<p>George Clooney in a short clip on the teaser site for Alexander Payne's &quot;The Descendants&quot;</p>

George Clooney in a short clip on the teaser site for Alexander Payne's "The Descendants"

George Clooney and Alexander Payne tease 'The Descendants'

Who is he?

It's extremely rare for anyone to get too excited about a movie teaser site these days, but when it features the first look at the long awaited return of a critically acclaimed filmmaker people take notice.

This morning Fox Searchlight launched a site for Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" which features a short clip of star George Clooney running around a Hawaii neighborhood only to stop and ask two other actors "Who is he?"  You can watch the clip at the appropriately titled who-ishe.org site here.

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<p>Philip Seymour Hoffman is confirmed for Paul Thomas Anderson's new untitled drama.</p>

Philip Seymour Hoffman is confirmed for Paul Thomas Anderson's new untitled drama.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Oscar Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson and Weinstein Company take on Scientology?

Plus: Steve Carell and Keira Knightley's latest finds Focus

Paul Thomas Anderson latest project may be his most political and The Weinstein Company has come aboard full steam to support the Oscar-nominated filmmaker.  Anderson's sixth film, once titled "The Master," but now officially called "The Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project," will be distributed by Weinstein worldwide sometime in 2013.  

As first reported by Deadline, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix are locked for the picture's leads and a search is on for actresses to portray the film's female roles.  The big question  is how close the film's final screenplay will be to the origins of Scientology.  All that is currently known is that it centers on Hoffman's character returning from the horrors of WW II and struggling to find himself.  In the process, he creates a "belief system" that quickly finds other followers.  Anderson's long in the works script has been rumored as a critical take of the controversial religion, but it's unclear if he's broadened the spotlight to organized religion in general or limiting his focus to L. Ron Hubbard's creation.

More importantly, the new film is Anderson's first film since the critically acclaimed "There Will Be Blood" in 2007.  Despite his stellar reputation with film critics and cinefiles, Anderson has never won an Academy Award (although he has five nominations to his credit).  It may surprise many to realize his biggest honor to date was winning best director for "Punch-Drunk Love" at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.  Teaming Anderson with Harvey Weinstein, who is coming off a major Oscar comeback with "The King's Speech," should be a powerful pairing for the 2012-2013 awards season.  Assuming the film's any good of course…

In other year-round Oscar bait news…

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<p>Tom Hiddleston in Kenneth Branagh's &quot;Thor.&quot;</p>

Tom Hiddleston in Kenneth Branagh's "Thor."

Credit: Marvel Studios

'Thor' in 2D makes a solid creative argument against the 3D boom

Will Hollywood take notice?

After first seeing Kenneth Brangh's "Thor" two weeks ago I was frustrated and exasperated.  It wasn't because I thought the movie was bad, the problem was I honestly couldn't judge what I'd just spent almost two hours watching. 

Paramount Pictures had smartly screened "Thor" for the media in the gorgeous Paramount Theater on their Melrose Ave. lot, but in the "intended" 3D environment (or at least how they home most moviegoers will see it) with no option of seeing it in 2D.  The Paramount Theater is rarely available for public use, but it has been one of the finest and most comfortable screens in Los Angeles since it was built in the mid-90s.  Having worked for the studio at one time, I've had the luck to first see "Titanic," "Sleepy Hollow," "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and more recently as a journalist "Flags of our Fathers," "Star Trek," "Iron Man," "Transformers" and "Shutter Island," among others, on this great, giant screen (and yes, I've seen some god awful films there too). 

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<p>John Hawkes and Elizabeth Olsen in a terrifying scene from &quot;Martha Marcy May Marlene.&quot;</p>

John Hawkes and Elizabeth Olsen in a terrifying scene from "Martha Marcy May Marlene."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Watch: Elizabeth Olsen's breakout turn in new 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' trailer

Are we looking at one of 2012's best actress nominees?

One of the most impressive performances at this year's Sundance Film Festival (and there were many) came from Elizabeth Olsen in the new drama "Martha Marcy May Marlene."  The psychological drama won director Sean Durkin a prize from the festival's dramatic jury, but Olsen ended up falling behind "Like Crazy's" Felicity Jones in the acting category.  If there is any justice, both will be nominated for best actress eight months from now.  

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<p>Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson in the hilarious &quot;The Guard&quot;&nbsp;which first debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, but will play LA&nbsp;Film Fest in June.</p>

Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson in the hilarious "The Guard" which first debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, but will play LA Film Fest in June.

