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Oscar Talk: Ep. 96 -- Thanksgiving on the way, 'Anna Karenina' and 'Silver Linings' open

Oscar Talk: Ep. 96 -- Thanksgiving on the way, 'Anna Karenina' and 'Silver Linings' open

Also: Surveying Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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>Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin in &quot;30 Rock.&quot;</p>

Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin in "30 Rock."

Credit: NBC

Review: '30 Rock' - 'Aunt Phatso vs. Jack Donaghy'

Tracy models a movie character after Jack, while Hazel takes advantage of Liz

A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I say "guards, seize him!" at a Knicks game...

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<p>Helen Hunt in &quot;The Sessions.&quot;</p>

Helen Hunt in "The Sessions."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Roundup: Helen Hunt to receive Spotlight Award at Palm Springs fest

Also: American Cinematheque honors Ben Stiller, and celebrating 'Argo' attire

With Best Supporting Actress still the least defined of this year's four acting races, Helen Hunt currently seems as likely a frontrunner as anyone for her work in "The Sessions": partly because she's excellent in a well-liked film, and partly because, as Jennifer Hudson can attest, it doesn't hurt to be nominated in supporting for a lead role. Hunt's trophy trail began yesterday with the announcement that she is to receive the Spotlight Award at January's Palm Springs International Film Festival. It's an honor that has previously alighted on Jessica Chastain and Amy Adams en route to an Oscar nod, and while seemingly small, it's a well-timed opportunity for some California-based exposure and gladhanding as the race heats up. Everything counts. [Thompson on Hollywood

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Darren Criss and Vanessa Lengies on 'Glee'

Here's two people I like on "Glee": Darren Criss and Vanessa Lengies

Credit: Fox

'Glee' recap: 'Glease' is not a word

'That's unfortunate, but it doesn't really have anything to do with us.'

How low has "Glee" sunk? They're writing their own reviews.

"Three words: 'Grease.' McKinley. Bravo," raved some idiot from the McKinley High newspaper.

I've got two words for that: Yeah, right.

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<p>I have no idea what's going on here, but it sounds like I'll learn all about 'Secret Service' in the very near future.</p>

I have no idea what's going on here, but it sounds like I'll learn all about 'Secret Service' in the very near future.

Credit: ICON

Mark Millar promises a new 'Secret Service' film 'every two or three years'

Twitter's become a bullhorn for the busy comic mogul

Mark Millar seems to have hit a groove right now that is sort of amazing to watch unfold.  For a long time, he was the guy with a lot of development deals, the guy whose work was sort of inching its way towards the big screen, and then that Russian madman and Hollywood vets Brandt and Haas figured out how to pull off "Wanted," and Matthew Vaughn sort of lost his mind for "Kick-Ass" and pushed it through before anyone realized what was going on, and suddenly everything's coming up roses.

His recently announced deal with Fox where he's consulting with them on their Marvel titles is a great gig, and we'll see how much they follow his lead.  We'll see if they can pull off something fun with their next wave of movies, and if they finally get to do something of the crazier stuff they have the rights to do, like that "Deadpool" movie.  I have no idea what his plans are, and that's a good thing.  I know that the creative team on "Fantastic Four" is amazing (Josh Trank direting and Jeremy Slater writing) and that "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" sounds like a promising direction for the series with Singer returning for the first time since "X-Men 2."  That's actually sort of a huge deal based on how badly that relationship ended when he left to do "Superman Returns," and I'm curious to see if we see Sentinels right away at the start of the film as the giant extended middle finger to Rothman on his way out the door.

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'Breaking Dawn' director Bill Condon talks changes from Stephenie Meyer's book

'Breaking Dawn' director Bill Condon talks changes from Stephenie Meyer's book

Helmer also says how his stars are different from their public images
I suppose it was my fault, but my interview with "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" director Bill Condon involved more discussion of "Dreamgirls" than I might have expected.
 
The thing that most "Twilight" fans probably don't realize is that Condon previously stared down a rabidly devoted fanbase when he adapted that beloved musical, steering Jennifer Hudson to Oscar gold. But don't worry, Condon is quick to note that "Twilight" fans are the more passionate lot. 
 
In our conversation, Condon discusses his confidence that those fans will enjoy The Scene We Can't Discuss from "Breaking Dawn - Part 2," the scene that isn't exactly in Stephenie Meyer's book and that's sure to cause plenty of rumbling (positively and, perhaps, negatively). 
 
