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<p>&quot;The Pirates!&nbsp;Band of Misfits&quot;</p>

"The Pirates! Band of Misfits"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Animated Feature Film

'Brave,' 'Frankenweenie,' 'ParaNorman,' 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits' and 'Wreck-It Ralph' slug it out

(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.)

This year's race for Best Animated Feature Film was as competitive as it's ever been. There were a boatload of qualifying contenders (21) and many of them had an angle on a nomination. And after last year's one-two punch from GKIDS, many wondered whether the usual studio product would be laced with indie players, or whether an atypically quality slate of Hollywood toons would dominate the list.

As it turned out, it was the latter, as none of the four GKIDS hopefuls this year found room. But while studios were out in force in the category, one in particularly was tellingly left out of the conversation: DreamWorks Animation's "Rise of the Guardians" failed to land a nod after turning out to be a critical and financial disappointment. It was instead replaced by a surprise nominee from a highly respected animation studio.

The nominees are…

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<p>Katharine McPhee in &quot;Smash.&quot;</p>

Katharine McPhee in "Smash."

Credit: NBC

Review: NBC's 'Smash' continues to stumble in season 2

Many small fixes have been made, but the bigger problems remain the same
Julia Houston, the playwright heroine of NBC’s “Smash” — and also the fictional stand-in for the show’s ousted creator, Theresa Rebeck — declares early in the musical drama’s new season (it returns tonight at 9 with back-to-back episodes) that she doesn’t like to read reviews of her work.
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<p>&quot;Django Unchained&quot;</p>

"Django Unchained"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: Have the Oscars reconnected with America?

Also: The sequels we need to see, and why Jessica Chastain is exhausted

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]

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<p>Robin Sparkles (Cobie Smulders) turns into Robin Daggers on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Robin Sparkles (Cobie Smulders) turns into Robin Daggers on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'P.S. I Love You'

Paul Shaffer, Jason Priestley and friends highlight another trip to Canada

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...

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: 'Kim Nose Best'

The ladies work the pole in Vegas while another gets her nose fixed

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.

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<p>Henry Selick, seen here at the premiere of 'Coraline,' has rescued one of his passion projects from development hell at Disney.</p>

Henry Selick, seen here at the premiere of 'Coraline,' has rescued one of his passion projects from development hell at Disney.

Credit: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Henry Selick finds a partner to rescue 'The Shadow King' from Disney

Now they just need to find a partner to pay for it

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.

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<p>Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell had fun at this year's Golden Globes, and now it looks like she'll be joining him for more fun in 'Anchorman:&nbsp;The Legend Continues'</p>

Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell had fun at this year's Golden Globes, and now it looks like she'll be joining him for more fun in 'Anchorman: The Legend Continues'

Credit: AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater

Kristen Wiig joins 'Anchorman 2' in perfect fit as Brick's wife

The sequel to the comedy classic keeps adding more names to the party

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.

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<p>Monday's &quot;The Following&quot;</p>

Monday's "The Following"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The Following' - 'The Poet's Fire'

Amidst flashbacks, things get tense for the kidnapping trio
This is such a traumatic show.
 
Tonight's episode features a sexual-assault-turned-kidnapping, a suicide by gauze, three murders, oh and the continued presence of a killer cult that seems to worship death. Awesome! Ginger, get the popcorn.
 
One of the most intriguing elements of "The Following" is its pacing. This is a show that feels like a movie thriller. Twists and turns happen so fast that you get the idea the writers absolutely do know where this sick game is ending. That's rare enough, on network television, that seeing it play out is engaging. It's thrilling and horrifying at every turn, and even if those thrills aren't the most cerebral, I find myself strangely enthralled by what I'm watching.
 
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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen's &quot;Call Me Maybe&quot;</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"

Grammy Awards 2013: Handicapping Song of the Year

Carly Rae Jepsen takes on Miguel and Kelly Clarkson

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)

Previous Predictions:

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

Best Rock Song
Best R&B Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best New Artist

 

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<p>Justin Timberlake at the 2013 SAG&nbsp;Awards.</p>

Justin Timberlake at the 2013 SAG Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Justin Timberlake reveals details on his new documentary and album

Why is it called 'The 20/20 Experience?'

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...]

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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

'The Bachelor' recap: It's time for a relay race as the ladies fight for Sean

Tierra lets her freak flag fly yet again

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. 

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Your Academy Awards nominee class of 2013

Your Academy Awards nominee class of 2013

The gang's almost all here

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?

For a larger version of the photo click here.

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