<p>Helen Mirren discusses her first film with Russell Brand, &quot;The Tempest.&quot;</p>

Helen Mirren discusses her first film with Russell Brand, "The Tempest."

Helen Mirren on the secret talents of Russell Brand and 'The Tempest'

A Dame still jazzed about working with Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor's "The Tempest" didn't turnout to be what everyone at the old Miramax and Walt Disney Studios hoped for.  Even after a gala opening at the Venice Film Festival and a centerpiece screening at the New York Film Festival, the adaptation of Shakespeare's famous play received exceptionally tepid reviews.  Awards season hopes dashed long ago, the film received only a 41 on Metacritic and a putrid 26% on Rotten Tomatoes when it opened in limited release Friday.  One of the film's stars who will leave the production unscathed, however, is Dame Helen Mirren.

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<p>A light cycle chase from &quot;Tron Legacy.&quot;</p>

A light cycle chase from "Tron Legacy."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

'Tron Legacy,' 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Scott Pilgrim' qualify for Visual Effects Oscar

'Iron Man 2,' 'Inception' and 'Clash of the Titans' also in the mix

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 15 semifinalists for the best visual effects Oscar today.  In early January, the members of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee will narrow the list to seven.

All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films on Thursday, January 20. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

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<p>Russell Brand discusses his work in &quot;The Tempest&quot;</p>

Russell Brand discusses his work in "The Tempest"

Russell Brand proves he's more than a 'junkie' in 'The Tempest'

Rock n'roll comedian demonstrates his theatrical chops

Don't let Russell Brand fool you.  Sure, he's had his share of run ins with the law and the paparazzi, but he's no dummy.  I had the chance to see Brand work some of his magic this past weekend when he received an award at Variety's Power of Comedy event. The night was a benefit for the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a cancer awareness charity.  Brand had the odd duty of trying to tie his Power of Comedy Award into the fundraising aspect of the event.  To be quite honest, it was no easy task, but like an expert politician Brand walked a fine line of touching on both his own career and the need to test yourself (or have your loved ones) tested for cancer.  Two days later I'm sitting in front of the honoree to discuss his role as     
Trinculo  in Julie Taymor's adaptation of "The Tempest."

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<p>The &quot;Inception&quot;&nbsp;script book delivered in a very familiar looking case.</p>

The "Inception" script book delivered in a very familiar looking case.

Oscar Watch: 'Inception' takes screenplay very seriously

Plus: 'True Grit' is headed for Berlin and more

In case anyone is wondering, Warner Bros. is taking an awards season campaign for its critically acclaimed blockbuster "Inception" very seriously.  Contrary to pundit opinion, Chris Nolan's complex thriller isn't just a lock for a nomination, but it could easily win.  And Warner Bros. is looking at the race like a marathon and not a sprint -- a strategy its had success with in the past.

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<p>Christian Bale discusses his work in &quot;The Fighter&quot;</p>

Christian Bale discusses his work in "The Fighter"

Watch: Christian Bale explains how he lost 30 lbs for 'The Fighter'

Plus: Amy Adams learns fishnets might not be the way to go

Fair warning: you're not going to learn anything about "The Dark Knight Rises" in this story or interview with Christian Bale.  It's not that Bale wouldn't answer such questions, but when you're sitting down to discuss his already acclaimed performance in David O. Russell's "The Fighter," there really isn't time.

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<p>Javier Bardem at a screening of &quot;Biutiful&quot;&nbsp;in New York on Dec. 1.</p>

Javier Bardem at a screening of "Biutiful" in New York on Dec. 1.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Sean Penn throws his Oscar weight behind Javier Bardem and 'Biutiful'

Oscar winner moderates Q&A with Bardem and director Inarritu

Sean Penn left little doubt as to whom he’s backing for best actor in the Oscar race when he moderated a Q&A at a  packed screening of “Biutiful,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s searing new movie starring Javier Bardem. Hosted by SAG Film Society, the event took place at the Directors Guild of America theater in Los Angeles.

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<p>Pixar threw &quot;Toy Story 3&quot;&nbsp;to the awards season fire, but it still managed to wrangle an Annie Award nomination for best animated feature.</p>

Pixar threw "Toy Story 3" to the awards season fire, but it still managed to wrangle an Annie Award nomination for best animated feature.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

No Disney backlash as Annie Awards nominate 'Toy Story 3' and 'Tangled'

DreamWorks Animation dominates Animation's highest honors

When John Lasseter wants something he usually gets it.  And, for the most part, because the creative maestro has been such a creative and financial powerhouse at both Pixar and Walt Disney Studios, there has been little criticism of his efforts.  However, today's Annie Award nominations should make Lasseter and the rest of the senior executives at the Mouse House realize they have made a petty and embarrassing mistake.

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<p>Paul Giamatti in &quot;Barney's Version&quot;</p>

Paul Giamatti in "Barney's Version"

Credit: Sony Classics

Paul Giamatti still isn't sure if he got "John Adams" right

'Barney's Version' star talks age progression and playing Ben Bernanke

Moviegoers in New York and Los Angeles -- and more importantly SAG and Academy members -- have a one week shot at catching the new drama "Barney's Version."  The Sony Classics release is playing for a one week Academy Awards qualifying run after which it will reopen in January.  Following the memorable life of a fictional Canadian TV producer, Barney Panofsky, the picture features a great cast including Rosamund Pike, Scott Speedman, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre and Paul Giamtti as the Barney in question.  I spoke to Giamatti a few weeks ago and our conversation covered a number of topics including his acclaimed role as the nation's second President in "John Adams" and his upcoming Curtis Hanson HBO movie "Too Big To Fail."

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<p>Best Actress winner Carey Mulligan walks the red carpet at the 2010 British Independent Film Awards.</p>

Best Actress winner Carey Mulligan walks the red carpet at the 2010 British Independent Film Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

'The King's Speech' wins 5 British Independent Film Awards including Best Picture

Carey Mulligan wins Best Actress for 'Never Let Me Go'

The 2010 British Independent Film Awards were handed out Sunday evening in London and Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" dominated the night with five wins.  The Oscar contender for best picture won best british independent film, best screenplay, best actor (Colin Firth), best supporting actress (Helena Bonham Carter) and best supporting actor (Geoffrey Rush). 

Other notable winners included best actress recipient Carey Mulligan for "Never Let Me Go," foreign film honoree "A Prophet" and three wins for Gareth Edwards' indie genre flick "Monsters" including best director.

Carter and Liam Neeson were also given honorary awards at the ceremony.

Here's a full list of the night's winners:

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<p>Congrats Ewan, you just won a European Film Award for your work in &quot;The Ghost Writer.&quot;</p>

Congrats Ewan, you just won a European Film Award for your work in "The Ghost Writer."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

'The Ghost Writer' dominates the 2010 European Film Awards

Ewan McGregor wins best actor, 'The Illusionist' animated feature

The 2300 plus members of the European Film Academy have spoken and they have thoroughly endorsed Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" as the best picture of the year.  In a ceremony in Tallinn, Estonia tonight, the winners of the 23 European Film Awards were handed out and the Polanski thriller won six statues including European Film, Director, Actor (Ewan McGregor), Screenwriter (Robert Harris & Polanski), Production Design (Albrecht Konrad) and Composer (Alexandre Desplat).  

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