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<p>Have a drink James. &quot;Skyfall&quot; is a major longshot to win best picture, but it should land the franchise its first nomination on Jan. 10.</p>

Have a drink James. "Skyfall" is a major longshot to win best picture, but it should land the franchise its first nomination on Jan. 10.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Contender Countdown: Does anyone care that we don't have a frontrunner?

PGA Awards nominations shine a little bit of light on rest of field

I've worked on Oscar campaigns and have covered this beat for a long time, but boy this is odd. We are days, even hours away from Academy members pressing send on their newfangled computers to end phase one of yet another great Oscar season and yet hardly anyone in Tinsletown feels secure about their contenders or which of their competitors is the true frontrunner.  Yowzas!

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<p>Bradley&nbsp;Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Argo,' 'Lincoln,' 'Master,' 'Silver Linings' lead Denver film critics nominations

Anderson and Spielberg's films edged out in Best Pic however

Nominations have been announced by the Denver Film Critics Society. "Argo," "Lincoln," "The Master" and "Silver Linings Playbook" led the way with four nominations each, though "Lincoln" and "The Master" were edged out of the Best Picture category by "Django Unchained." Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be announced on January 8. Keep up with the season via The Circuit.

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Watch: Mariah Carey awkwardly adlibs during Australian concert

Watch: Mariah Carey awkwardly adlibs during Australian concert

Maybe this is why she tours so infrequently?

For all her superstardom, Mariah Carey has never been a frequent touring artist and the video below may show why.

Putting the adage, “the show must go on,” into practice, Carey ad libs as she suffers through her earpiece monitor going out, and a flustered stagehand trying to make it all right, during a performance in Australia a few nights ago. Through it all, she never loses the audience as she  playfully, but firmly, admonishes her crew and give a play-by-play. She says her dress is too big and too small, she needs water, she needs her band to wait to start the song... it’s a mini-series played out in less than three minutes.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Taylor Swift at New Year's Eve in New York</p>

Taylor Swift at New Year's Eve in New York

Credit: AP Photo

Will Taylor Swift be 'Trouble' for Bruno Mars on the Billboard Hot 100?

Record digital download week propels major movement on the chart

Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” spends a fourth week at No. 1 on the Billboard 100, but look for Taylor Swift possibly to end his tenure next week.

“Locked” remains No. 1 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart (The Hot 100 combines radio play, digital sales, and streaming), but barely increases in airplay, while it loses its No. 1 spot on the Digital Songs chart.

In the meantime, Swift’s “I Knew You Were In Trouble” soars in downloads, though it only gains 5% in radio play. The song isn’t available for streaming, which makes its move to 4-2 on the Billboard Hot 100 all the more impressive.

Rihanna’s “Diamonds” loses a little of its shine as the former No. 1 slides 2-3. It pushes The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” down one spot as well, to No. 4, while Justin Bieber’s “Beauty And A Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj holds at No. 5, according to Billboard.

And end-of-the-year download shopping spree (more about that in a minute) propels Psy’s “Gangnam Style” back into the top 10, as the track, which the S. Korean singer has retired,  leaps 17-6.

Ke$ha’s “Die Young” drops 6-7, as does Maroon 5’s “One More Night,” which falls to No. 8. Phillip Phillips’ “Home” stays at No. 9, while Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” holds at No. 10.

Fueled by holiday iTunes gift-card giving, a record 55.74 digital songs were sold last week. The amount skyrocketed past the previous record of 47.73 million sold the week ending Dec. 28 in 2008, according to Billboard. The Nielsen SoundScan sales week ends on a Sunday, so this year’s gift-card receivers had almost a full week of purchases counted in the tally.

Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” topped the list with 582,000 copies, the fourth-biggest sales week for a song. (The record belongs to Flo Rida’s “Right Round” at 636,000).

Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” comes in at No. 2 with 497,000, and “Gangnam Style” at No. 3 at 400,000.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 164

Dan and Alan talk 'Justified,' 'Deception,' 'Downton Abbey,' 'Bunheads' and more

The

Happy New Year, Boys & Girls!
 
It's our first 2013 installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Sepinwall is flying out to LA for the Television Critics Association press tour and we'll probably record multiple in-person podcasts in the next couple weeks. However, we decided that we didn't know when our first podcast window would be and there are too many shows premiering between Sunday and Tuesday and we didn't want to risk missing them. 
 
So this podcast is all reviews. Six of 'em! We talk about the new seasons of "Downton Abbey," "Justified," "Cougar Town" and "The Joe Schmo Show." We also check in on the midseason return of ABC Family's "Bunheads" and on the series premiere of NBC's "Deception." That's a fair amount to cover. 
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Downton Abbey" (00:02:08 - 00:18:45)
"Bunheads" (00:18:47 - 00:26:27)
"Deception" (00:26:28 - 00:33:20)
"Justified" (00:33:28 - 00:44:53)
"The Joe Schmo Show" (00:44:54 - 00:55:20)
"Cougar Town" (00:55:22 - 00:1:04:00)

 

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 164: 'Downton Abbey,' 'Justified,' 'Cougar Town' & more

