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Oscars 2014: Ex-music branch chief has clear conscience over surprise Best Song nomination

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Eyebrows were raised with both surprise and suspicion yesterday when it was announced that the track “Alone Yet Not Alone” — from a faith-based film of the same name — had gained an Oscar nomination, beating out tunes by both Taylor Swift and Coldplay, among others. The surprise was due to the fact that very few people had heard of either the song or its parent film. The suspicion? That the song’s cowriter Bruce Broughton had used his position as a former chief of the Academy’s music section to egregiously game the voting system and convince people to tick the box for his song.

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Bruce Dern confirms he has spoken with Quentin Tarantino about next project -- EXCLUSIVE

Bruce Dern has confirmed that he spoke with Quentin Tarantino about the possibility of appearing in the director’s next movie. “We had a conversation,” said Dern, who yesterday received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as delusional alcoholic Woody Grant in the film Nebraska. “I mean, he hasn’t hired me yet or anything. But we had a conversation about the material, yes we did.”

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Oscars 2014: 'Nebraska' screenwriter says his nomination is like an 'Onion' headline

Screenwriter Bob Nelson is having a good day. “I got an email from Sears saying I got $5 in points,” he explains. “So that was pretty good.” Anything else happen? “Oh yeah, the Academy Award thing,” he deadpans.

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Oscars 2014: 'Nebraska' actress June Squibb talks nomination -- 'We hugged and kissed and cried'

If there is a more touching Oscar nominations day story than that of veteran thespian June Squibb — who has been given the nod in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in Nebraska — we’re not sure our hearts, or our tear ducts, can take it.

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Oscars 2014: 'Nebraska' star Bruce Dern on his Best Actor nomination

The way Bruce Dern tells it, the moment he learned he had been nominated in the Best Actor category for his performance in Nebraska sounds remarkably like a scene from the film itself, which stars Dern as a befuddled alcoholic named Woody who mistakenly believes he has won a fortune. “I have to sleep with a mask on sometimes,” says the actor, who was previously nominated 35 years ago in the Best Supporting Actor category for the drama Coming Home. “So, the Lone Ranger mask was still on. I was stumbling down the hall to go to the latrine. And when I got there, somebody said, ‘No, don’t go in there! Come out here, come out here!’ And there was Laura (Dern, his daughter), and my wife, and my business partner Wendy and I was absolutely thrilled. And a little bit stunned to tell you the truth.”

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Sundance 2014: Check out the poster for the Dan Stevens-starring thriller 'The Guest' -- EXCLUSIVE

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The next film from the makers of last year’s home invasion horror-comedy You’re Next? That would be action-thriller The Guest, which stars Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey. “It’s about this family who is grieving over the loss of their brother and son in a military conflict,” says You’re Next director Adam Wingard, who made The Guest in cahoots with his regular screenwriter Simon Barrett. “One day this guy shows up and claims to have been friends with him. He ends up integrating himself into the family and then we slowly learn more and more about this guy and who he really is. It’s got a sense of humor similar to You’re Next but then it takes an action-twist.”

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Golden Globes: What '12 Years a Slave' victory means for Oscar race -- ANALYSIS

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A kind of hopelessness had set in at the Golden Globe viewing party hosted by Fox on Sunday night. The mood only got worse and worse as the show went on. The overall sense going into the ceremony was that members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association were not major fans of Fox Searchlight’s harrowing 12 Years a Slave. 

Still, there were a few chances … all of them lost. Almost.

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Marvel One-Shot: First Look at Ben Kingsley's Mandarin encore in 'All Hail the King' short film -- EXCLUSIVE

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Beware, Iron Man 3 spoilers lie ahead …

Trevor Slattery is ready for an encore. But it’s not always good to be the king.

Marvel’s latest One-Shot short film is aimed at a loose end: Ben Kingsley’s dim-witted Mandarin impersonator from Iron Man 3, who has been locked away in a maximum security prison and is reveling in his newfound infamy. (It’s as close to fame as he’s ever gotten.)

The 14-minute film All Hail the King was written and directed by Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce, and will be included on the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray, out Feb. 25. Entertainment Weekly has seen the movie and has the exclusive debut of four pictures from the short – plus details from Pearce about how it all came together.

The short is an epilogue to Iron Man 3 … but you could also see it as a possible prologue to Iron Man 4.
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Directors Guild nominees: Martin Scorsese in, but no Spike Jonze

The Directors Guild of America announced its feature film nominees today and the list is full of fairly safe bets: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave and David O. Russell for American Hustle.

The other two contenders selected by the DGA were Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street and Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips.

The question is whether the Oscar nominations will follow suit this time, or veer into surprise territory like last year.

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Werner Herzog talks about acclaimed doc 'The Act of Killing' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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In the documentary The Act of Killing, Indonesian death squad members are persuaded to recreate atrocities they committed during the ’60s as if they were acting in Hollywood movies. As compelling as it is disturbing the Drafthouse Films release is on the Oscars shortlist for best documentary feature and just this weekend shared the best non-fiction film trophy with At Berkeley at the National Society of Film Critics Awards.

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