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The Master and Beasts of the Southern Wild Sweep L.A. Film Critics Awards

9 December 2012 2:59 PM, PST

Barely a week after their New York colleagues crowned Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty film of the year and gave a much-deserved nod to Matthew McConaughey's abs, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced their picks today via Twitter. Two films came in for particular praise:The Master, with Joaquin Phoenix clinching Best Actor and Paul Thomas Anderson receiving the Best Director laurels, and Beasts of the Southern Wild, that magical-realist phenom from the bayou, with Dwight Henry taking home Best Supporting Actor for his debut role. Check out the full list of winners below, including Amour's Best Picture nod.Best Picture Amour Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) Best Screenplay Chris Terrio (Argo) Best Actor Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) Best Actress (Tie) Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) Best Animated Film Frankenweenie Best Supporting Actor Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild) Best »


- Andre Tartar

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Skyfall Is Back on Top of the Box Office

9 December 2012 2:49 PM, PST

The Bond flick, which has earned almost $1 billion globally, shot back up to the top of the domestic weekend box office with a $10.8 million showing in its fifth week. Meanwhile,  Twilight Breaking Dawn — Part 2, which was number one for weeks, fell two spots saga with just $8.9 million in ticket sales, having been beaten out by DreamWorks Animation's lackluster Rise of the Guardians, which still managed $10.4 million. Rounding out the top five were Steven Spielberg's Lincoln ($8.8 million) and whimsical spectacle Life of Pi ($8.3 million), with a $6.1 million opener for Gerard Butler's Playing for Keeps putting it in a pretty distant sixth. »


- Andre Tartar

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Your Sunday Long Reads: Ke$ha and Freaks and Geeks

9 December 2012 11:34 AM, PST

It's Sunday afternoon — your last chance to read all that stuff you meant to read last week before Monday brings a new deluge of things you will want to read. Below, some of our recommendations: "Ke$ha, Warrior Princess" by Steven Hyden (Grantland): A paean to our dirtiest pop star.  "2 Good 2 Be 4Gotten: An Oral History of Freaks and Geeks" by Robert Lloyd (Vanity Fair): Relive the short-lived magic with Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and James Franco.  "Does This Writer Deserve the Prize?" by Perry Link (New York Review of Books): Brush up on the ongoing debate over Chinese Communist Party member Mo Yan's Nobel Prize in Literature .  "Atari Teenage Riot: The Inside Story of Pong and the Video Game Industry's Big Bang" by Chris Stokel-Walker (BuzzFeed): A look at how a "crude table-tennis arcade game" distributed to California pizza parlors led to a business that now out-earns Hollywood. »


- Andre Tartar,Caroline Bankoff

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Saturday Night Live Recap: Jamie Foxx Does the Time Warp

9 December 2012 8:02 AM, PST

I always forget that Jamie Foxx first got famous by doing sketch comedy on In Living Color. His post-television career has moved farther and farther away from comedy, but more importantly, even when he returns to his roots, as he did last night, it never has the feel of letting a natural comedic talent go out there and do his thing. It's more carefully managed, like you would do with a movie star. He's not bad. He flubbed about every fifth line and coasted through a couple sketches, but he still has something of an instinct for timing. I just think he left his comedic sensibility where he left In Living Color: in the mid-nineties. Most Sensitive Depiction of Post-Traumatic StressSolid little cold open, with Jay Pharoah's Obama taking pity on poor, bullied John Boehner. The thing with Pharoah's Obama isn't that it's not funny. It's scary accurate, »


- Joe Reid

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The Year in Culture: 2012 in Viral Videos

