<p>Natalie Portman arrives on the red carpet at last year's Golden Globes, prior to winning the award for Best Actress for her performance in &quot;Black Swan&quot;.</p>

Natalie Portman arrives on the red carpet at last year's Golden Globes, prior to winning the award for Best Actress for her performance in "Black Swan".

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal among first announced Golden Globes presenters

Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy will also be hitting the stage

Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Melissa McCarthy and Freida Pinto have all been announced as presenters at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards, which is scheduled to air this coming Sunday on NBC.

The group was announced via the official Twitter account of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization that chooses the winners and nominees at each year's ceremony.

Portman, of course, won the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama at last year's show for her performance in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan", which also netted her an Oscar. Gyllenhaal and Kidman were also nominated last year, for their performances in "Love and Other Drugs" and "Rabbit Hole", respectively.

Mirren has been nominated for a total of ten Golden Globes over the course of her career, with her biggest coup coming in 2007, when she took home the statues for both "The Queen" (Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama) and "Elizabeth I" (Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television). Owen won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture in 2005, for his performance in "Closer".

Among the other presenters, Hayek was nominated in 2003 for her title performace in "Frida", while Banderas has been nominated three different times, most recently for his performance in the 2003 made-for-TV movie "And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself".

Neither McCarthy nor Pinto have ever been nominated for a Golden Globe, though the HFPA's snub of the former this year was considered especially galling considering the Oscar buzz she's been receiving for her winning turn in last year's "Bridesmaids" - not to mention the fact that she won the Best Actress Emmy for "Mike & Molly" back in September. Perhaps giving her a presenter slot is the HFPA's version of a consolation prize?

Stay tuned for further presenter updates as they're announced...

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<p>&nbsp;Jennifer Lawrence walks the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards last February.</p>

 Jennifer Lawrence walks the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards last February.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Academy Awards get a 'Hunger Games' tie-in as Jennifer Lawrence set to announce nominations

Former nominee will get up early Oscar morning

 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this morning that former nominee Jennifer Lawrence will announce the nominees for the 84th Academy Awards alongside Academy president Tom Sherak on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Sherak and Lawrence will unveil the nominations in 10 of the 24 categories at a 5:30 a.m. PT news conference at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Nominations information for all categories will be distributed simultaneously to news media in attendance and online. 

Lawrence was nominated last year in the best actress category for her acclaimed performance in "Winter's Bone."  She next stars in the highly anticipated adaptation of "The Hunger Games" and David O. Russell's "The Silver Linings Playbook."  Lawrence recently appeared as a younger Mystique in "X-Men: First Class," Jodie Foster's "The Beaver" and in Drake Doremus' Sundance Grand Prize winning drama "Like Crazy." 

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<p>&nbsp;Rooney Mara in David Fincher's &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.&quot;</p>

 Rooney Mara in David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Fincher surprises by joining Allen, Payne, Scorsese and Hazanavicius for 2012 DGA Awards nominations

Spielberg, Refn, Daldry and Malick don't make the cut

In something of a surprise, David Fincher's work for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" made the five director field for the 2012 DGA Awards announced this morning.  Fincher was joined by Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michael Hazanavicius ("The Artist") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"). 

Notable omissions included Steven Spielberg ("War Horse," "The Adventures of Tintin"), Nicholas Winding Refn ("Drive"), Terrence Malick ("The Tree of Life") and Bennett Miller ("Moneyball").  

Fincher's surprise entry is the second major guild honor for the film after a WGA Awards nom for best adapted screenplay.  It's still unclear whether "Tattoo" will make the cut in those categories or the best picture field.  The reason for the latter is the Academy's new 5% rule which makes it unclear how many films will actually be nominated this year (most are assuming seven to eight).  The former is more complicated.  The best adapted screenplay category will be more competitive with non-WGA member scripts eligible and its hard to believe Fincher's pedestrian work could make the Academy cut.  While the Fincher nomination shows the "Dragon" director has likely reached the revered Scorsese/Eastwood/Spielberg status amongst his peers (i.e, they can do no wrong - until they do) and the assistant directors (who make up the majority of the DGA membership) most would still put their money on Spielberg or Miller to make the Oscar field in his place.

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<p>Shockwave is pleased with &quot;Transformers:&nbsp;Dark of the Moon's&quot;&nbsp;VES&nbsp;Awards nominations.</p>

Shockwave is pleased with "Transformers: Dark of the Moon's" VES Awards nominations.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Harry Potter,' 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' Game of Thrones' lead 2012 Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations

'Tree of Life" is shut out from the digital guild

The Visual Effects Society (VES) today announced the nominees for its 10th Annual VES Awards and the surprise was the exclusion of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life."  Short-listed for the Oscar for Visual Effects, "Life" didn't land any film-centric nominations.

On the film side, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2"  and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" each landed five nominations. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" found four nominations, "Hugo" received three while "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" landed two nods respectively. "The Adventures of Tintin" had the most film nominations - animated or live-action - with six.

On the television side, "Boardwalk Empire"lead the way with four nominations, "Game of Thrones" found three nominations and "Pan Am" and "Terra Nova" each landed two.

As previously announced, Stan Lee will be honored with the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and Douglas Trumbull with the Georges Méliès Award.

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<p>&nbsp;'Melancholia'</p>

 'Melancholia'

National Society of Film Critics picks Lars Von Trier's 'Melancholia'

Kirsten Dunst and Brad Pitt nab acting awards

"Melancholia," Lars Von Trier's allegorical film about the end of the world, was named best picture by the influential National Society of Film Critics, beating out "Tree of Life" and Iran's "A Separation." 

