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The great Frank Rich has weighed in on the Oscar race with what is sure to remain one of the best pieces of the season, in which he celebrates what he sees as the Academy's return to relevance: "Whatever the explanation—and little in show business happens by design—the movie industry has reconnected with the country. It has produced no fewer than four movies that have provoked animated, often rancorous public debate: 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Argo,' 'Lincoln,' and 'Django Unchained,' a film that pushes so many hot buttons you can’t quite believe it was made." He goes on to make the case for why "Django" deserves the Best Picture award, and even if you disagree -- I certainly do -- it's an essential, exuberant read. [New York]
A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I'm subject to a 50-meter restraining order...
You know how last week "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" didn't have even a smidgen of fighting, and it was kind of like watching Wonder Woman without her magic lasso or John Travolta without his hairpiece? Well, never fear. Everything's back to normal, which means the women are screaming hysterically at one another, not everyone's making sense, and a very expensive dinner is completely ruined in the process. Yay.
Henry Selick is a ronin, a masterless samurai in a particularly difficult part of the filmmaking landscape, and any time he finds someone willing to pay for him to make one of his movies, I'm thrilled.
Being a career animator is not an easy life to choose, and I can't imagine anyone doing it for any reason other than a deep abiding love for the medium. Selick has conjured up some real magic in the films he's made and he certainly does great work with the various collaborators who have been part of his movies so far. Not every filmmaker can lay claim to one great movie, and I'd argue that Selick has made two so far. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is just gorgeous, as beautiful an example of stop motion animation as I've ever seen. "Coraline" is an eerie, sublime accomplishment, both technically and creatively, and is easily the finest example yet of Neil Gaiman's work brought to life.
I have a feeling you're going to see a lot of announcements about actors joining the cast of the upcoming sequel to "Anchorman," and when we see the final film, many of those people will end up playing one or two scenes at most. It's going to be a positively ridiculous cast, and that's because the original film has become a huge favorite for pretty much anyone working in film comedy right now. This is going to be a case where anyone Adam McKay wants, he's going to get.
Christina Applegate was the one who broke the news on Twitter, which is starting to become one of the most reliable sources of breaking casting information when people like Bryan Singer can't wait to share something. In this case, I can imagine Appelgate's got to be happy to be adding some funny female energy to what is already a very large roster of very funny dudes. Kristen Wiig will be onboard playing the wife of Brick Tamland, Steve Carrell's character from the first film. Carrell is just one of the returning characters, of course. Will Ferrell is back as Ron Burgundy, Paul Rudd will be Brian Fantana once more, David Koechner will return as Champ Kind, and Applegate is going to reprise her role as Veronica Corningstone. Just typing the character names again makes me happy. I was an early fan of the script, and I was thrilled when it was not only made, but when it turned out to be as consistently funny as it was. It seemed like it was such a gamble for the first film to get made that it's sort of amazing to be writing news stories about a sequel now.
As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at one of the big four general awards: the coveted Song of the Year.
Song of the Year nominees:
"The A Team" Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
"Adorn" Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
"Call Me Maybe" Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
"We Are Young" Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)
WHO’S MISSING: Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” is an obvious omission here, as are record of the year nominees Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
THE PLAYERS: Song of the year goes to the songwriter, so it’s helpful to think of the tunes in demo form, stripped of nothing but a voice and maybe a guitar or piano. Quite frankly, this isn’t that strong a slate. While “Call Me Maybe” certainly captured a pop culture moment, so did “Gangnam Style”: That doesn’t make something a great song. Miguel’s “Adorn” has dominated the R&B charts, staying at No. 1 for 20 weeks, but that won’t necessarily sway the vote since this category is open to the entire 12,000-voting panel. People really like Kelly Clarkson, but more for her voice than for the song “Stronger.” Ed Sheeran is developing into a really great songwriter, but his material with Taylor Swift and One Direction is more interesting than “The A Team.”
THE ODDS: This is a race between “Call Me Maybe,” for its iconic status, and “We Are Young,” which is the far more interesting song.
THE WINNER: “We Are Young,” Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)
Like seemingly every musician breathing today, Justin Timberlake is making a documentary. And we’ve already seen some it.
It turns out that the video snippet he dropped Jan. 10 announcing that he was “ready” to make more music is a portion from the forthcoming documentary.
[More after the jump...]
Oh, my. This episode is SO crazy! How crazy? The craziness could not be contained in just one night! Too much crazy! Thus, we'll see part two of the craziness tomorrow! Crazy, crazy, crazy! Oh, and it seems someone gets injured. Again. I'm beginning to feel as if "The Bachelor" is a little too hung up on driving ratings by telling us someone went to the hospital or her lips turned blue or Sean got worried about whether or not they would survive the week. I mean, from here it's a pretty short step to trying to get someone injured with uneven bungee cords or paintball guns loaded with real ammunition "by accident" or a running of the bulls in Pamplona while wearing ankle weights and blindfolds.
A plethora of famous faces attended the Academy's annual Oscar luncheon this afternoon in Beverly Hills and that means yet another annual "class of" nominees photograph. This year's group shot finds Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis in the center of the image right in front of the Oscar statue (and also right next to best actor nominee Bradley Cooper). Can you find your favorite nominee in the crowd and, more importantly, who's missing?
The Beverly Hilton Hotel was awash in A-list stars on Monday afternoon for the official 2013 Oscar nominees luncheon, with first-time nominees including Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Miserables") and 9-year-old "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhane Wallis rubbing shoulders with awards-season vets like Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") and Amy Adams ("The Master") for a day filled with hobnobbing and perhaps more than a few forced smiles (something "Lincoln" nominee Tommy Lee Jones clearly can't be bothered with).
Check out all the star-studded pics in the gallery below.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards airs on Feb. 24 with host Seth MacFarlane.