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<p>Katie Collins post-&quot;Survivor&quot; Jury clean-up</p>

Katie Collins post-"Survivor" Jury clean-up

Credit: CBS

Interview: Katie Collins talks 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water'

Tina Wesson's daughter discusses her run to the season's penultimate episode
In many "Survivor" seasons, Katie Collins would have been the first person voted out. Her tribe lost the first challenge and she took responsibility for a big part of that failing. 
Instead, Brad Culpepper and his male alliance targeted Marissa and Katie was off on a surprisingly long run that ended on this week's episode only after a Duel in which her mother, Season 2 winner Tina Wesson, offered repeatedly to let her take second and stay in the game for another day or two. 
Katie declined her mother's offer and, months later, she sounds pretty comfortable with that decision. She also feels good about her last Tribal Council, in which she drew the white rock and was sent home by chance after multiple voting deadlocks. 
In the exit interview, Katie talks about her perpetually precarious position in the game, her feeling that she never would have written her mother's name down and the part of the game her mother couldn't have prepared her for.
Full Q&A after the break...
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Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave."
Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave."
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'12 Years a Slave' leads San Francisco Film Critics Circle nods

'Wolf of Wall Street' lands some top mentions

Another nomination list, another leading haul for "12 Years a Slave." This time, it's the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, and Steve McQueen's film receives nine nods. It's not an especially inventive list, but it's a solid one: nice to see the stars of "Blue is the Warmest Color" rack up another mention, while those of you rooting for "The Wolf of Wall Street" will be pleased to note nominations for Best Picture, Director and Actor. Perhaps the least expected mention: Harrison Ford's supporting actor nod for "42." That dogged FYC campaign finally yields some fruit. Winners will be announced on Sunday. 

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Brie Larson in "Short Term 12."
Brie Larson in "Short Term 12."
Credit: Cinedigm

Detroit critics name 'Her' the year's best, hand Brie Larson two awards

Scarlett Johansson takes another prize for her voice-only performance

The Detroit Film Critics Society mixed things up a little with their awards, giving Spike Jonze's "Her" another Best Picture win, but also going so far as to hand Scarlett Johansson their Best Supporting Actress prize for her voice work in  the film. They also went against the grain in Best Actress, giving the win to Brie Larson for indie darling "Short Term 12" -- then doubling up by handing her their Best Breakthrough Performance award too. Larger-scale filmmaking muscled in with a Best Director win for "Gravity." Full list after the jump.

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Jessica and Dana Brody are leaving 'Homeland'

Jessica and Dana Brody are leaving "Homeland"

Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor won't be back as series regulars in Season 4, but they could return as guest-stars. Their characters, Jessica and Dana Brody, have been mostly absent in recent episodes.

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<p>Forest Whitaker in &quot;Lee Daniels' The Butler.&quot;</p>

Forest Whitaker in "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'12 Years a Slave' and 'The Butler' impress African-American Film Critics Association

Sandra Bullock and Oprah Winfrey get on the scoreboard

In this banner year for black filmmakers, the African-American Film Critics' Association -- which doesn't exclusively honor black-themed cinema, but leans heavily in that direction -- was always going to be spoilt for choice. No surprise, then, to see "12 Years a Slave" take Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Breakout Performance for Lupita Nyong'o, while their Best Picture runner-up, "Lee Daniels' The Butler," won acting awards for Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. Sandra Bullock and Jared Leto round out the top prizewinners, while it's nice to see Andrew Dosunmu's superb "Mother of George" recognized further down. Full list after the jump. 

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Matthew Perry remaking 'The Odd Couple' for CBS

Matthew Perry remaking "The Odd Couple" for CBS
Perry will play Oscar in the proposed reboot of the Neil Simon classic about two mismatched roommates. He'll also serve as producer and co-write the pilot with "Mad About You" co-creator Danny Jacobson.

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Steve Harvey lands an interview with Obama

Steve Harvey lands an interview with Obama
The president is taping an interview at the White House for Harvey's daytime talk show.

Warren Buffett dresses as Walter White for his Christmas card
"Spoiler alert: Walter faked his death and moved to Omaha," says the billionaire "Breaking Bad" fan's Christmas card.

