<p>Martin Freeman in &quot;The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.&quot;</p>

Martin Freeman in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Production Design

'Anna Karenina,' 'The Hobbit,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Lincoln' and 'Les Misérables' square off

(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.)

Best Art Direction was one of two Oscar categories to get rechristened last year: from here on out, it'll go by the rather more imposing-sounding Best Production Design. It was a long-overdue change, really, given that the award includes production designers and set decorators among its nominees... but not, funnily enough, art directors. Go figure.

The name may be new, but this year's slate of Best Production Design nominees otherwise finds the award on familiar ground, offering voters a choice between period spectacle and fantasy spectacle -- though none of it in films too far outside the Academy's comfort zone. (Three of the nominees are also up for Best Picture.) Compounding the sense of familiarity: all but two of the 11 names cited have been to the dance before, while one of the nominated films adjoins a franchise previously rewarded in this category. In recent years, the Academy has often opted for films that combine fantasy and period elements, with expensive, effects-heavy productions winning out for the last few years running. Still, this year's field offers more traditionalist voters a couple of attractive handmade options. 

The nominees are...

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<p>The Academy's official poster for &quot;The Oscars.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

The Academy's official poster for "The Oscars." 

Credit: AMPAS

Roundup: The name's Oscars... just The Oscars

Also: The best acceptance speeches, and the Academy's lawyers speak

This Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony with be the 85th in history -- an auspicious number, and a "wine anniversary" if you go according to the traditional gift list. (Appropriate, too: I think we could all use a drink now.) But you won't find any mention of that in the show's official marketing this year, which has erased the phrase "85th Academy Awards" in favor of the simpler, more casual-sounding "The Oscars." Steve Pond reports that producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron chose to rebrand the show in this fashion to give it a younger appearance: "We're not calling it 'the 85th annual Academy Awards,' which keeps it mired somewhat in a musty way," says Meron. Personally, I think the number lends proceedings a sense of authority rather than mustiness, but I can't see it making much difference either way. An AMPAS spokesperson, meanwhile, says the change isn't necessarily permanent. [The Wrap]  

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<p>&quot;5 Broken&nbsp;Cameras&quot;&nbsp;co-director Emad Burnat</p>

"5 Broken Cameras" co-director Emad Burnat

Credit: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Michael Moore: Oscar nominee detained at LAX, threatened with deportation (UPDATED)

It looks like it's a bumpy start for Emad Burnat this week

"Emad Burnat, Palestinian director of Oscar nominated '5 Broken Cameras,' was held tonight by immigration at LAX as he landed to attend the Oscars," documentary filmmaker and Academy branch governor Michael Moore Tweeted to his 1.4 million followers this evening. "Emad, his wife and 8-year-old son were placed in a holding area and told they didn't have the proper invitation on them to attend the Oscars."

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<p>Julia Roberts in &quot;Mirror Mirror&quot;</p>

Julia Roberts in "Mirror Mirror"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Anna Karenina,' 'Mirror Mirror,' 'Skyfall' win Costume Designers Guild Awards

The late Eiko Ishioka gets recognized for her fantasy threads

It was a big year for the costumers. They finally broke away from the art department folks in the designers branch to have their very own branch in the Academy. And this evening, the Costume Designers Guild put a bow on the industry awards circuit by being the final such group to present superlatives for 2012 in advance of this weekend's Independent Spirit Awards and the 85th annual Oscars.

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<p>Cover art for &quot;The&nbsp;Master&quot;&nbsp;Blu-ray</p>

Cover art for "The Master" Blu-ray

Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Win a copy of 'The Master' on Blu-ray!

Paul Thomas Anderson's film hits shelves next week

Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" is still in the conversation at the end of the season because the actors stuck up for it in three key races. But the masterful 70mm effort will live on beyond this year, of course, as everything Anderson has put out into the world has.

My journey with the film has been an interesting one. I knew when I emerged from the Ziegfeld Theatre premiere here in New York that it wasn't going to be a Best Picture nominee. I also knew that didn't matter one bit because there was something lurking in that big, bold mixture that was speaking to me. A handful of revisits solidified it for me as one of the 10 best films of 2012.

While we wait to see if any of its actors has a shot at shocking the world on Oscar night, the film will be making it's way to the home market a week from today and we have an opportunity for you to win a copy of the Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD for yourself. We have two copies, in fact. It's been a while since we've run a contest so let's remedy that!

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<p>Samantha Barks, the one &quot;Les Mis&quot; principal to have played her role on stage.</p>

Samantha Barks, the one "Les Mis" principal to have played her role on stage.