8 December 2012 10:00 AM, PST

As we at Vulture continue to review the year in culture, there's a lot to talk about. But not to be forgotten are all the viral videos that entertained us in 2012. This year's big winners — as far as your parents are concerned, considering they forwarded you the videos after they saw them on the Today show — are "Gangnam Style," "Call Me Maybe" interpretations, and Felix Baumgartner's planetary plunge. But our list of the top ten viral videos of the year isn't as concerned with pageviews.Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls Although the Shit ____ Say meme technically started in 2011, it was just a couple of days after New Year's when Franchesca Ramsey uploaded her own spin to YouTube. "Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls" wasn't just funny — it was a sharp-tongued, painfully accurate account of what casual racism sounds like. The video made »


- Eliot Glazer

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West Virginia Senator Says MTV Reality Show Buckwild Is Full of 'Ugly Stereotypes' About His State

8 December 2012 9:55 AM, PST

Senator Jo Manchin is a proud West Virginian — and a former governor to boot — which is why he is unhappy with the MTV producers who crept into his state and "preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now are profiting from it" in the form of the channel's new reality show, Buckwild. In a letter to MTV President Stephen Friedman, Manchin wrote that he was "repulsed" by the show, which, according to MTV,  chronicles the "colorful antics of a group of friends just out of high school in rural West Virginia" and has already been referred to as "the Jersey Shore of Appalachia." (Manchin's criticisms recall those of New Jersey's own Governor Chris Christie, who vetoed a $420,000 tax credit for Jersey Shore, which he felt "[perpetuated] misconceptions about the state and its citizens.") Buckwild's executive producer, John Stevens, defended the project, telling Entertainment Weekly, "It's »

- Andre Tartar

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Ex-Judge Cheryl Cole Sues X Factor

8 December 2012 9:19 AM, PST

Remember Cheryl "Chezza" Cole? No? Well, that's maybe not too surprising. The British singer and erstwhile Simon Cowell protégé signed on as one of the U.S. X Factor's judges last year after a surprisingly successful run on the British version of the show. However, she only survived a few weeks of pre-taped auditions before bad outfits and an incomprehensible Geordie accent saw her cut loose.  Though some British tabloids reported last week that Cole and Cowell held a meeting to "bury the hatchet" and talk over some new projects, it seems that their chat actually did not go that well: Chezza filed a $2.3 million lawsuit against X Factor's production company, Blue Orbit, yesterday. The suit claims her "pay-or-play contract" covered two seasons, which means she's owed the $2 million she'd have banked for judging season two. Cole also asks for miscellaneous expenses promised — for her wardrobe, L.A. »


- Andre Tartar

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Ten Pop Culture Questions Vulture Answered This Week

8 December 2012 8:00 AM, PST

On the Seventh Day, the Lord rested, and you deserve to as well! Your Vulture editors get it: Maybe you had a busy week of perfecting your biotic explosions in Mass Effect 3 and couldn’t read Vulture as scrupulously as you might have. Maybe you found yourself plowing through all the Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo’s that had piled up on your TiVo. Or maybe you actually did some work. The point is, you can’t be expected to ask and answer all ten of entertainment’s Big Questions every week. That’s our job.1. How can I eliminate all the empty holiday calories (and for religious Jews, apostasy) associated with advent calendars while still enjoying a sugar-rush of anticipation? By partaking daily of our Les Miserables advent calendar, natch! Every day, a new treat to open the appetite ... for revolution! 2. There are so many infuriating shows on TV – how »

- Vulture Editors

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Ty Burrell Set to Star in Muppets Sequel

7 December 2012 2:45 PM, PST

The Hollywood Reporter reports that the puppetlike Ty Burrell is set to star as a human Interpol agent in the upcoming Europe-set, Jason Segel–less Muppets sequel (2 Muppets 2 Furious?). It's a part that Christoph Waltz had to back out of because of scheduling conflicts (and because he was scaring all the kids.) Burrell should be a natural on set — for years he's been acting against Luke Dunphy, a character who's basically a teenage Fozzie Bear without the hat and stand-up aspirations. »


- Jesse David Fox

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What TV Showrunners’ Cameos Say About Their Shows