Credit: Sony Classics

LA Film Fest supplies an early award season look at 'Another Earth,' 'The Guard' and 'Project Nim'

What blockbuster films will be added to the fest later on?

Prestige films will return to the spotlight at the Cannes Film Festival later this month, but back on this side of the Atlantic, numerous potential end of year players are already starting to make some noise before their domestic releases.  From Mike Mills' "Beginners" to Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," there are numerous critic's favorites heading toward theaters that have debuted elsewhere.  An annual showcase for these films is the Los Angeles Film Festival which is returning downtown for the second year in a row next month.

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<p>Jason Schwartzman and Wes Anderson in 2007.&nbsp; The longtime collaborators will reunite once more in &quot;Moonrise Kingdom.&quot;</p>

Jason Schwartzman and Wes Anderson in 2007.  The longtime collaborators will reunite once more in "Moonrise Kingdom."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Oscar Watch: Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' finds its Focus

Plus: Which prestigious film school received zero Student Academy Award nominations this year?

Considering the critical acclaim and cult following among cinefiles Wes Anderson has received over the past 13 years, it's surprising how little love Oscar has thrown his way.  Anderson only has two nominations to his credit so far: the first for co-writing "The Royal Tenenbaums" with Owen Wilson and, second, as director of best animated feature nominee "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."  You could argue that Anderson likely doesn't play the awards season game, but his producers and actors certainly have.  Now, after releasing his last two films through Fox Searchlight (a mini-major that knows something about Oscar), Anderson is taking his new live action project, "Moonrise Kingdom," to Focus Features (another mini-major that knows something about Oscar).

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<p>Romeo of 'Dancing with the Stars'</p>

Romeo of 'Dancing with the Stars'

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' Performances - The Top 6

With expert coaching, some celebs bring their A game – and some flop
We’re down to the final six, and as Tom Bergeron helpfully points out, one bad dance could get any one of our dancing stars kicked out of the competition. Or not really, since this is a popularity contest and talent is almost beside the point. Come on, it’s the only thing that explains Kendra coming back week after week. The judges might as well go for a sandwich during her performances. On the bright side, Kendra can take some comfort in knowing that, even after giving up the Playboy lifestyle, those implants are still paying off.
[Full recap of Monday's (May 2) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...]
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<p>The good old days when random TV&nbsp;broadcast reporters announced the Golden Globes.</p>

The good old days when random TV broadcast reporters announced the Golden Globes.

Golden Globes have a 2012 date but will they air on NBC?

Anybody excited about a press conference again?

After taking a deep sign of relief that the Academy has decided to keep the Oscars in February next year as opposed to crashing their traditional January date, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced key dates for the 69th Golden Globe Awards. 

Truthfully, there are only three dates that really matter for the Globes:

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<p>The Academy Awards will return Feb. 26, 2012.</p>

The Academy Awards will return Feb. 26, 2012.

Credit: AP Photo

84th Academy Awards stay conservative with 2012 schedule

It's same old same old for Oscar's key events

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the key dates for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. 

Continuing scuttlebutt aside about moving up the calendar of events, there will be no dramatic change in the overall schedule. As expected, this year's Oscars will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012.  Continuing scuttlebutt aside about moving up the calendar of events, there will be no dramatic change in the overall schedule.  Nomination ballots will be due the Friday before the Golden Globes air.  Nominations will be announced during the fourth week of January and in the middle of the Sundance Film Festival once again (silly across the board). 

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John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin create a spark in 'Something Borrowed'

John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin create a spark in 'Something Borrowed'

'The Office' and 'Big Love' meet in a May romantic comedy


In all honesty, John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin were not on my list of favorite actors recently.  That might be hard for fans of "The Office" or "Big Love" to believe, but neither actor has shown much life on the less forgiving big screen. Well, that is up until now.

Goodwin, for example, was fine as Margene on "Big Love," but she was annoyingly whiny in "He's Just Not That Into You" (I believe the term was "nails on a chalkboard").  Krasinski, on the other hand, was a refreshing surprise in his breakout role on "The Office," but his work in "License to Wed" was painful and he's hardly the most memorable part of "Away We Go" (assuming you're a cult fan of the dramedy which this writer is not).  He showed some charm in George Clooney's underrated "Leatherheads," but was it because he surprisingly just fits in period movies? (See Renee Zellwegger's career, surprise, also in "Leatherheads").  So, imagine my surprise when the most appealing aspect of the new Warner Bros. romantic comedy "Something Borrowed" are the winning performances from both Goodwin and Krasinski.

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