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Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Picture - Is it really a two-horse race or will something shock the world?

Oscars Lowdown 2014: Best Picture - Is it really a two-horse race or will something shock the world?

'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' do battle while others look for an inside track

In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool!

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<p>In the &quot;Hannibal&quot; season premiere, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) adjusts to life behind bars.</p>

In the "Hannibal" season premiere, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) adjusts to life behind bars.

Credit: NBC

Season premiere review: 'Hannibal' - 'Kaiseki'

Dr. Lecter and Will Graham trade places, to the discomfort of all involved

"Hannibal" is back for a second season. I posted an advance review yesterday, and I have some thoughts on the season premiere coming up just as soon as the light from friendship won't reach us for a million years...

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<p>Contrary to how it felt watching the movie, there are actual moments where Diogo Morgado does not smile in &#39;Son Of God&#39;</p>

Contrary to how it felt watching the movie, there are actual moments where Diogo Morgado does not smile in 'Son Of God'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: 'Son Of God' is all mini-series left-overs and no miracle

It's the ultimate Teflon treatment of the Greatest Story Ever Told

As the news broke this week that Paul Greengrass is interested in finding a way to bring "Zealot" the bigscreen, it made me sad that we still haven't seen Paul Verhoeven's proposed movie about the historical Jesus Christ. It's a subject Verhoeven's been studying for decades now, and I have to imagine he would bring a real breadth of knowledge to his approach. Like Verhoeven, I would assume Greengrass is going to try to dig deep to show us something we haven't already seen from this story.

Any time a filmmaker tries to tackle a subject as big and vague as "Jesus" for a movie, you're going to learn a lot about the filmmaker from the final product. However, Christopher Spencer has put that theory of mine to the test by turning in a genuinely bland and forgettable picture here, about as middle-of-the-road as a movie can be.

I have no doubt the film will do big business this weekend. It's a perfect film for the faith-based audience to get behind, because there is no chance this movie will rile or upset anyone from that audience. Diogo Morgado stars as Smilin' Jesus, and the emphasis seems to be on how Jesus built his following, with a fair amount of energy spent on the early miracles he performed, none of which come across as particularly miraculous or convincing.

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<p>She&#39;s all grown up: Kristen Bell as she&#39;ll appear in the &quot;Veronica Mars&quot; movie.</p>

She's all grown up: Kristen Bell as she'll appear in the "Veronica Mars" movie.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch the first two minutes of the ‘Veronica Mars’ movie

A quick reminder of what Veronica went through on her TV show

The "Veronica Mars" movie doesn't arrive in theaters for another two weeks — and will be simultaneously available via various digital and On Demand platforms, in addition to all the Kickstarter backers who paid $35 or more getting their own copy of the film on March 14 — and to continue priming the audience, Warner Bros. has put the first two minutes of the film online.

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Credit: CBS

Interview: Natalie & Nadiya talk 'The Amazing Race: All-Stars'

It was only a one-episode run for the Twinnies

Normally the first team eliminated on "The Amazing Race" ends up being pretty anonymous, because it's just too hard for producers to give quality time to so many players in a crowded premiere episode.

Say what you want about All-Star seasons or the specific All-Stars this season, but very few people were ambivalent about Twinnies Natalie & Nadiya Anderson, who earned fans and haters alike for their first season, which included a contentious money incident, some smart U-Turn strategy and lots and lots and lots of yelling.

On Sunday's "Amazing Race" premiere, though, only the yelling was in evidence and even that was half-hearted after a while. Natalie & Nadiya got an early advantage getting on the first of two flights to China, but struggles in a wedding district saw them fall from first to last. By the time they started bickering at the top of the Canton Tower over ferris wheel cars, they were basically doomed, before they got to their first Roadblock or Detour.

In the season's second "Amazing Race" exit interview -- I also chatted with Bopper about his medical departure -- Natalie & Nadiya talk about the mistakes they made, how things might have been different if they'd had allies from their season and the All-Stars they're disappointed they didn't get to race with more.

Click through for the full Q&A...

