J.K. Simmons
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

J.K. Simmons to receive Palm Springs Film Festival’s Spotlight Award

The 'Whiplash' actor is a likely contender for Best Supporting Actor

A successful, vibrant career as a character doesn’t always translate to awards. Take J.K. Simmons, who hasn’t received many accolades over his 20-plus year career, while being one of the most reliably energized performers working today. He’s appeared in multiple films for the Coen Brothers, Jason Reitman, Woody Allen, and anchored Sam Raimi’s "Spider-Man" trilogy. He’s no stranger to television, where he’s done everything HBO’s "OZ" to recent sitcom "Growing Up Fisher" to Nickelodeon’s "Legend of Korra." He’s even validated video games with his talent, voicing characters in "Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3" and "Portal 2." 

Casting Simmons in "Whiplash," as the vicious jazz band instructor Fletcher, was as much a gift to director Damien Chazelle and his fans as it likely was to the hard-working thespian. When handed a meaty role, Simmons sinks his teeth in as deep as they go.

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Fantastic Mr. Foxcatcher
Credit: Fox Searchlight

The 'Fantastic Mr. Foxcatcher' trailer: Steve Carell stars in terrifying Whack-bat drama

Bennett Miller’s Oscar hopeful lines up perfectly with Wes Anderson stop-motion

"Dude, you know the movie 'Foxcatcher'?"
"Yeah, I know Foxcatcher. We saw it yesterday."
"OK, you know how there weren’t any real foxes in it?"
"Yeah, Steve Carell’s farm was called 'Foxcatcher.'"
"Right, but what if there were?"
"What if there were what?"
"What if there were foxes."
"What if Foxcatcher had foxes in it?"
"Yeah, or… if Foxcatcher were about foxes."
"'Foxcatcher' starring foxes?"
"And a foxcatcher."
"That’s stu—…get me to the Internet."

And that, friends, is how YouTube comedy videos are born.

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Hugh Jackman
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Hugh Jackman to belt his way through P.T. Barnum biopic 'Greatest Showman on Earth'

Movie musical takes shape for summer shoot

Rare: Movie musicals. Very rare: Original movie musicals. Basically non-existent: Original, live-action movie musicals. What was once the bread and butter of Hollywood’s studio system is basically the ambler-encased mosquito in "Jurassic Park." If anyone could revive that dino DNA into a brand new behemoth, it’s Hugh Jackman. He’ll do just that next summer, when he begins shooting the long-gestating "Greatest Showman on Earth."

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An emotional Angelina Jolie brings Brad Pitt to Sydney for 'Unbroken' premiere
Credit: AP Photo/Glenn Nicholls

An emotional Angelina Jolie brings Brad Pitt to Sydney for 'Unbroken' premiere

Actress's latest directorial effort drew gasps from the assembled audience

It was an emotional rollercoaster for Angelina Jolie at the world premiere of her new film "Unbroken." The actress and husband Brad Pitt made their first public appearance together as a married couple at the splashy Sydney event, where Jolie's second narrative feature — about U.S. Olympic track star and WWII hero Louis Zamperini — reportedly drew gasps from the audience during one particularly brutal moment. The film depicts Zamperini's (played by "300: Rise of an Empire" star Jack O'Connell) struggle to survive in several Japanese P.O.W. camps, where he was imprisoned and systematically tortured after surviving for 47 days at sea following a plane crash.

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Robert De Niro
Credit: AP

Robert De Niro says he’ll appear in David O. Russell’s 'Joy'

The prestige project arrives Christmas 2015

Does Robert De Niro feel indebted to David O. Russell? His Best Supporting Actor nomination for 2012’s "Silver Linings Playbook" came 20 years after his last flirtation with the Academy, a Best Actor nod for 1991’s "Cape Fear." Many suspected that De Niro was done giving the all that earned him statues for "Raging Bull" and "The Godfather: Part II." Movies like "Little Fockers," "New Year's Eve" and "Righteous Kill" paid the bills — why chase awards fodder? And then "Silver Linings Playbook" came along, throwing the pessimistic theory out the window. De Niro kept a good thing going, reuniting with Russell for a bit part in "American Hustle," making him part of the director’s regular roster. From the sound of it, the working relationship isn’t slowing down: From De Niro’s mouth, he will costar in the director’s next project.

