<p>Charlize Theron in 'Snow White and the&nbsp;Huntsman&quot;</p>

Charlize Theron in 'Snow White and the Huntsman"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Visual Effects

'The Avengers,' 'The Hobbit,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Prometheus' and 'Snow White and the Huntsman' square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film.  A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

I can’t say the nominees in the Best Visual Effects category this year are unusual. We have three summer blockbusters, one Christmas blockbuster and one gorgeous 3D Best Picture contender. Two films could perhaps be considered “snubbed,” though.

“Cloud Atlas” being left off became more and more predictable as we got closer and closer to the nominees – this divisive bomb just wasn’t that loved in Hollywood. “The Dark Knight Rises,” however, is a surprising omission. It joins “Insomnia” and “Following” as rare Christopher Nolan films to be shut out of Oscar nominations. As far as the race for the win is concerned, this ranks right up with Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress as being a done deal.

The nominees are…

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<p>&quot;Django Unchained&quot;</p>

"Django Unchained"

Credit: Gallery1988/AMPAS

The Academy teams with Gallery1988 for Best Picture print exhibition

Which one is your favorite?

The Academy has teamed up with Gallery1988 in Los Angeles to present a new Oscar-centric exhibition, "For Your Consideration," featuring originally designed artwork for each of the nine Best Picture nominees this year.

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Listen: Dawes flies high with new single, 'From A Window Seat'

First single from new album, 'Stories Don't End' has hypnotic appeal

“When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,”  Dawes lead singer Taylor Goldsmith sings on the Southern California band’s bouncy “From A Window Seat,” the first single from the Jacquire King-produced “Stories Don’t End,” out April 9.

[More after the jump...]

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Listen: Fitz & The Tantrums release dance-happy 'Out of My League'

Listen: Fitz & The Tantrums release dance-happy 'Out of My League'

A different kind of retro

Fitz & The Tantrums earned a reputation for being a bit of a '70s soul-funk revival band as they grew in popularity in 2011 and 2012. For the recordings -- and for 2013 -- it looks like the sextet is bringing back a little of the '80s.

"Out of My League" is the first single from Fitz & The Tantrums' new album "More Than Just a Dream," and you can hear it below. The set will be out on May 7.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 105 -- Affleck wins another and the nominees do lunch

Oscar Talk: Ep. 105 -- Affleck wins another and the nominees do lunch

Also: Digging into the visual effects and animated categories

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

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<p>Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson in &quot;Hitchcock&quot;</p>

Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson in "Hitchcock"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar Guide: 2013: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

'Hitchcock,' 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' and 'Les Misérables' square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film.  A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

The first year of “Best Makeup and Hairstyling” doesn’t suggest much has changed in this category with the hairstylists now being more prominently recognized. We continue to have a biopic where a famous actor was transformed into a famous historical figure, a historical epic with aging and battle wounds, and a fantasy epic which created many a monster.

As this category was whittled down to seven bake-off finalists and three nominees, there were surprise omissions at both the first (“Cloud Atlas”) and second (“Lincoln”) stages. But for those of us who have watched this category for years, we have come to realize nothing can really be considered a surprise with this lot. And this year, the category is WIDE OPEN. That is refreshing.

The nominees are…

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<p>At least one Academy member is voting for &quot;Silver Linings Playbook&quot; across the board.</p>

At least one Academy member is voting for "Silver Linings Playbook" across the board.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: Inside the minds of three Oscar voters

Also: The politics of the In Memoriam montage, and 'Lincoln' vs. Connecticut

Various outlets do features along these lines every year, but for some reason, getting Academy members to share their ballots anonymous never loses its thrill for me -- they may just be single voices out of 6000-plus members, but they often make it that much easier to understand where certain Oscar voting trends are coming from. The LA Times has printed the picks of three members -- a producer, director and actor, two of them former nominees themselves -- with commentary. The actor is clearly indicative of where the Academy's "Silver Linings Playbook" love has been coming from, voting for it in every possible category, while the producer and director spread their affections around a little more, with "Zero Dark Thirty," "Argo," "Lincoln" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" all getting some respect. No unanimous choices, either. [LA Times]

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<p>Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper in &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper in "The Office."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'The Office' - 'Couples Discount'

Ed Helms returns, but do even 'The Office' writers know what a terrible character Andy's become?