7 December 2012 2:28 PM, PST

When it came time for someone to be handed the grossest scene in Sons of Anarchy’s season finale this Tuesday, the show’s creator, Kurt Sutter, stepped into the spotlight: His character, the deranged biker Otto, who has been in prison for three seasons, bit off his own tongue to avoid having to testify in an ongoing racketeering investigation. This moment one-upped another of Sutter’s thespian showstoppers, in which Otto masturbated in a prison infirmary bed while biker mama Tara (Maggie Siff) held his head, her wrist scented with the favorite perfume of Otto's murdered wife. That Sutter would cast himself as arguably the most extreme character on an already extreme show is a testament to his perverse sense of humor. But it's also part of a TV tradition. Like film directors before them, showrunners have been known to cast themselves in cameos or recurring roles that seem »


- Matt Zoller Seitz

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Somewhere in Portland, Gandalf Is Riding Around on a Unicycle, Playing the Bagpipes

7 December 2012 2:15 PM, PST

His name is the Unipiper, and he is somehow not Fred Armisen's newest character on Portlandia. He is an actual human being (and America's Got Talent contestant) in Portland who was recently caught on video riding a unicycle and playing a bagpipes in full Gandalf regalia. His Facebook page reads, "Anyone else getting like really excited for the release of The Hobbit!??!?" Well, we thought we were, but in comparison to this guy, we might as well just wait for the DVD. »


- Eliot Glazer

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Nicolas Winding Refn to Direct Denzel Washington in The Equalizer

7 December 2012 2:00 PM, PST

Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn has signed to direct Denzel Washington in The Equalizer, an action film loosely based on the eighties TV series of the same name. The film, which will begin shooting next spring, will center around Washington's character, a former government spy who now uses his powers to help the downtrodden. Either way, hope he likes surprisingly graphic violence and not talking that much. »


- Jesse David Fox

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Even Terry O’Quinn Didn’t Know Who He Was on the Canceled 666 Park Avenue

7 December 2012 1:45 PM, PST

When 666 Park Avenue was canceled, Terry O'Quinn tweeted, "Too bad about the show, but ... shit happens." Succinct, to the point, but it didn't tell us a lot, so when Vulture ran into the show's star at last night's premiere of The Hobbit, we asked him to elaborate. "I'm used to it," he explained. "I've been doing this for a long time, so it's hard to surprise me. I'm more surprised by great success than sudden departure."The show had just enough notice to revise its last episode into a series finale of sorts, but even so, the last four episodes probably won't provide much clarity regarding the show's mythology — what's up with Whoopi Goldberg turning into a flock of white birds? What are the black birds, for that matter? Is Gavin Doran the devil? "Those are questions that won't be answered, unfortunately. They really only had time to ask all »


- Jennifer Vineyard

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Would You Like to Read Lena Dunham’s Book Proposal? You Can

7 December 2012 12:45 PM, PST

As you may recall, the Lena Dunham Backlash Curve dipped again this fall when the Girls creator sold an advice book for a whopping $3.7 million.  Two months later, Gawker has posted Dunham's book proposal in full, so that you might learn exactly what kind of advice is worth mid-seven figures. The 66-page, whimsically illustrated proposal includes anxious travel anecdotes, lessons learned from Dunham's therapist, the expression Fupa ("Fat Upper Pussy Area"), and an extensive retelling of the things that Lena ate during the last week of August, 2010. (Warning: There's also a rude pig photo inserted in the middle.) It is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a Lena Dunham send-up of Helen Gurley Brown. Anyway, it's here; have at it.  »


- Amanda Dobbins

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Death Becomes Her Becoming a TV Show for Bravo

7 December 2012 12:30 PM, PST

Start stockpiling cans of frosting now: Death Becomes Her is maybe going to be a TV show. Bravo and the movie's director Robert Zemeckis are developing a TV adaptation of the 1992 movie, Variety reports. The natural first reaction is of course "ugh, don't do this," but we have to admit that a Death Becomes Her show would fit in perfectly with all the Real Housewives contrivances. »


