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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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<p>&quot;Red Tails&quot;</p>

"Red Tails"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Red Tails' defeats 'Beasts,' 'Django Unchained' and 'Flight' at the NAACP Image Awards

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis win top acting honors

I suppose it's a bit of a surprise that the George Lucas-produced "Red Tails" beat out some stiff Oscar competition in Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and Robert Zemeckis's "Flight," so there it is. But the wealth was spread, as Benh Zeitlin, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington all received prizes. In fact, Washington won three awards on the night, taking Best Actress in a Drama Series ("Scandal") and the President's Award for public service in addition to her supporting prize for "Django." Check out the full list of motion picture winners below, and as always, keep track of the season via The Circuit.

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<p>Taylor Swift with the Civil Wars</p>

Taylor Swift with the Civil Wars

Grammy Awards 2013: Handicapping Best Country Duo/Group Performance

Can Taylor Swift top Little Big Town or Eli Young Band?

As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance Nominees:
"Even If It Breaks Your Heart" – Eli Young Band
"Pontoon" – Little Big Town
"Safe & Sound" – Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars
"On The Outskirts Of Town" – The Time Jumpers
"I Just Come Here For The Music" – Don Williams featuring Alison Krauss


WHO’S MISSING: This is one of the categories that got created in 2012 when the Grammys shrunk the number of awards from 109 to 78. It blends the previously separate categories of best country performance by a duo or group with vocal, best country collaboration with vocals and best country instrumental performance. In other words, ongoing groups are contending with one-off performances. Because of the consolidation, worthy acts like  Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band and The Band Perry got left by the wayside.

THE PLAYERS: Despite the acts I mentioned above, country music is dominated by solo acts right now. Of Billboard’s Top 50 country songs for 2012, only 11 were by duos or groups. Here’s where the Grammy Awards veer radically from country-only awards like the Country Music Awards or the Academy of Country Music Awards: the Grammys look at artists like The Time Jumpers or Don Williams/Alison Krauss, who seldom get airplay and are on the fringe of current country and plop them down alongside the hottest names.

THE ODDS: If only the Nashville community voted on this award it would go to Little Big Town for “Pontoon,” the coed quartet’s first No. 1 single after years of toiling away. However,  if interlopers are voting, they could sway the vote to Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars (The Civil Wars won last year). Then again, it’s a foolish person who bets against Alison Krauss: she has won more Grammys than any other female, even more than Barbra Streisand. Since this is only the second year in the category, it’s hard to spot any trend.

THE WINNER:
Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars, “Safe & Sound”

Previous Predictions:

Best Rock Song
Best R&B Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best New Artist



 

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<p>Wolverine may have more to worry about than a single robot head in 'X-Men:&nbsp;Days Of Future Past'</p>

Wolverine may have more to worry about than a single robot head in 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Mark Millar discusses Sentinels, Kitty Pryde, and 'Days Of Future Past'

Sounds like they're making some great choices for the new film

Mark Millar has obviously discovered the trick to cloning human beings, and he's used himself as a test subject.  Sure, I can't prove that, but it's really the only possible explanation for his omnipresence right now.

He's got new comic titles dropping constantly, he edits CLiNT magazine, he curates the annual Kapow! event, and now he's also employed by 20th Century Fox, who brought him in to help create a cohesive world for their Marvel properties.  That last job is the one I'm most curious about, because Millar is, by his very nature, a deconstructionist.  Much of his work has been about pulling these icons apart and reassembling them in new ways.

As Fox gets ready to make "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," it feels like this is a make or break moment for their franchise.  I like most of the movies that have been made about the X-Men so far, but I think they're in a weird position right now.  Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men: First Class" essentially rebooted the film universe, and in doing so, made several choices that ignored the continuity of the Singer films and Ratner's "Last Stand," while also doing a few things that tied directly into the Singer films.

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<p>Joe King</p>

Joe King

Exclusive Interview: The Fray’s Joe King stepping out solo with KING

King isn’t stepping off, though: The Fray aim for Q4 release

The Fray’s Joe King is ready to step out solo with a new pop-oriented project, with a radio-ready single and an album in the wings. The Colorado-based songwriter will be releasing new music under the simple name KING and aims to release an EP of fresh material by April. 