Dan and Alan also review NBC's 'Deception' and the returns of 'Bunheads' and 'The Joe Schmo Show'

The

Happy New Year from your friends at Firewall & Iceberg Podcast! On our first show of 2013 — and our last before the start of the mid-season TV critics press tour — Dan and I review a bunch of new and (mostly) returning series, including "Downton Abbey," "Justified" and "Cougar Town." The lineup: 

"Downton Abbey" (00:02:08 - 00:18:45)

"Bunheads" (00:18:47 - 00:26:27)

"Deception" (00:26:28 - 00:33:20)

"Justified" (00:33:28 - 00:44:53)
"The Joe Schmo Show" (00:44:54 - 00:55:20)
"Cougar Town" (00:55:22 - 00:1:04:00)

 

 

 

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Watch Mama's mayo-phobia take hold in this 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' clip

In a show dedicated to weird moments, this may be one of the weirdest

If you've missed "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" since the first season ended, take heart. Not only is the show back for an oddly timed Halloween special Sun. Jan. 6 at 9:00 p.m. (upcoming specials include a Thanksgiving-themed show Sun. Jan. 13, a clip show Sun. Feb. 10, and a Christmas special Sun. Feb. 17), this latest episode features a very weird highlight -- Mama's mayo phobia. Yes, she's afraid of that staple of redneck cuisine, mayonnaise. Watch this clip to see her personal struggle. With mayo. Also of interest? The family debate over whether or not mayo is a form of meat. 

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<p>&nbsp;Maggie Smith</p>

 Maggie Smith

Credit: PBS

Review: 'Downton Abbey' returns to PBS for season 3

Shirley MacLaine vs. Maggie Smith! More class conflicts! Tuxedos?
Late in the third season of “Downton Abbey,” loyal butler Mr. Carson is horrified to learn of a breach of etiquette committed by the ladies of Downton when they choose decency over decorum.
 
“Perhaps the world is becoming a kinder place,” suggests Downton’s housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes.
 
“You say ‘kinder,’” Mr. Carson huffs. “I say ‘weaker and less disciplined.’”
 
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<p>Ewan McGregor in &quot;The Impossible.&quot;</p>

Ewan McGregor in "The Impossible."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Roundup: The oblivious politics of 'The Impossible'

Also: Dressing 'Django Unchained,' and the sexism of 'Les Mis'

Under-the-radar Oscar hopeful "The Impossible" may be one of the year's most emotionally battering films, but not everyone's feeling it -- as the adjusted true-life tale of surviving the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami continues to take flak for overwhelming focus on the white tourists affected by the tragedy. British historian Alex von Tunzelmann is among the least impressed, acknowledging the film's skilful construction, but writing: "The film seems unaware of its own politics – though it certainly has some ... Both at the beach and in the hospital, almost all the victims of this disaster appear to be white. The Alvárez-Belón family's story is moving, dramatic and true, and there's no reason it shouldn't be told; but it's a shame that that the film excludes any meaningful acknowledgment of the disaster's Asian victims while doing so." [The Guardian]   

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<p>&quot;Cloud Atlas&quot;</p>

"Cloud Atlas"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Anna Karenina,' 'Cloud Atlas,' 'Skyfall' among Art Directors Guild nominees

'The Master' takes another hit

The Art Directors Guild has announced nominees for excellence in production design for 2012. A wide cross-section of work was selected, though high-profile exclusions include "The Master" and "Moonrise Kingdom."

In the period category, Oscar frontrunners such as "Anna Karenina," "Les Miserables" and "Lincoln" were chalked up alongside "Argo" (which is likely to keep burning it up with industry awards) and "Django Unchained" (more support for Quentin Tarantino's film).

Meanwhile, in the fantasy field (which is likely to offer up one or a few Oscar nominees itself), PGA nominee "Life of Pi" made a showing, as did Ridley Scott's "Alien" prequel "Prometheus." Warner Bros. ought to be happy with the films rounding it out, as "Cloud Atlas," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" all come from their stable.

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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Past Suppers'

Will the risotto curse strike again as the chefs recreate past recipes?

Before we get started, a real moment with the chefs. Sheldon sharpens his knives every day. Stefan applies wrinkle cream every day. Discuss.

Anyway, Padma welcomes the chefs to a Quickfire Challenge with Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer. He makes custom knives that sell for $500 an inch. So yeah, you're not picking up any of these at Williams Sonoma anytime soon. To prove they're worth the money, Kramer demonstrates that he can cut an inch-thick knife with a single thwack. Holy crap. These would be great murder weapons for the discerning serial killer. 

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"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' recap: 'The Name Game'

Monsignor Timothy and Sister Mary Eunice go head-to-head
As the proverb goes, it's always darkest before the dawn, but I suspect dawn will never come to Briarcliff. Instead, the asylum seems pitched into an eternal state of gloom, and while some brave souls try to fight the system, I don't hold out a lot of hope for them. The darkness of this place is so oppressive, so unrelentingly black, it overwhelms at least one character this week. No spoilers here, but I will say this is one episode that demands your full attention, even as it skips over more details than I would have liked. 
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BLOGS BY NAME