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<p>&quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild&quot;</p>

"Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Roundup: Michelle Obama hosts the 'Beasts' team at the White House

Also: 'Chicago' cast to present at Oscars, and the Academy's archive of speeches

"Lincoln" may have unexpectedly received the in-person endorsement of Bill Clinton at the Golden Globes this year, but it's not the only Best Picture getting some First Family support. Today at the White House, Michelle Obama will be hosting an interactive workshop with the cast and crew of "Beasts of the Southern Wild." A selection of 80 school students from Washington D.C. and New Orleans has been invited to participate in a discussion -- in the State Dining Room, no less -- about "the film, its production, and the inspirational themes within it that students can apply to their own lives." It's a nice gesture, not to mention a neat bit of publicity for the film in the thick of final Oscar voting, but it underlines just how many of this year's Best Picture nominees feel relevant to American audiences right now. [Politico]  

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Steven Spielberg's 25 greatest movies to date - 1974 to 2012

Steven Spielberg's 25 greatest movies to date - 1974 to 2012

With 'Lincoln' hitting Oscar highs HitFix's editorial team ranks the director's best

Steven Spielberg may have lost the DGA Award honor to Ben Affleck a few weeks ago, but the legendary filmmaker is still tops in the mind of the HitFix editorial team.  Spielberg's critically acclaimed drama "Lincoln" landed 12 Academy Awards nominations last month and director added two more for an astounding tally of 15 lifetime nods and three wins (not counting the Irving G. Thalberg honor). And at a spry 66-years-old, Spielberg shows no signs of slowing down.

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'Beautiful Creatures' star Jeremy Irons discusses Young Adult supernatural romance, skipping 'Twilight'

'Beautiful Creatures' star Jeremy Irons discusses Young Adult supernatural romance, skipping 'Twilight'

Will the 'Reversal of Fortune' Oscar winner stick with the genre?
Jeremy Irons has an Oscar and an Emmy and a Tony, but he's never seen any of the "Twilight" movies. That's not especially surprising, I suppose, but those are definitely four facts about Jeremy Irons.
I learned the "Twilight" info by asking Irons about his exposure to the Young Adult supernatural romance genre, which he becomes a part of with the release of "Beautiful Creatures." It turns out that Irons wasn't necessarily a fan of the genre before signing on to Richard LaGravenese's adaptation of  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's novel, but he was wooed by the script and by the opportunity to work with an all-star cast including Emma Thompson and Viola Davis.
In "Beautiful Creatures," Irons plays Macon Ravenwood, a seemingly ageless caster of astounding power, power he only occasionally feels the need to show off.
In a conversation last weekend, Irons discusses Macon's magical aptitude, his relationship with the film's young co-stars and he gets "offended" by my question about the "long" scenes he shares with his esteemed co-stars.
He also talks about whether or not he's going to be a fan of the genre going forward.
Full interview above.
You can also check out my interviews with "Beautiful Creatures" co-stars Emmy Rossum and Viola Davis.
"Beautiful Creatures" opens on February 14.
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"The Face"

 "The Face"

Credit: Oxygen

'The Face' review: 'Game On'

The new series may have a bigger diva, but is it better than 'ANTM'?

Yes, we've all had good reason to make fun of "America's Next Top Model." Tyra Banks, wiggling her neck in spastic delirium, often seemed one diva snap away from complete insanity. I have rolled my eyes at her bizarre behavior almost as often as I smirked at Andre Leon Talley's man muumuus. But now, having seen the newest player in the reality TV modelympics, I take it all back. Sorry, Tyra. You still crazy, girl, but damn if you're not so bad after all. 

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<p>On &quot;Justified,&quot;&nbsp;Boyd (Walton Goggins)&nbsp;isn't happy to visit Raylan (Timothy Olyphant)&nbsp;and Shelby (Jim Beaver).</p>

On "Justified," Boyd (Walton Goggins) isn't happy to visit Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Shelby (Jim Beaver).

Credit: FX

Review: 'Justified' - 'Foot Chase'

Raylan and Shelby team up, Colton has a self-control problem, and Boyd makes Ava an offer

A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I fail the third and sixth grades...

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<p>Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins in &quot;Cougar Town.&quot;</p>

Courteney Cox and Josh Hopkins in "Cougar Town."

Credit: TBS

Review: 'Cougar Town' - 'Restless'

Jules can't sleep, Grayson can't kiss, and Andy cashes in all his sex coupons

A quick review of tonight's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I distract you with shoe talk...

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<p>Mumford &amp;&nbsp;Sons celebrate their two Grammy wins backstage.</p>

Mumford & Sons celebrate their two Grammy wins backstage.

Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Rihanna see Grammy Awards sales bump

Performing acts and winners garner immediate gains

We’ll have a better read tomorrow after the official Nielsen SoundScan numbers are in, but it looks like Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” may be the big winner from Sunday night’s Grammy Awards.