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Les Mis' returns to the Great White Way

On the heels of its screen success, the musical is set for a 2014 Broadway run

Good news for younger Broadway geeks who never got to see "Les Misérables" before it disappeared from New York stages in 2007, and have had their appetites whetted by Tom Hooper's film: the blockbuster musical is returning to the Great White Way next year. The 25th anniversary touring production that's been touring the US for a while now will settlle into a Broadway theater in spring 2014, a development presumably facilitated by the film's popularity. (Dates, venues and casting have yet to specified.)

On London's West End, where "Les Mis" is now in the 28th year of its run, the show has never stopped being a hot ticket -- albeit for tourists more than anyone else -- but apparently even its routinely robust box office has intensified since the film's release. Even Londoners are going to see it, I'm told, which probably hasn't happened in significant numbers since the 1980s.

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<p>Best Picture nominee Ben Affleck and Best Adapted Screenplay nominee Chris Terrio on the set of &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Best Picture nominee Ben Affleck and Best Adapted Screenplay nominee Chris Terrio on the set of "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Oscars: HitFix's interviews with the nominees

Revisit their thoughts on the films that brought them here

As we push on through the final week of the 2012-2013 film awards season, here's a look back at our chats with the lucky artists who heard their names called on January 10.

We ended up talking to an even 50 Oscar nominees throughout the season, with every single feature category represented. Some came before the nominations were announced, some came after, when this or that person was bathing in the afterglow of the recognition.

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<p>&quot;Django Unchained&quot;</p>

"Django Unchained"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Sound Editing

'Argo,' 'Django Unchained,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Skyfall' and 'Zero Dark Thirty' square off

(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.)

Along with Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing might be one of the toughest races to call on Oscar night. The ultimate line-up was a 3/5 match-up with Best Sound Mixing, which isn't uncommon. And the presence of so many Best Picture players is becoming less and less unique as well. But this year in particular, it would seem the race could go a number of ways.

What's worse, the Motion Picture Sound Editors' Golden Reel Awards did very little to clear things up, splitting its wins between the top two contenders. And nevertheless, the sound editors' choices won't necessarily equal the Academy's. The Best Picture frontrunner is right there in this category, tempting votes from those who will want to see it show up strong on Oscar night.

The nominees are…

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Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Robert De Niro are all looking for their third Oscar.
Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Robert De Niro are all looking for their third Oscar.
Credit: Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks Pictures/The Weinstein Company

Meet the Academy's exclusive club of three-time acting Oscar winners

Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Sally Field and Denzel Washington hope to join

As "Lincoln" star Daniel Day-Lewis has dominated the precursor film awards circuit thus far, he has quickly become one of the no-brainer bets on Oscar night this Sunday. His presumed victory would bring him a third Best Actor Oscar after he won previously for 1989's "My Left Foot" and 2007's "There Will Be Blood."

There are precious few actors to have won as many prizes from the Academy in their time. There have been five, in fact. And it will be their illustrious company the actor will be joining upon gracing the stage at the Academy Awards. In fact, this looks to be the second year in a row the club takes on a new member.

But Day-Lewis isn't alone in that quest. "Silver Linings Playbook" star Robert De Niro hasn't been in the Oscar hunt since 1991's "Cape Fear," but he's back in a big way this year. He's been everywhere in phase two, campaigned within an inch of his life. And it may yet pay off. He won Best Supporting Actor in 1974 for "The Godfather Part II" and Best Actor in 1980 for "Raging Bull." So, odd as it sounds, David O. Russell would follow in the shoes of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese as directors to lead De Niro to an Oscar if it were to happen.

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<p>&quot;Argo&quot; Blu-ray cover art</p>

"Argo" Blu-ray cover art

Credit: Warner Home Video

'Argo' hits DVD/Blu-ray today ahead of other Best Picture hopefuls

If you haven't seen it yet, now's your chance

The year being back-loaded with awards hopefuls as usual, most of the films up for major awards at the Oscars this year haven't been available on home video yet. Indeed, it was interesting that no film could really make a DVD/Blu-ray release part of its campaign, as we've seen in the past. The only Best Picture nominee that has been widely available is "Beasts of the Southern Wild," until today.

If you haven't had a chance to see the film everyone's talking about the last few weeks, the film that seems poised to win the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday, "Argo" hits shelves today on DVD and Blu-ray. The disc has four featurettes on the making of the film and the history behind the story it depicts. Ben Affleck provides a standard commentary as well.

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