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Only time will tell just how many statuettes will 'The Artist' take home and whether talking puppets will grace the Oscar stage.
By Kevin P. Sullivan
In the days leading up to Sunday's Academy Awards, the night's six biggest categories have clear favorites. But many of our burning questions remain unanswered. Even without the potential for surprises built into the major races, there's still plenty left to leave us speechless.
Here are our biggest burning questions heading into Oscar night:
How big will "The Artist" be?
At this point, few can really doubt that the ode to silent film is going to win, and it's going to win big. With Best Picture more or less locked for "The Artist," only one question remains: How many statuettes will it take home? Its star Jean Dujardin is poised to take Best Actor and Michel Hazanavicius should take Best Director, since that award tends to precede Best Picture. But the film has many nominations in technical categories that are still undecided.
Will the Muppets surprise?
Soon after Eddie Murphy stepped down as host, an internet campaign gained steam supporting the Muppets hot off their big-screen comeback as replacements. The Academy ultimately went with Billy Crystal for the hosting gig, but a nomination for the song "Man or Muppet" gave fans hope for a big musical number during the ceremony. Alas, neither it nor its sole competitor, "Real in Rio," will get live performances, but the Muppets could surprise with an appearance bigger than their scheduled presentation.
Is "A Separation" a lock for foreign film?
With a screenwriting nomination to its credit, the Iranian film stands far in the lead for Best Foreign Language Film, but bigger upsets have occurred. "The Lives of Others" stole the thunder of Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," and "The Secret in Their Eyes" beat out both "A Prophet" and "The White Ribbon." This could be a favorite that may face a disappointing surprise.
Who will end the "In Memoriam" montage?
Based on prestige, the honor goes to Elizabeth Taylor, who died a month after last year's ceremony. Buzz and tragedy levels say it will go to Whitney Houston. One should not forget Steve Jobs, whose involvement with Pixar certainly qualifies him for a mention, but may be too tangential to be included. It's a morbid question, but one people genuinely wonder about.
How will Billy Crystal do?
As a last minute stand-in for Murphy, the Academy Awards' second most experience host is getting another shot after eight years away from the gig. But will his usual Oscar routine be enough to hold the audience's attention after all these years? The day-after assessment of hosts usually amounts to a thumb up or a thumb down, but where Crystal will land after his ninth outing remains to be seen.
What burning questions do you have about the Oscars? Let us know in the comments section!
The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and on Sunday, February 26, tune into MTV.com at 5 p.m. ET for our two-and-a-half-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night's big winners. To join the live conversation, tweet @MTVNews with the hashtag #Oscars.Related Videos
Thursday, February 23, 2012
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Plus, Blake Shelton tries to repeat his season one strategy by adding two unique female vocalists.
By John Mitchell
"The Voice" judges Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green proved as picky and discerning as ever on Monday night's fourth round of blind auditions. Several strong performers were turned away as the judges continued to carefully select the contestants they hope will go all the way to the finals — and in turn, win bragging rights for the last judge standing. And Cee Lo continued to inexplicably stroke a white cat during his to-the-camera interviews. "The Voice" is so weird and wonderful ... now, on to the show.
Aguilera got off to a strong start, scoring the night's first two contestants (well, the first two who got picked at all, that is). First up was Jonathas, a 23-year-old father of two who moved to the U.S. from Brazil at age 5 to escape poverty and violence. Sounding so much like Usher with his rendition of "U Got It Bad," Jonathas fooled the judges at first. "I thought that was a prank," Cee Lo told the singer. "I thought that was actually Usher."
Again distinguishing what sets "The Voice" apart from its competition, Aguilera, who turned her chair for Jonathas at the last minute, noted that as a pop singer, she has experience with choreography and the inner workings of pop star packaging, things that could aid Jonathas in his quest for stardom. "She's got packages on her mind," Cee Lo joked, trying to steal away the crooner. But it didn't matter, he picked the big-voiced Xtina.
Aguilera didn't have to win the night's next contestant, Monique Benabou — she was the lone judge to turn her chair for the singer on Shelton's recommendation. The country star felt Aguilera could shape Benabou as a vocalist. In a rare non-bickering moment, Shelton even called his fellow judge the best female vocalist of her generation.
In another last-minute chair swivel, the "Beautiful" singer also picked up the Texas-born son of a mega-church pastor, Anthony Evans, who sang Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On."
Shelton, who worked well with female vocalists last season, played to his proven strengths and added two unique-sounding ladies to his team: Naia Kete and Charlotte Sometimes.
Host Carson Daly hand-delivered Kete's invitation to the dreadlock-sporting street performer on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California, where she performs with her brother and boyfriend. The singer's textured delivery of "The Lazy Song" earned an immediate chair turn from Blake, who took another atypical vocalist, Dia Frampton, to the finals last season (and on tour with him this year).
As interesting as Sometimes' voice also was, her backstory was arguably even more compelling. As a child, the singer suffered from a jaw problem that nearly left her unable to sing and required surgery and several weeks with her mouth wired shut to correct. Her throaty, rock-rooted take on Timbaland and OneRepublic's "Apologize" got every judge's approval. While it seemed for a second like she might go with Cee Lo, Sometimes ultimately surprised and chose Shelton — after he reminded everyone that his unique-voiced ladies from the show's first season earned recording contracts, of course.