He also talks about his three stars and how they differ from their public image, or at least how two of them differ. Which one lines up with their reputation? You'll have to watch the full interview.
 
This is the last of my "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" video interviews. I've already posted my "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" interviews with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner and Elizabeth Reaser & Nikki Reed and Kellan Lutz & Jackson Rathbone and Michael Sheen.

I still have a long written Q&A with writer Melissa Rosenberg to post tomorrow. 

Assuming it's midnight wherever you are, the film is now in theaters.

 

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"Project Runway All Stars"

 "Project Runway All Stars"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'Made in the USA Today'

They need to create headlines, but one gets a career obit

We kick things off the way we always do -- with a useless introduction from the host. Carolyn Murphy imitates Heidi Klum, but without the German accent that makes the bitchy attitude oddly endearing. Carolyn tells the designers it's time for the first fan interactive challenge! Which Joanna Coles will explain! In the workroom! Do we really have to stick with this stupid structure? Come on, Lifetime, this show is only an hour! And those poor designers have to go to two locations for no stinking reason!

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<p>Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Michael Palin all appear through the magic of animation in 'A Liar's Autobiography'</p>

Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese and Michael Palin all appear through the magic of animation in 'A Liar's Autobiography'

Credit: Brainstorm Media

Review: 'A Liar's Autobiography' is a disappointing look at Graham Chapman's life

Even with Chapman speaking for himself, the film just doesn't work

When I discovered Monty Python, I fell head over heels for them as soon as I saw them.  It wasn't a case of gradually getting interested in their work.  There are plenty of things that required repeat exposure before I formed a full opinion, but not with Python.  I was in fifth grade, and a friend named Craig Carver had me over to his house one afternoon.  He told me he had a movie to show me that would blow my mind, and in this particular case, he was right.  "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" felt to me like something I had been waiting for my whole life, a secret language that I spoke as soon as I heard it.

I quickly found myself obsessed with them, watching "Flying Circus" anytime it aired, tracking down their other movies.  When "Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life" came out, I talked my way into seeing it in the theater three different times, delighted each time to see the horror that washed over everyone when they reached the Mr. Creosote sequence.  I bought the records they put out ("Matching Tie and Handkerchief" was a particular favorite) and I memorized all of it.

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes'

Hallucinations aren't the worst of Elena's problems

Well, I've got to hand it to "The Vampire Diaries." Just when you think you know where the show is going, it throws you a bloody, bitten curve ball. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes it's just depressing and sad. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about the latest one, or whether it belongs in the former category or the latter one, but I think we can all agree it's a doozy. 

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<p>Aubrey Plaza, Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones in &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Aubrey Plaza, Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones in "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Leslie vs. April'

Leslie meets Joe Biden, and we return to Lot 48

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as my job is exciting enough for there to be a show on A&E about it...

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Will Taylor Swift or Rihanna be the big American Music Awards winner?
Credit: AP Photo

Will Taylor Swift or Rihanna be the big American Music Awards winner?

We predict a sweep for One Direction

This Sunday, the 40th American Music Awards will take place in Los Angeles. While the awards don’t have the prestige of the Grammys, they have something that the Grammys don’t: the winners are voted on by the fans. That means that One Direction will win in every category for which they are nominated. The AMAs also have another great advantage-- and this is why acts like Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and Linkin Park will be performing: the show happens right before major holiday shopping begins so it’s an excellent chance for acts to get in front of their fans to remind them that their new album will make a most excellent stocking stuffer.

Below are our predictions for Sunday night. Remember, the fans pick the winners (the nominees are determined by a number of criteria, including sales and airplay), so the trophy doesn’t necessarily go to who is most deserving, it goes to who has the most ardent fan base...sort of like “Dancing With the Stars” or “American Idol.”

The American Music Awards air live from the Nokia Theater at 8 p.m. ET.

New artist of the year:
J. Cole
fun.
Gotye
Carly Rae Jepsen
One Direction

It’s a fine list and some of these artists will no doubt find their way into the Grammy best new artist category (although Cole already got nominated for that honor last year). Fun. may seem like the act with the longest career potential, but given that One Direction’s fans have already worn their fingers to the nubs voting, this one goes to 1D.