Since starting out 11 years ago, The Fray has featured King and singer Isaac Slade splitting songwriting duties, each track a collaboration. After three albums, some No. 1 hit singles and millions of tickets sold, King felt that the time was now to hunker down and release tracks that are all his, from writing to the performance.
 
The project has been in the works for a year-and-a-half, with songs produced as the band has been on tour. Now, as The Fray are in-between albums in the release cycle, King knew the time was right. He’d be able to make the solo effort he wanted and still remain with the band.
 
“There comes a bit of a downside when you’re writing these songs, and you end up letting your best friend sing them. It’s worked, and he’s the only other person I ever want to sing them. He’s a great singer, and I’m not trying to throw that whole thing. But creatively, it became such an urge. I kept thinking ‘I’m ready for this,’” he said in our recent interview. “It’s been talked about. I just hadn’t been in the place to do it.”
 
On a personal level, the 32-year-old hitmaker found himself in a “place” he’d never been before. Married when he was 19, King is now divorced, with some free time and some new “beginnings.”
 
“Post-divorce and dating girls… Man, yeah, I’ve never done that. I’ve only been with one woman, so I definitely started to experience things and new ways of thinking. Making this album became this self-discovery thing,” he said. 
 
The result, in part, is lead single “Need a Woman” featuring Trombone Shorty, with the hooky refrain “I need a woman by Friday.” The first lyric: “I get addicted to beginnings.”
 
"It’s about loving the beginnings of something, the flirtatiousness and that energy.”
 
Sonically, “Need a Woman” is synth-driven and uplifting, King’s rich, consonant-heavy vocals balanced with high keyboard pings and persistent programmed drums. And it does not at all sound like the Fray, nor what one would really call a “breakup record.”
 
“I didn’t want it to sound like a stripped down, acoustic, real melancholy piano thing. On so many solo records, that kind of thing’s really obvious. Not that that's bad -- everyone wants to do a Ray Lamontagne record. But I didn’t want to play coffeeshops,” he said. “I became obsessed with Peter Gabriel and his breakaway from Genesis, because it doesn’t sound like a solo thing. His approach to production, the blending of synth bass and real drums, programmed drums and real drums… I love that ‘80s blending of instruments.”
 
Helping with the aesthetic was Brooklyn producer Adam Pallin, who would swap tracks with King remotely, and other Denverites like Patrick Meese (Tennis, Meese) and Grammy Award-winning artist/producer Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic). He’d bounce his songs off of other area musicians, like Immaculate Noise favorite Nathaniel Rateliff.
 
“I did all of my vocals at [Tedder’s] place. He’s like Nathaniel. They’ll play something for you and it’ll just kinda kick your ass. They’ll show you what they’re working on and you’ll be like, ‘F*ck, I gotta step up my game,’” King said. “Someone told me, ‘Don’t do this because you’re reacting to The Fray.’ And I’m not, it’s not a brush-off to what The Fray does. It’s hard being the songwriter continuing to write songs for 10 years and then after a while it becomes empty when you don’t have an outlet. It’s a family, you have to change it up and push yourself.”
 
So just what does his family think of the music? King didn’t want to play the songs for the rest of The Fray until they were in finished form. So it was only at the end of December they sat down.
 
“These are my brothers, I care more about what they think about than my mother. As I hit play, I thought, am I having an affair?” he said. “After it ended, it was the response I dreamed of. Ben clapped. Isaac was like, ‘Holy sh*t.’ Dave was dead silent, and that’s Dave for you. Ben was like, ‘All I cared about was that it doesn’t sound like The Fray.’”
 
Now King is shopping KING to labels with plans for a five-song, as-yet-untitled EP due this spring and hopes that “Need a Woman,” when it's released, becomes a 2013 summer jam.
 
And this is not at all to say that The Fray – who have best-sellers like “How to Save a Life” and “You Found Me” – won’t have more hits of their own. King is confident KING set won’t interfere with his band’s album-making schedule, as the group is currently writing for their fourth full-length for an estimated Q4 release this year.
 
“As I’ve been talking to labels, they rightly asked ‘How’s it gonna work with The Fray?’ But I’m not as concerned about that. It’s just now I feel that same anxiety I felt seven years ago, when The Fray was about to put out [the album ‘How to Save a Life’]. I’m thinking, Are people gonna like this? I believe in it. I think its good. It’s a happy, confident new artist anxiety.”

 

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