The film's star, Kirsten Dunst, also walked away with the title of Best Actress, handily defeating "Poetry's" Yun Jung-Hee and awards magnet Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady"). Brad Pitt won the Best Actor award, for his work in "Moneyball" and "Tree of Life."

"Drive's" Albert Brooks was named in the Best Supporting Actor section for his sinister, against-type turn, while Jessica Chastain was honored for her roles in "Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help." Best Director went to "Tree of Life" helmer Terrence Malick. 

Last year, the NSFC (which includes critics from major publications all over the U.S.) chose "The Social Network" as the top film, with "The Hurt Locker" getting the honor in 2009. 

Here’s the full list of this year's winners:

 

BEST ACTOR
*1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree Of Life)
2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree Of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

BEST PICTURE
*1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
2. The Tree Of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree Of Life)
2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)

BEST NONFICTION
*1. Cave Of Forgotten Dreams – 35 (Werner Herzog)
2. The Interrupters – 26 (Steve James)
3. Into The Abyss – 18 (Werner Herzog)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. A Separation – 39 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Moneyball – 22 (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin)
3. Midnight In Paris – 16 (Woody Allen)

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. A Separation – 67 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Mysteries Of Lisbon – 28 (Raoul Ruiz)
3. Le Havre – 22 (Aki Kaurismäki)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. The Tree Of Life – 76 (Emanuel Lubezki)
2. Melancholia – 41 (Manuel Alberto Claro)
3. Hugo – 33 (Robert Richardson)

EXPERIMENTAL
Ken Jacobs, Seeking The Monkey King

FILM HERITAGE

1. BAMcinématek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective with all titles shown on 16 mm. or 35 mm. film.
2. Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Méliès’s “A Trip to the Moon.”
3. New York’s Museum of Modern Art for its extensive retrospective of Weimar Cinema.
4. Flicker Alley for their box set Landmarks Of Early Soviet Film.
5. Criterion Collecton for its 2-disc DVD package The Complete Jean Vigo.

 

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<p>That's our Billy.</p>

That's our Billy.

Watch: Funny or Die uses Megan Fox to bring Billy Crystal back to Oscar

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Has everyone forgotten about Eddie Murphy already?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences teamed up with Funny or Die to create the first promo for this year's 84th Academy Awards which debuted today online.  Not surprisingly, it centers on the search for this year's host, the legendary Billy Crystal. 

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<p>Sandra Bullock is slowly becoming &quot;Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's&quot;&nbsp;best shot at landing an Oscar nomination.</p>

Sandra Bullock is slowly becoming "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's" best shot at landing an Oscar nomination.

Credit: Warner Bros.

2012 WGA Awards nominations: 'War Horse' and 'Extremely Loud' take an Oscar hit

When you're eligible in this ineligible mix you need the nod

As In Contention's Kris Tapley so eloquently warned us last month, there were many fine screenplays this year that wouldn't be eligible for the 2012 WGA Awards.  Guild awards are a wonderful honor from your peers, but they're also a union honor and if you don't play by the rules you can't get rewarded.  So it goes.

Therefore, it's not too surprising to find a number of unexpected nominees among the field announced by the WGA today.  What's more perplexing is some of the notable omissions ("The Ides of March," "War Horse"), inclusions ("Dragon Tattoo") and one outright rejection by the industry's writers ("Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close").   While guild awards typically signal how their respective Academy branches should vote in regards to nominees and winners, that's not going to be the case this year with so many ineligible contenders.  With that in mind, let's review the adapted and original fields.

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<p>Are these three of your acting Oscar frontrunners? &nbsp;Or are they three other contenders?</p>

Are these three of your acting Oscar frontrunners?  Or are they three other contenders?

Oscar's Acting Races: Who's in and who's out?

it's likely down to the wire this year for all four categories

As awards season enters the last week and a half before Oscar nomination ballots are due, the "great settling," as its been called, isn't yet upon us.  This magical few days or weeks when the collective Academy consciousness coalesces to determine one best picture winner (whether they know it or not) usually occurs before the nominations are announced, but not always.  Yes, "The Artist" is clearly the frontrunner this time around, but its hardly the lock "Slumdog Millionaire" or "The King's Speech" were in recent years.  That could easily change over the next few weeks as guilds such as SAG, PGA and DGA determine their own year end winners.  What's much more intriguing this season, however, are the acting races. 

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<p>Chris Hemsworth in &quot;Thor.&quot;</p>

Chris Hemsworth in "Thor."

Credit: Marvel Studios

'Super 8' and 'Thor' don't make the latest Oscar Visual Effects race cut

'Cowboys & Aliens,' 'Sucker Punch' and 'Sherlock Holmes' also out of contention

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the final 10 contenders for the Visual Effects Oscar today eliminating five previously announced candidates.  The Visual Effects committee has decided that "Super 8," "Thor," "Sucker Punch," "Cowboys & Aliens" and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" are no longer eligible for a nomination.  Instead, the following 10 films will provide 10-minute excerpts that will be screened by branch members on Thursday, January 19.

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<p>That's right Kristen.&nbsp; &quot;Bridesmaids&quot;&nbsp;got a PGA&nbsp;nomination which means its one step closer to an Oscar nod.</p>

That's right Kristen.  "Bridesmaids" got a PGA nomination which means its one step closer to an Oscar nod.

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Bridemaids,' 'Moneyball,' 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' makes PGA Awards cut

Oscar chances looking dire for 'Harry Potter,' 'Tinker Tailor' and 'Drive'

The Producer's Guid of America announced their 2012 PGA Awards nominations for film this morning and studio fare ruled the day. Unlike the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which may have anywhere from five to 10 nominees this year, the PGA has decided to remain with 10 nods.

This year's nominees as well as analysis follows:

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