Winner: One Direction


Male artist, pop/rock:
Justin Bieber
Flo Rida
Pitbull
Usher

Hmmm...not a lot of rock in this pop/rock category, is there? That’s because there are few male solo rockers making a lot of noise right now.  Also, with the inclusion of Flo Rida, Pitbull and Usher, it’s clear that pop and R&B and rap all appeal to the same audience now. Justin Bieber continues to defy the odds and is showing much more staying power than the usual teen phenom.

Winner: Justin Bieber


Female artist, pop/rock:
Kelly Clarkson
Nicki Minaj
Katy Perry
Rihanna

All of these artists are very popular and all have had great years. Since she’s between album cycles, Katy Perry may be at a slight disadvantage here.  Clarkson is so popular, but she probably can’t compete with the ardency of Minaj’s and Rihanna’s fans. This is a contest between Minaj’s Barbies and Rihanna’s Navy. We’re going with the military.

Winner: Rihanna


Band, duo or group, pop/rock:
fun.
Maroon 5
One Direction
The Wanted

Again, there’s a paucity of rock acts here. The Wanted had one hit. We’re not saying they are done, but they can’t compete with the likes of fun. or Maroon 5 when it comes to radio supremacy or One Direction when it comes to teen phenoms. Maroon 5 has had an incredible resurgence over the past year, but, again, their fans won’t come out in the same number  as One Direction’s.

Winner: One Direction


Male artist, country:
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church

The three hottest male solo acts will duke it out here for bragging rights...if you don't count Blake Shelton as one of the hottest male country artists right now (rolling my eyes). All three are buddies and are, in fact, racing up the country charts right now with Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know,” which features Luke Bryan and Eric Church. All three have great careers going right now, but Aldean still outsells both of them both in record sales and ticket sales.

Winner: Jason Aldean


Female artist, country:

Miranda Lambert
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

It’s nice that Taylor Swift is nominated, even though she didn’t have an album out during the eligibility period, but it also shows that she can step away and there aren’t other solo female artists to take her place. Carrie Underwood has had a great year and is coming off a No. 1 single with “Blown Away,” but Miranda Lambert is just unstoppable these days.

Winner: Miranda Lambert


Band, duo or group, country:
Zac Brown Band
Lady Antebellum
Rascal Flatts

What? No The Band Perry? That’s a pretty noticeable omission. Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum had fans that extend beyond country die-hards and that could help them with the voting here, but the Flattheads love their boys. All three acts have had strong years, but Lady A has the largest base.

Winner: Lady Antebellum

Artist, rap/hip-hop
Drake
Nicki Minaj
Tyga

Know why this category isn’t split into male and female? Because there aren’t enough hit-making female rappers to fill out their own group. Maybe one day that will change and Missy Elliott is returning so Nicki Minaj will have some company. This one isn’t even a contest. It’s Minaj for the win.

Winner: Nicki Minaj

Male artist, soul/R&B:

Chris Brown
Trey Songz
Usher

Usher’s album was an artistic triumph, if not the commercial success of some of his past efforts, but Chris Brown, who seemed to release a new song every week, appears to have completely overcome his past troubles and his fans really stand behind him.  Trey Songz rounds out the category nicely, but Brown is the winner.

Winner: Chris Brown

Female artist, soul/R&B:
Beyoncé
Mary J. Blige
Rihanna

Beyoncé is a fan favorite, but, like Taylor Swift, she hasn’t been working a new album this year.  Mary J. Blige is so awesome that the award should be named after her, but she has an older demo that won’t likely get out the vote for her. Rihanna, who just keeps releasing hit after hit after hit is a one-woman jukebox.

Winner: Rihanna


Artist, alternative rock:

The Black Keys
Gotye
Linkin Park

What a wacky grouping of artists. They couldn’t be more different. Gotye had one hit, but what a mighty hit it was. Both the Black Keys and Linkin Park put out albums that continued the trajectory they were on, but didn’t seem to take them to new heights. Still, LP’s fans are powerful

Winner: Linkin Park


Artist, adult contemporary:
Adele
Kelly Clarkson
Train

Really? There’s not even a discussion to be had for this one.

Winner: Adele

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<p>The SEALs have words with Sam (Scott Speedman)&nbsp;on &quot;Last Resort.&quot;</p>

The SEALs have words with Sam (Scott Speedman) on "Last Resort."

Credit: ABC

Review: 'Last Resort' - 'Nuke It Out'

Marcus and Sam hunt for the missing missile key, and Serrat causes more trouble for the crew

A review of tonight's "Last Resort" coming up just as soon as I compare you to Kurt Cobain...

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