Even though the Contemporary Urban R&B album winner’s performance of “Forrest Gump” received only lukewarm reviews (Ocean later tweeted that he couldn’t hear his keyboards), Billboard reports that the albums sales could be up as much as 120% over the previous week.

Even an album like Mumford & Sons’ “Babel,” which is still in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, is getting a big boost after winning album of the year. The track could receive as much as a 50% boost to 55,000 copies, up from 36,000 copies this week.

The biggest digital gainer by the actual numbers looks to be the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” which will sell up to 140,000 downloads this week, up 17%. By percentage, look for fun’s “Carry On” to be up 131% over the previous week’s downloads and song of the year winner “We Are Young” to soar 150 to 50,000. Rihanna’s new single “Stay” looks like it see gains of 200% to 65,000, and Miguel’s “Adorn” will also be up 200% to 40,000.

As Grammy watchers know, a performance traditionally does more to move sales along than a win.

It’s important to note that SoundScan closes at midnight Sunday night, so the biggest gains will register next week after a full week of -post Grammy sales. Plus, next week’s numbers will also include Valentine’s Day, which has turned into a tent pole day for album sales.

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<p>Benh Zeitlin and Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis on the set of &quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild.&quot;</p>

Benh Zeitlin and Quvenzhané Wallis on the set of "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Director

Michael Haneke, Ang Lee, Steven Spielberg, David O. Russell and Benh Zeitlin square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

Though it's the second most prestigious award in the Oscar race, Best Director all too often feels, oddly, like an afterthought -- it's generally so tied into the Best Picture race that it's come to be regarded as half of a two-part award. Any director of a Best Picture winner who doesn't get his own award is liable to feel somewhat slighted, and vice versa -- blame the advent of auteur theory, if you will.

This year, however, the Academy's directors' branch made a stunning statement of independence, albeit one that may have been enabled by an unusually compressed voting calendar. For the first time since 1965, the DGA -- traditionally the most reliably Oscar-aligned of all precursors -- agreed on only two of the eventual Oscar nominees, as Tom Hooper, Kathryn Bigelow and, most surprisingly, Ben Affleck all missed the Academy's cut. You know the rest: Affleck, who had arguably ascended to frontrunner status before the nominations were announced, has since won everything in sight, including the all-important DGA prize. It's It's an exciting twist that leaves the Oscar race almost unprecedentedly free of bellwethers, as the five men in the running have won scarcely any major precursor awards between them.

The nominees are...

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Watch: Paramore's new video for 'Now'
Credit: Fueled By Ramen

Watch: Paramore's new video for 'Now'

Love is a battlefield

Love conquers all. I know that’s the message I’m supposed to take away from Paramore’s new video for “Now,” but I just wanted it to be over. Besides, don’t they know that love is a battlefield?

[More after the jump...]

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Exclusive: Churchill headed into studio with Killers' producer Brendan O' Brien

'Change' band also writing with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, see behind-the-scenes footage

Churchill’s Tim Bruns had quite the Christmas Eve. His best present wasn’t under the tree, it was a phone call from producer Brendan O’Brien, who had heard the band’s music and wanted to work with them.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Christoph Waltz in &quot;Django Unchained&quot;</p>

Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tech Support: Wylie Stateman on experiencing sound in a Quentin Tarantino movie

The sound editing nominee picked up his sixth Oscar notice for 'Django Unchained'

Supervising sound editor Wylie Stateman earned his sixth Oscar nomination this year for “Django Unchained.” The soft-spoken industry veteran has now managed to earn a nomination in four decades – the 1980s (“Born on the Fourth of July”), the 1990s (“Cliffhanger”), the 2000s (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Wanted,” “Inglourious Basterds”) and now the 2010s.

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The top 10 shots of 2012: part one

The top 10 shots of 2012: part one

Celebrating the year in individual film images

I decided to do something a little different with the shots column for this, its sixth year (and finally imitated -- we're flattered). I thought I'd go with a metric of instinct rather than analysis.

First let me introduce the overall concept for those perhaps unfamiliar. Every year I recap the year in my own unique way. Film is, after all, about the image first, and so what better way to put 12 cinematic months in a time capsule than to feature the most striking single images of the year? But what is striking to one is always not so much to the next. Like all of this, it's in the eye of the beholder.

For my part I would always try to give my perspective on shots that might seem, well, unexpected to others. I would posit that an Eric Gautier shot of an eagle picking away at a carcass in "Into the Wild" says something about a country weighing on the soul; or that an unassuming Anthony Dod Mantle shot crammed into a frenetic "Slumdog Millionaire" montage better sums up character motivations than any other frame; or that the simplicity of Anna Kendrick riding slowly away on an airport people-mover as seen through Eric Steelberg's lens in "Up in the Air" speaks elegant volumes.

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