News Nuggets: Oscars announce foreign film finalists; snubs for ‘The Past,’ ‘Wadjda’

The Oscar shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Film category is unveiled. The nine films making the cut are Belgium’s “The Broken Circle Breakdown“, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” Cambodia’s “The Missing Picture,” Denmark’s “The Hunt,” Germany’s “Two Lives,” Hong Kong’s “The Grandmaster,” Hungary’s “The Notebook,” Italy’s “The Great Beauty,” and Palestine’s “Omar.” The surprising snubs this year are “Gloria” (Chile), “The Past” (Iran), and “Wadjda” (Saudi Arabia). Thompson on Hollywood.

12 Years a Slave” continues to steamroll through many critic groups by winning their best film awards. The latest to honor the Steve McQueen movie are the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and the critics from Florida and Nevada. Keep up with all award winners and nominees from the past few weeks in our dedicated topic in the forums. Gold Derby Forums.

Who are the most influential entertainment people of 2013? The list is led by Jennifer Lawrence, who is followed by cable billionaire John Malone, Oprah Winfrey, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Vice Media’s Shane Smith, Ben Affleck, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, WME’s Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, Kerry Washington, executive Peter Chernin, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan, “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron, “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, and the late James Gandolfini. Variety.

John Oliver bids farewell to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” on his final episode Thursday. Stewart played clips from his longtime tenure as a correspondent on the show and from his guest hosting stint this summer. Oliver starts his own comedy-variety series on HBO in 2014. Hollywood Reporter.

Rebecca Keegan interviews Oscar winner Judi Dench about her six career nominations and the new role in “Philomena‘ which will probably earn her a seventh nod. A few critics have called the film “anti-Catholic for its harsh portrayal of the church’s treatment of unwed mothers.” She says, “I don’t think it’s a polemic against Roman Catholicism; I think it’s a film that’s unbelievably about faith.” L.A. Times.

What are the best TV series finales of all time? A special video package shows the evidence for: “Breaking Bad,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Newhart,” “The Office,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Sopranos,” “St. Elsewhere,” and “30 Rock.” Huffington Post.

Daytime syndicated talk show “Katie” is ending after two years. Host Katie Couric and Disney jointly stated, “We’ve mutually agreed that there will not be a third season of the show. We’re very proud of everyone’s contributions to making ‘Katie’ the #1 new syndicated talk show of 2012-2013, and we look forward to the rest of the season.” New episodes will be produced through June. TV Line.

Author J.K. Rowling is developing a prequel to the incredibly popular “Harry Potter” series of books and films. It will be a stage play that “will explore the boy wizard’s early years as an orphan and outcast.” Veterans Colin Callender and Sonia Friedman will produce the project, which will enter the development phase sometime in 2014. The Wrap.

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