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Billy Boyd
Credit: Billy Boyd

Hear Billy Boyd perform 'The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies' credits song

'The Last Goodbye' will duke it out for a Best Original Song nomination

Teased in Warner Bros. Pictures’ "For Your Consideration" and later confirmed by all involved, Watertower Muisc has released actor-musician Billy Boyd’s "The Last Goodbye" in full. Running behind "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies’" credits, the track is one of the few components of Peter Jackson’s trilogy-capper that could take Oscar gold. 

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<p>Ava DuVernay at the AFI Fest world premiere of &quot;Selma&quot;</p>

Ava DuVernay at the AFI Fest world premiere of "Selma"

Credit: AP Photo

Ava DuVernay talks 'Selma' and the last-minute mad dash to an AFI Fest premiere

Plus: Her personal connection to the story's mid-Alabama setting

BEVERLY HILLS — Last week saw the world premiere of Ava DuVernay's "Selma" at AFI Fest after it had been advertised as a 30-minute footage presentation. But there was a lot more to the story behind the scenes. The plan had long been for Paramount to drop the full film as a surprise to the crowd that turned out for the presentation, assuming DuVernay could get the edit where she wanted it to be in the days leading up. Then, the festival dropped a shocker on both festival attendees and those involved with the "Selma" event: Clint Eastwood would take advantage of the Veteran's Day holiday to premiere his "American Sniper" as a secret screening right after Team "Selma" cleared the Egyptian Theatre. The pressure was on.

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<p>Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain at the AFI Fest world premiere of &quot;A Most Violent Year&quot;</p>

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain at the AFI Fest world premiere of "A Most Violent Year"

Credit: AP Photo

Off the Carpet: Where we stand after AFI Fest and self-proclaimed 'official' launches

Five contenders have come out to play with a couple more around the corner

A lot has happened to further set the stage for this year's Oscar race in the last week and a half. AFI Fest ultimately landed four major world premieres — "A Most Violent Year," "The Gambler," "Selma" and "American Sniper." Film Independent at LACMA added "Big Eyes" to the equation. "Unbroken" premiered in Sydney just hours ago as a show of appreciation (the film was largely shot in Australia) while screening to some press stateside (the big coming out will be Thanksgiving weekend). And the awards shows themselves have already started, namely the Governors Awards and the summarily dismissed Hollywood Film Awards. I suppose it's time to see where we stand…

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'Foxcatcher's' Steve Carell named Santa Barbara fest's Outstanding Performer of the Year
Credit: AP Photo/Sony Classics

'Foxcatcher's' Steve Carell named Santa Barbara fest's Outstanding Performer of the Year

Recent recipients include Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis and James Franco

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today that Steve Carell is the recipient of this year's Outstanding Performer of the Year Award for his work in Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher." The news comes right on the heels of the film's Thursday night AFI Fest premiere and theatrical release this weekend.

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Chadwick Boseman is keeping how they kept 'Black Panther' news quiet a secret

Chadwick Boseman is keeping how they kept 'Black Panther' news quiet a secret

'Get on Up' star might be looking at his first Golden Globe nod

Chadwick Boseman is looking at me with a huge grin on his face.

On the one hand, the "Get on Up" star is no doubt in a great mood after being celebrated by well-wishers for his performance as the legendary James Brown in last summer's well-received biopic. The late love is thanks to Universal Pictures, who has organized a Sunday brunch at SoHo House West Hollywood to help remind voters about Boseman's critically acclaimed portrayal. Director Tate Taylor ("The Help"), producer Brian Grazer and co-star Craig Robinson are all on hand, but Boseman is the center of the attention.  

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