Cheryl Hines to guest on "The Crazy Ones"
She'll reunite with her former "RV" co-star, Robin Williams.

Watch videos of the black female comedians who are competing for "SNL" slot
They include standup comics and sketch performers who've appeared on shows like "30 Rock" and "My Wife and Kids."

"Hawaii Five-0" does an episode devoted to Pearl Harbor
Tonight's episode will not only revolve around the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941 but will also delve into the Japanese-American internment camps on Hawaii. PLUS: It's a hell of an episode.

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Oscar Talk: 'Hustle,' 'Wall Street,' precursors and the 10 best films of 2013

Oscar Talk: 'Hustle,' 'Wall Street,' precursors and the 10 best films of 2013

How did a fantastic year of filmmaking shape up on our lists?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is broadcast in special installments throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

On the docket today…

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<p>Surprisingly, Thorin actually smiles like this once in 'The Hobbit:&nbsp;The Desolation Of Smaug'</p>

Surprisingly, Thorin actually smiles like this once in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug'

Credit: HitFix

Richard Armitage discusses the rising darkness in Thorin for 'Desolation of Smaug'

The dwarf who would be king is struggling these days

Here's something I like about Richard Armitage: I don't get any sense that he has any interest in or illusions about being a movie star.

Instead, like most of the people Peter Jackson casts in his "Lord Of The Rings" films, Armitage strikes me as a character actor who doesn't mind vanishing into the make-up he wears as Thorin Oakenshield. My kids are huge fans of both of the "Hobbit" movies so far, and if they ended up in the same elevator with Armitage, they'd never know it was him. The transformation is that complete.

This is my second time chatting with him about the series, and what struck me this time is how much Thorin is already teetering on losing his battle with the rising darkness within him. Unlike Bilbo, who is battling the influence of the One Ring that he found, Thorin's darkness is completely generated from within. There is a madness that seems to set in around the vast mountains of money waiting for him in Erebor, and the closer Thorin gets to fulfilling what he sees as his destiny, the more he seems willing to do anything to anyone to make it happen.

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Martin Freeman in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."
Martin Freeman in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

The second part of Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth hits screens today

I haven't yet caught up with "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" myself. On my one opportunity to see it this week, it was scheduled against "The Wolf of Wall Street" and -- well, you know. I didn't get on at all with "An Unexpected Journey" last year, finding it narratively listless and visually garish (not helped by the divisive 48fps technology).

But my curiosity has been renewed after a number of trusted colleagues deemed the new instalment significantly superior to its predecessor. Drew McWeeny is among the believers, declaring the film a "thrilling" improvement. Now it's your turn. Do you agree that "Smaug" is a step up? Perhaps you thought the first film required no improvement? Or can you still not get over the division of one slender book into three films? Share your thoughts in the comments if and when you've seen the film, and vote in our poll below.

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Rob Corddry and Dwayne Johnson are set to become HBO 'Ballers'

Rob Corddry and Dwayne Johnson are set to become HBO "Ballers"
Peter Berg will direct the half-hour dramedy pilot about a group of current and former athletes in Miami. Johnson will play a former running back and Corddry -- who isn't leaving "Children's Hospital" -- will play his boss.

Baz Luhrman & Shawn Ryan are shopping a show about the dawn of the hip-hop era
The potential series -- which is being pitched to Netflix, Amazon, FX, Showtime and other cable networks -- would explore the birth of hip-hop from the perspective of two young New Yorkers.

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<p>Calin Peter Netzer with the Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlinale.</p>

Calin Peter Netzer with the Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlinale.

Credit: AP Photo

Calin Peter Netzer on maternal inspiration in foreign Oscar hopeful 'Child's Pose'

The Berlin Golden Bear winner is Romania's entry to the Academy Awards
As competitive as the current Oscar race is for Best Picture, the Best Foreign Language Film field is several times more feisty – with 76 films, precious few (if any) sure things and precious few (if any) joke contenders, it’s a tough road even for the most prestigious titles in the race. Prominent among those is Romania’s entry “Child’s Pose,” winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin earlier this year -- recent winners of which include eventual Oscar winner “A Separation” and surprise nominee “The Milk of Sorrow.”
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