Joaquin Phoenix explains how "I'm Still Here" prepared him for "The Master": "['The Master'] is being touted as Phoenix's big comeback, following a brief hiatus spent filming the mock-umentary, 'I'm Still Here,' where he explored a career in rap. Though the film was considered a confusing flop, the actor said that it was just what he needed before returning to acting. 'Part of why I was frustrated with acting was because I took it so seriously. I want it to be so good that I get in my own way,' Phoenix told the Time magazine of his decision to take a break from acting. 'Once I became a total buffoon, it was so liberating.'" ON THE RED CARPET
It's official: Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban join Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson as "American Idol" judges: "Fox was under pressure to get deals finalized with Ms. Minaj and Mr. Urban because the first tapings of auditions for a new season of 'Idol' begin Sunday night in New York; the shows will begin broadcasts in January. The network had held off from confirming the widespread rumors of their selection because they had not signed their contracts until this weekend. The new judges replace Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, who both left 'Idol' last spring after two seasons." NEW YORK TIMES
Director Cristian Mungiu returns to the Oscar race. Will the Academy make up for their 2007 snub? "... eyebrows would have been raised if Romania hadn't submitted 'Beyond the Hills.' Cristian Mungiu's long-awaited follow-up to his 2007 Cannes champion, '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' earned a raft of glowing reviews -- if not quite the unanimous veneration that greeted his previous film -- upon its premiere back in May ... The selection of Mungiu's film throws down an interesting gauntlet of sorts to this voting branch, for the director's last film remains something of a thorn in the their side. Just as 'The Dark Knight' is widely -- if not quite accurately -- regarded as the film that triggered a change in the structure of the Best Picture category when it failed to make the cut in 2008, '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' is similarly perceived in relation to the foreign-language race." IN CONTENTION
Will "The Book of Mormon" move from stage to screen? "The two creators [Trey Parker and Matt Stone] were first asked about the recent rumors that the musical might be turned in to a feature film. Parker discussed their plans (or rather their lack-of-plans) to the press. 'We don't have any,' he explained. 'The only thing is that when we first started working on it seven years ago we kind of toyed with the idea of it being a Broadway show or being a movie. Obviously since Matt and I knew how to make a movie we thought we'd make a movie because we can do that pretty quickly, but we stuck with it and after we saw our first few workshops with an audience, we thought this would be cool as a stage thing.'" I AM ROGUE
Broadway, "Law & Order" vet Jesse L. Martin will guest star on "Smash": "Jesse L. Martin, one of the original members of the Tony-winning 'Rent' Broadway cast, will recur over an arc and will sing in some episodes of the musical drama. Martin will play Scott Welker, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Workshop whose story crosses with virtually every cast member. 'Smash' is about a group of dreamers and schemers with big dreams of Broadway stardom, working on a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe." EXAMINER
Final Oscars smackdown: Tariq blasts Tom for that stupid Leo prediction
Those sparring Oscar experts Tariq Khan and Tom O'Neil clash one last time as Tariq blasts Tom for having made a few numbskull picks and Tom counter-attacks with nuclear warheads. Alternately funny, outrageous and fearlessly ferocious, these guys just can't calm down even though the Oscars are over. Listen to their podcast below. Subscribe and see more at iTunes and Libsyn.
Hot Oscar Links
OVERVIEW OF WINNERS (AND LOSERS)
Complete list of winners (and nominees)
Gold Derby odds predicted 22 of 24 Oscar winners
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Beware: 11 possible upsets loom
How the preferential ballot works
Winners In All 24 Categories
Watch: Editors' slugfest with last-minute predix
EXPERTS PREDICTIONS (By category)
Picture: 22 predict '12 Years,' 8 'Gravity'
Director: 30 predict Alfonso Cuaron
Actor: 29 predict Matthew McConaughey
Actress: 30 predict Cate Blanchett
Supporting Actor: 30 predict Jared Leto
Supp. Actress: 26 predict Nyong'o, 4 Lawrence
Original Screenplay: 15 predict 'Hustle,' 15 'Her'
Adapted Screenplay: 29 predict '12 Years'
Animated Feature: 30 predict 'Frozen'
Foreign Film: 26 predict 'Great Beauty'
Documentary: 19 predict '20 Feet,'
Production Design: 22 predict 'Gatsby,' 5 'Gravity'
Cinematography: 29 predict 'Gravity'
Costume Design: 24 predict 'Gatsby,' 4 'Hustle'
Editing: 20 predict 'Gravity,' 8 'Captain Phillips'
Makeup & Hair: 28 predict 'Dallas Buyers Club'
Sound Editing & Mixing: 29 predict 'Gravity'
Score: 28 predict 'Gravity'
Song: 28 predict 'Frozen,' two favor U2
Visual Effects: 29 predict 'Gravity'
Animated Short: 27 predict 'Get a Horse'
Doc Short: 29 predict 'Lady in Number 6'
Live Action Short: 16 'Voorman,' 9 'Helium'
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Read more about entry and rules here. Make your initial Oscar predictions now. Change them later as often as you wish up until Oscar Day. Below, meet our past winners of recent award prediction contests.
Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.
Gold Derby presents 4 sets
of Oscar predictions