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<p>Normally, I&#39;d be scared of these two more than any human being in the cast, but then again, I&#39;ve seen &#39;Full Metal Jacket&#39;</p>

Normally, I'd be scared of these two more than any human being in the cast, but then again, I've seen 'Full Metal Jacket'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Vincent D'Onofrio signs on as the bad guy in 'Jurassic World'

So far, Colin Trevorrow's put together a great cast for this one

When I recently published a piece about "Fantastic Four," a commenter asked why everyone seems determined to cut slack to Josh Trank as director of that film. While I enjoyed "Chronicle," it's not just a blank check. For my own part, I can only say that I want to see Trank pull it off. I don't know if he will or won't, and it's true… we have only one film to judge. But that does't change the idea that I'd much rather get a great "Fantastic Four" than a bad one, and I'm willing to wait to see if the big choices he's making pay off instead of just pulling that automatic fanboy dismissal of things.

I feel the same way about Colin Trevorrow. "Safety Not Guaranteed" is enjoyable, but didn't exactly blow my mind. I am still not sure what it is about that small romantic drama that made the producers of "Jurassic World" decide he was the guy, but like Trank, I think he genuinely loves the property he's working on and I hope he pulls it off.

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VH1 cancels 'Single Ladies'

VH1 cancels “Single Ladies"
The hourlong dramedy from Queen Latifah is ending after three seasons.

Bill Clinton’s national security advisor complained to Aaron Sorkin he wasn't represented on "The West Wing”
In a draft of a May 2000 speech released today as part of the Clinton White House archives, Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national security advisor said he had to “chew … out” Sorkin, which resulted five months later in Anna Deavere Smith assuming the role of national security advisor on the show. PLUS: Rob Lowe: "I blamed Aaron Sorkin" for this oversight.

George Lopez says he “tied one on last night”
"Not feeling great this morning. I was trying to sleep it off, unfortunately, it was on the casino floor,” the comedian said in a statement of his arrest for public drunkenness.

Is “Scandal” violating the U.S. Constitution?
Last night’s episode could affect President Fitz’s Electoral College votes. PLUS: Harrison with a storyline was the shocker of the night.

Arthur Chu has become one of “Jeopardy!’s” best-ever contestants, no thanks to game-theory
Game-theory has little to do with Chu’s recent dominance. He’s just a brilliant player.

What it’s like to be an Oscar seat-filler
You must look like you belong there, but you’re forbidden from talking to anybody except other seat-fillers.

Jimmy Fallon is keeping “The Tonight Show” top-notch thanks in part to the monologues
Fallon’s monologues were considered one of his weakest attributes, but they’ve become one of his biggest strengths, says Verne Gay. “Effortless, funny, roll-with-the-punches and smart,” he says. "Fans knew all along he could nail this show, but the new monologues-on-steroids  strategy was certainly something to be concerned about. (Fallon is a fine performer, but he's not a joke machine.) But he's nailed that too.”

Richard Simmons has been creating his own TV parodies: Watch him as “Duck Dynasty"
The fitness guru has also parodied “The Carrie Diaries” and “Homeland” on his YouTube page.

Ranking the Oscar hosts of the past 25 years
Billy Crystal is the best — and one of the worsts.

10 Oscar traditions that need to die
From the pre-pre-shows to the mispronunciation of names.

Introducing “Mad Black Men”
Watch the trailer for a diverse take on the AMC series. PLUS: Peggy Olson gets a 2-minute “Mad Men” tribute.

What’s up with Barney’s “HIMYM” series finale outfit?
Neil Patrick Harris was photographed wrapping his character in unusual attire.

“Broad City” tour delayed by Season 2 pickup
The 18-city tour will kick off Nov. 4 instead of March 4.

Ryan Seacrest pens a Vanity Fair tribute to Ellen DeGeneres
"I think a large part of Ellen’s success comes from not pretending to be somebody else,” he writes.