A quick review of last night's "The Office" coming up just as soon as we go outside to play catch...

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<p>That photo is such a lie, and I&nbsp;love how everything about the marketing of 'Side Effects' is a giant elbow to the ribs of the audience.</p>

That photo is such a lie, and I love how everything about the marketing of 'Side Effects' is a giant elbow to the ribs of the audience.

Credit: Open Road

Review: 'Side Effects' gives Rooney Mara a killer role in a sly Soderbergh thriller

Jude Law lets his inner weirdo out to play in a key supporting part

If this is how Steven Soderbergh decides to go out, let it be known he was playing games right up till the bitter end.

One of the interesting things about Soderbergh's career has been how low key the marketing on many of his films has been.  Considering how prominent he's  been in the Hollywood landscape since "sex, lies and videotapes" first vaunted him to fame, Soderbergh's films often feel like stealth events when they arrive in theaters.  Considering this is the last theatrical release he's supposedly ever directing, "Side Effects" arrives in theaters with surprisingly little fanfare, and when I walked into the theater, I hadn't seen anything.  Not a photo.  Not a trailer.

I've said before that there are two different versions of a film.  There's the version that is seen by the audience that has seen the trailers and the clips and the commercials, who walks in with a certain degree of the movie spoiled because that's how we sell movies these days.  They're the ones who walked into "Terminator 2" knowing full well that Arnold was not only back, but that he was the good guy this time.  They're the ones who sit through movies that have twist endings waiting for the twist ending.  Even if they don't know what it is, they know it's coming.  Then there's the version of the film that someone sees nine years later when they're at home one day and they see that the next thing on cable is called "Side Effects," and they've never heard of it, but they see that it's a Soderbergh film with Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum in it, and they decide to watch it, and whatever the narrative does, it hits them cold and the script works the way it's supposed to work in a vacuum.  If you see "Terminator 2" and you somehow haven't been spoiled at all, the first time Arnold appears, it looks like he's the bad guy again.  There's no indication that he's anything but The Terminator until he fires past John Connor and hits Robert Patrick.  That's the beat where suddenly the first film implodes and we realize something else is going on this time.  If it can work on you in that perfect vacuum, without being ruined at all, it's a very special narrative experience, and I value them when they occur.

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'Beautiful Creatures' star Emmy Rossum discusses Ridley's new style, future

'Beautiful Creatures' star Emmy Rossum discusses Ridley's new style, future

'Shameless' star enjoyed playing the bad girl
In Richard LaGravenese's "Beautiful Creatures," Emmy Rossum's Ridley Duchannes captures the essence of the character from Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's bestselling YA novel, while making dramatic and effective external changes. 
Gone is the lollypop-sucking Lolita with the pink streaks in her hair and the cosplay wardrobe. Instead, the character has a still-sexy Old Hollywood glamour that makes the linkage between Ridley's dark caster powers as a man-luring siren and the fact that retro movie starlets were also called sirens. 
I sat down with Rossum last weekend and we discussed Ridley's big screen makeover and her inspirations, as well as a new scene that explores Ridley's Claiming, the moment she became a dark caster.
I was a bit less successful in getting Rossum to go along with my attempted thematic linkage between Ridley and Fiona, her character on Showtime's "Shameless." Not all reportorial tangents can be successful and I still insist this one makes sense.
Finally, Rossum seems excited about exploring Ridley's progression in potential sequels, though she gives away a plot point from the new book in Garcia and Stohl's saga. She does, however, offer a helpful "spoiler warning."
Check out the full interview above.
Stay tuned over the next week for more interests with the stars of "Beautiful Creatures," including Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis.
"Beautiful Creatures" opens on February 14.
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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'Surprise Me'

Designers must dress Heidi Klum for a fragrance launch - and some stink

Hey, guess what! Each season of "Project Runway" has a certain number of challenges in which our poor, hardworking designers must be slave labor for the judges, and that's begun in earnest tonight. I kind of hate these challenges, mostly because they reek of labor law violations, but also because they usually suck. Remember the mommy and me challenge? The ugly workout clothing challenge? The dressing Nina challenge? Let's hope this one, which is Heidi-centric, at least doesn't force the designers to create plus-size T-shirts for a Walmart line or overalls for NASCAR. You think I'm joking. All I think is that someone in marketing for the show just hasn't made the deal yet.

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