- Margaret Lyons

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Barbra Streisand Sort of Remembers The Hangover

7 December 2012 12:15 PM, PST

Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen co-star in The Guilt Trip, about a mother and son duo who hit the road together. In the movie, they bicker. In real life, they have this actual exchange with a reporter from the New York Times:Streisand: In life I’m not a prude. In film I’m still a prude. Like when I saw that movie, Hangover, with the guy, Javalopolis? Rogen: Zach Galifianakis. Streisand: Galafanakinis? Rogen: Galifianakis. Streisand: He was naked in the elevator, and I heard later it was not his real thing. But everybody thinks it’s his real thing. Rogen: So what’s the difference? [Laughs.] Streisand Well, that’s the advice I’m going to give you: Don’t stoop so low. Somewhere, a man named Javalopolis got his hopes up for nothing. »


- Margaret Lyons

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Vulture Is Playing for Keeps: Ten Other Obviously Titled Movie Ideas

7 December 2012 11:45 AM, PST

Playing for Keeps, which opens this weekend, is about a divorced father (Gerard Butler) coaching his son's soccer team. However, he's not just playing to win — he's playing for keeps, like to keep his son. If this title were any more on the nose it would be Coaching Soccer for My Son's Love. This isn't the first time Hollywood went for a grotesquely obvious, idiom-based title. Do you remember Made of Honor? That isn't a typo, it was really "made" because Patrick Dempsey was not only playing a maid of honor, he was, apparently, literally constructed out of honor. This phenomenon is not exclusive to schlock. The Oscar nominated Up in the Air is about a man who both flies a lot and whose life is up in the air. (Sure, the title was taken from the book, but titles are changed for movies constantly — someone decided to keep it. »


- Jesse David Fox

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Kevin Smith’s Last Film Might Now Be Clerks III

7 December 2012 11:30 AM, PST

In August, Kevin Smith said he was going to split his final film, Hit Somebody, into two movies. But it appears he couldn't stop splitting and the next thing he knew, he didn't have a movie anymore but a miniseries. This left a vacancy in his "final film" slot, until today, when he tweeted: "So with the Hit Somebody shift, the minute Jeff Anderson signs on, my last cinematic effort as a writer/director will be Clerks III. #TaDa" Ultimately, Smith's legacy is tied to the films inside that universe, so this sounds like a perfect last hoorah. Snooch to the nooch. »


- Jesse David Fox

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Yvonne Strahovski on Playing Dexter’s Love Interest and Women Serial Killers

7 December 2012 11:15 AM, PST

Yvonne Strahovski plays our favorite serial killer's new love on Dexter — your classic case of boy meets girl, boy tries to kill girl, boy falls for girl instead, because she's a killer, too. Unlike Rita, Lila, or Lumen, Hannah McKay can hold her own with Dex, even if she doesn't have as high of a body count. Too bad his Lieutenant sister Deborah is closing in on Hannah, just as Captain Maria Laguerta is closing on the real Bay Harbor Butcher — otherwise these two crazy kids might have a chance! Strahovski chatted with Vulture about joining Dexter, her favorite murder method, and her crush on Tom Hanks.You recently tweeted that your cable guy had yet to come by, so you haven't been able to watch your own show. If he'd been watching, he'd know not to mess with you![Laughs] Yeah. I still haven't gotten to watch the last »


- Jennifer Vineyard

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What Are Redneck Aerobics and Why Would Anyone Voluntarily Partake in Them?

7 December 2012 11:05 AM, PST

In the immortal words of Jeff Foxworthy, you might be a redneck if ... you invent something called the "Redneck Olympics," but instead of understanding that aerobics is a form of exercise, you just grab a bouncy ball and brace for impact from a moving car. If you're generally troubled by seeing people get hit by cars (and survive), this is not for you. »


- Eliot Glazer

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