Chris Harrison on having a gay “Bachelor”: “Is it a good business decision?"
In an interview with the NY Times, “The Bachelor” host says he doesn’t know if it’s the show’s job to break barriers. “I just spoke at U.S.C. the other night,” he says, "and I explained it like this: Look, if you’ve been making pizzas for 12 years and you’ve made millions of dollars and everybody loves your pizzas and someone comes and says, 'Hey, you should make hamburgers.' Why? I have a great business model, and I don’t know if hamburgers are going to sell.” PLUS: Harrison delves further into “The Bachelor” in this podcast interview.

It’s amazing what a desk does for Seth Meyers
In his first week on “Late Night," Meyers has proved to be at his best when sitting behind a desk.

Bill Nye takes a selfie with President Obama and Neil Degrasse Tyson
The Science Guy visited the president today at the White House.

CCH Pounder and Kim Dickens will return to “Sons of Anarchy” in a limited capacity
Kurt Sutter says both actresses have other acting commitments, so they’ll each appear in two to four episodes next season.

The “True Detective” glossary almost explains everything
What does “R&I,” “KA,” “DB” and “The Farm” mean? PLUS: 6 theories on The Yellow King, and the power of cramped spaces on “True Detective."

“ER” is being remade in India and Colombia
Warner Bros. has also sold the rights to “Pretty Little Liars” to the Philippines and “Gossip Girl” to Thailand.

“Bones” adds Shohreh Aghdashloo
The “24” alum will play Arastoo's mother.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s new shoe line includes “The Carrie”
Of course Parker was going to name a shoe after her “Sex and the City” character.

Matthew Perry taps one of his “Go On” co-stars for “The Odd Couple”
Sarah Baker’s role as Oscar’s assistant was specifically written for her due to their chemistry.

Jimmy Kimmel’s Spanish-language “Scandal” spoof will return with 3 more installments
“Escandalo” will also feature Latino cast member Guillermo Diaz, who wasn’t on last night’s episode. PLUS: Kimmel had his 2nd-best night ever last night, and see more pics from Kimmel’s post-Oscar video.

New “SNL” Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost: "I’m definitely a little nervous”
Jost just wants to get started. "“There’s something innately credible about someone who writes and is up to date about politics and pop culture moving into Update,” Jost says. “I’m just carrying on a tradition.”

“Kirstie” creator exits
Marco Pennette, who is also show runner of Kirstie Alley’s comedy, is moving to “Mom” to do the exhausting demands of the TV Land comedy. No word if “Kirstie” will be back for a 2nd season.

“NYPD Blue’s” Henry Simmons joins Michael Imperioli on “Saint Francis” on ABC
Simmons will co-own a bar with Imperioli’s character.

Check out "Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge”
Here’s a preview of the Syfy reality show, which will be judged by Jim Henson’s son Brian.

“Hannibal”: The show you can’t get out of your head
With the debut of Season 2, Matt Zoller Seitz says of the NBC drama, "You could say it’s as close as a broadcast network has gotten to the personal artistry of the best premium-cable shows, if it weren’t bolder and more elegant than anything on pay cable right now, including HBO’s own serial-killer drama, 'True Detective.’ The show’s greatest asset is its mastery of tone, a quality most shows don’t have the time or inclination to get right. Hannibal’s formal daring is never empty showmanship; it’s always in service of making the whole series feel like an endless lucid nightmare.” PLUS: Bryan Fuller watches “American Horror Story,” is planning to binge on “True Detective."

See baby Aziz Ansari
The “Parks and Rec” star tweeted a very young pic of himself.

“Girls” isn’t bad, but it needs to be fixed
“The show is missing something now,” says Darren Franich. "It lacks the confessional edge that made season 1 so compelling and season 2 fitfully brilliant. It still  has funny things to say about New York, but all those funny things have  an unmistakable cocktail-party stench: book-industry in-jokes, magazine-industry in-jokes, Broadway in-jokes. The three non-Dunham female leads are all caught in weird ruts: Their characters barely seem to be on the show, and they barely seem to want to be on the show.”

