Dear Academy members: Don't forget these contenders

Dear Academy members: Don't forget these contenders

Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Oscar Isaac, James Franco and more

No one likes to be told what to do, but with just two real days left for Academy members to submit their votes for the 86th Academy Awards ask our Oscar friends to indulge us in some unsolicited advice.  It may be their last chance to do the right thing before history is signed, sealed and delivered.

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'American Hustle' and 'August: Osage County' stars rule the Palm Springs Gala red carpet

'American Hustle' and 'August: Osage County' stars rule the Palm Springs Gala red carpet

Plus: Sandra Bullock, Colin Farrell, Tom Hanks and more

A slew of former Oscar winners and nominees headed to the desert for the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards gala Saturday evening.  The reason for the 2 hour plus ride from Los Angeles? Well, almost all of the famous faces on hand are hoping to earn Academy Award nominations later this month or assist a specific film in landing a best picture nod.  It's become a staple on the awards season circuit and one reason stars from "American Hustle," "12 Years A Slave," "August: Osage County" and "Gravity" were on hand.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence in David O. Russell's &quot;American Hustle.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence in David O. Russell's "American Hustle."

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Inside Llewyn Davis' dominates National Society of Film Critics honors

Another win for 'Spring Breakers' star James Franco

The National Society of Film Critics announced its 2013 honorees this afternoon and gave a much needed boost to the Oscar nomination chances for "Inside Llewyn Davis." 

"Davis" earned best film, best director (Joel and Ethan Coen), best actor (Oscar Isaac) and best cinematography (Bruno Delbonnel) honors. The NFSC also gave kudos to "American Hustle's" Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress and "Spring Breakers'" James Franco for best supporting actor.  Cate Blanchett once again won another best actress honor for "Blue Jasmine."

The NSFC has over 60 members from publications around the nation and their choices have historically not always lineup with their own local critics groups. The past five previous best film winners include "Amour," "Melancholia," "The Social Network," "The Hurt Locker" and "Waltz with Bashir."  "The Hurt Locker" and "Million Dollar Baby" are the only films the organization has chosen as best film that also won the Oscar for best picture in the past 20 years. You can find a somewhat dated list of the membership on their official website here.

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Lessons from the 2013 Box Office: Top 20 movies of the year

Lessons from the 2013 Box Office: Top 20 movies of the year

Superheroes, comedies and family films rule

Hollywood had a lot to celebrate at the end of 2013.  Box office grosses were up to a record $10.9 billion, a .7% increase over 2012.  Of course, that's partially due to the fact an average ticket price is now $8.  Tickets sold were actually down to 1.35 billion or .4% below last year's pace. Comparatively, however, that really isn't too bad. This year was somewhere in the middle of tickets sold when looking over the past six years.   And while it's been 12 years since the modern mark of 1.575 billion sold, the industry is relatively healthy in the U.S.  Much more importantly, emerging markets such as China and Russia continue to pump up international grosses which has almost single-handedly helped the movie industry survive the collapse of DVD and home entertainment sales.

Sequels dominated the top 10 movies of the year, but there was some room for an original blockbuster or two when the finally tallies were counted.  Before you check out the final ranking of the top 25 in the story gallery below, here are some important lessons Hollywood took in at the turn of the new year.

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'American Hustle,' 'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' earn PGA nods

'American Hustle,' 'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' earn PGA nods

'Inside Llewyn Davis' snubbed by producers in best picture precursor

The Producers Guild of America announced the 10 nominees for theatrical picture and animated picture categories today for the upcoming 25th PGA Awards and familiar names such as "American Hustle," "Gravity," "12 Years A Slave," "The Croods" and "Frozen" made the cut.  Surprisingly, the Coen Bros' and Scott Rudin produced "Inside Llewyn Davis" and The Weinstein Company's "Lee Daniels' The Butler" was snubbed from the 10 motion picture honorees.

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Johnny Depp, Shia LaBeouf and 8 other stars who can't wait for 2013 to be over

Johnny Depp, Shia LaBeouf and 8 other stars who can't wait for 2013 to be over

2014's gotta be better right?

Think you've had a bad year? Well, you aren't alone. Some of Hollywood's biggest names have experienced 12 months of creative frustration they would prefer to completely forget.  We've picked 10 of the most disheartening, but there is some good news around the corner for these famous faces. A number of these favorites are on track to completely turn things around in 2014. The others? Let's just remember 12 months is a long time in the entertainment bubble and anything can happen.

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<p>Ellen DeGeneres and some of Hollywood's best dancers in Paul Feig's 2014 Oscars trailer.</p>

Ellen DeGeneres and some of Hollywood's best dancers in Paul Feig's 2014 Oscars trailer.

Credit: Courtesy of AMPAS

Ellen DeGeneres says 'Here we go!' with euphoric new 2014 Oscars trailer

Nice break for Fitz and the Tantrums

Looking for something to cheer up your day? The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Paul Feig and Ellen DeGeneres have something that just might do it.

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<p>John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in &quot;Pulp Fiction.&quot;</p>

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction."

Credit: Miramax

'Pulp Fiction,' 'Mary Poppins' and 'The Right Stuff' among 25 named to 2013 National Film Registry

Plus: 'The Magnificent Seven,' 'Forbidden Planet' and more

The Library of Congress announced the 25 films selected for the 2013 National Film Registry and they feature some Academy Award winners, a groundbreaking documentary, genre classics and family favorites.

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<p>Bilbo becomes a hero and yet some what seems absent in &quot;The Hobbit:&nbsp;The Desolation of Smaug.&quot;</p>

Bilbo becomes a hero and yet some what seems absent in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Best and Worst of 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Dragons, CG, Evangeline Lilly and more

The second chapter of Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit," "The Desolation of Smaug," hit theaters this past weekend with mixed results. On one hand, critics thought it was an improvement than "An Unexpected Journey" (58 rating on Metacritic for the original vs. a 66 rating for pt. 2).  The box office, on the other hand, showed signs of audience fatigue.  "Smaug" earned $73.6 million domestic over its first three days which was a significantly smaller haul than "Unexpected's" $84.6 million last December.  Don't cry for Warner Bros. and MGM as "Smaug" is still expected to make a killing overseas.  That being said, just scroll throw your twitter or facebook feed and you'll probably find a lot more snarky and negative remarks about the series than you did after "Journey." HitFix's own Drew McWeeny thought Jackson delivered a much better movie this time around. This writer thought it was a marginal improvement at best.

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Gregory Ellwood's top 10 films of 2013

Gregory Ellwood's top 10 films of 2013

Films with iconic and haunting images rule the year

Another year, another top 10 list. This one, however, will be slightly different than previous installments.

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