Frank Underwood’s chief of staff was the most interesting character in “House of Cards” Season 2
Michael Kelly’s Doug Stamper proved to be the most compelling this season. PLUS: That hacker subplot was hacky, and Tumblr spoofs “House of Carbs."

Discovery tonight unleashes “Game of Stones”
Meet the stars of the new gem-hunting reality show.

“Smallville’s” Laura Vandervoort gets engaged
The “Bitten” star is marrying British actor Oliver Trevena.

Watch The WB stars dance together in a promo from 2000
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Keri Russell, David Boreanaz, Katie Holmes, Katherine Heigl, Kate Bosworth, Ian Somerhalder, Alyssa Milano, Jamie Foxx, Michele Williams, James Van Der Beek, Scott Foley, Shannen Doherty, Joshua Jackson and Melissa Joan Hart.

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<p>Adele Exarchopoulos won the only award for &quot;Blue is the Warmest Color&quot; at tonight&#39;s Cesar ceremony.</p>

Adele Exarchopoulos won the only award for "Blue is the Warmest Color" at tonight's Cesar ceremony.

Credit: Sundance Selects

'Blue is the Warmest Color' falls to 'Me, Myself and Mum' at César Awards

Roman Polanski surprises, while 'Broken Circle Breakdown' bests 'Gravity'
Since its blazing triumph at Cannes, things haven't gone all that well for "Blue is the Warmest Color" on the awards beat. Oscar eligibility controversy aside, it was cockblocked  by "The Great Beauty" at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and European Film Awards, and now it's also lost on its own home turf, as actor-director Guillaume Gallienne's autobiographical comedy "Me, Myself and Her" took top honors at the César Awards.
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Dylan McDermott goes from 'Hostages' to another CBS thriller

Dylan McDermott goes from “Hostages” to another CBS thriller
McDermott will play an LAPD detective who hunts down stalkers in a psychological thriller from Kevin Williamson.

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<p>Dylan McDermott from &quot;Hostages&quot;</p>

Dylan McDermott from "Hostages"

Credit: CBS

Dylan McDermott sticks with CBS for Kevin Williamson pilot

'Hostages' hasn't been cancelled yet, but it will be

Last spring, both sides of Derbel McDillet shot formally ambitious hostage dramas set in and around Washington, DC.

Dylan McDermott's "Hostages" premiered in the fall to mixed-to-negative reviews and stable-but-miniscule ratings. It hasn't formally be cancelled, but come on. Get real. CBS is going to cancel it. 

That leaves Dermot Mulroney's NBC drama "Crisis." Now "Crisis" hasn't premiered yet, but like many NBC dramas in recent years, one could assume that it will fail. Or one could assume that given NBC's recent semi-hot streak and the stature of Mulroney and Gillian Anderson, that it could totally succeed. Or one could look at NBC's non-football Sunday programming in recent years and assume it's going to succeed.

"Crisis" has become Schrödinger's Derbel McDillet Hostage Drama.

That's my way of saying that Dylan McDermott has signed on for the lead in CBS' untitled Kevin Williamson drama. Dermot Mulroney, however, could not have signed on for a CBS pilot, because "Crisis" is in a box, it's simultaneously a guaranteed hit and a guaranteed failure. "Hostages," however, is a dead cat.

This has been a long day and I'm very sleepy. Click through for more details on McDermott's role. 

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

5 rock acts ripe for country music tribute albums

You know you want to hear Eric Church sing 'Highway to Hell'

Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band and Toby Keith are among the artists who will be traveling to China Grove on a Long Train Runnin’ for a cover album of Doobie Brothers songs.

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"Everest Jump Live"

"Everest Jump Live"

Credit: Discovery

Watch Joby Ogwyn prep for his Mt. Everest summit jump

Warning: may cause nausea if you have a fear of heights

So far, so good. Climber Joby Ogwyn conducted one of several test jumps this week in preparation for his wingsuit flight off the summit of Mt. Everest, and you can watch the footage from one jump below. In May, Discovery will broadcast the epic live event, titled "Everest Jump Live," in 224 countries and territories. Warning: if you have a fear of heights, this clip may be a bit much for you.

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