Team Cee Lo
The always colorful Cee Lo Green assembled what was easily the night's most diverse team, ranging from a flamboyant Broadway showman to a guitar-strumming sandwich shop worker from Chicago.
Green was the sole judge to turn his chair for theater vet Tony Vincent, who has starred in "Rent," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "American Idiot." For his audition song, he chose Queen's "We Are the Champions," and he did so with good reason: He was lucky enough to get to work on the song with the surviving members of the band when he went to London and later Las Vegas to work on their musical "We Will Rock You."
He also snagged Jamie Lono, whose take on "Folsom Prison Blues" got Adam to turn his chair immediately. When Lono announced his profession as a sandwich maker, Cee Lo joked, "We should hook up then, 'cause I eat sandwiches." The music Renaissance man — a trait that continues to prove itself his biggest draw as a mentor — also picked up a favorite of Daly's, 30-year-old Justin Hopkins.
Hopkins used to play in the house band for Daly's late-night talk show, "Last Call With Carson Daly," and the host couldn't help but pull for his old buddy, saying, "I'm rooting for you, selfishly." Hopkins was also really hoping Cee Lo would turn around for him, gushing about the "Forget You" singer in his pre-performance interview. He got his wish.
The always charismatic Maroon 5 frontman was basically shut out until late in the show, picking up the night's final two contestants. The two lucky ladies to join the handsome singer's team couldn't have been more different.
First up was Nicolle Galyon, a classically trained pianist who sings country. Defiant that she would not have to change her instrument of choice to suit her genre, Galyon sang a fine rendition of "You Save Me" that nevertheless brought out her nerves. "I lose my voice when you're around too," Shelton jokingly said of his bro Levine (they seem a little bro-y these days, yes?).
Adam also added onetime med school student Mathai to his team, though he had to fend off Cee Lo and Blake to win over the young singer. Mathai only recently chose to break from the conventions of her conservative family to pursue music. Her performance of Adele's latest single, "Rumour Has It," inspired Blake to declare, "Attention: We are looking at a star." But ultimately, Mathai went with Levine, who now only has two open spots remaining on his 12-person team.
A few other singers were picked up by the judges, though their full performances did not air on the episode. Blake added Jordan Rager, whom he called a "true country singer," which is no doubt a mighty compliment coming from one of the most successful singers in the country game, as well as rocker Alyx. Adam seemed quite happy to add Karla Davis to his roster.
The judges were very picky Monday night letting many talented singers walk away from the competition. First among them was the artist Ducky, whose moustache Blake complimented before offering the rocker a drink to ease the pain of not getting picked up. Also given their walking papers were Erick Macek, who brought his own distinct acoustic flair to Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," Dallas-born Eric Tipton and 19-year-old Dylan Chambers, who Aguilera liked but ultimately decided needed a few years to let his voice mature.Related Artists
Monday, February 20, 2012
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Filmmaker's impending return to the Autobots-Decepticons war is a hot topic of debate on this week's 'Talk Nerdy.'
By Josh Wigler
The big-screen return of Optimus Prime was all but guaranteed when "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" earned more than a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. But less certain was the return of Michael Bay, the outspoken filmmaker who directed all three movies in the "Transformers" trilogy. Like leading man Shia LaBeouf before him, Bay hinted that "Dark of the Moon" would be his last time driving the Autobots forward. But as with all things "Transformers," it appears there was more than meets the eye with that story.
Bay's return for "Transformers 4" was confirmed this week during a conversation between MTV News and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. While most fans are thrilled at the prospect of seeing future "Transformers" films, others are skeptical about the return of Bay. That very question — to Bay or not to Bay — is one of the top topics of conversation in this week's edition of "Talk Nerdy." Check out the debate in the video below, and keep reading for more from this week's show!
Autobots Keep Decepticons at Bay
When it comes to "Transformers," Bay brings a lot to the table: money, name recognition and explosions aplenty. That formula has worked well for the past three "Transformers" movies, but is Bay really the right man for what's supposed to be a wholesale reboot? Team Nerdy was divided on the issue. See what they think in this week's episode.
Spidey Goes Viral
Beyond Bay, big news in the nerdy-movie space involved the arrival of a new "Amazing Spider-Man" viral campaign this week. On Monday, Peter Parker's backpack was dropped off at MTV News, followed a day later by a cell phone and cryptic message urging your friendly neighborhood Splash Page editor to stay tuned for further instructions. The details of the viral campaign remain unclear, but one thing's for sure: Anticipation for "Amazing Spider-Man" has never been higher. Watch "Talk Nerdy" for the gang's thoughts on the webslinger's big-screen comeback.
Burning for "Ghost Rider"
It's war at the box office this weekend as Chris Pine and Tom Hardy team up for "This Means War," going toe-to-flaming-skull against "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance." Both are worthy films in their own right, according to the Nerdy team, though only one of these movies features burning urine. Proceed to your local theaters accordingly.
What do you think of this week's "Talk Nerdy" discussion? Tell us in the comments!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Democracy Corps poll found three reasons for the Republican decline.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
Valentine's Day is tomorrow and love is in the air for hot celebrity couple Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Selena may be sad over the split from her band The Scene, but it looks like Justin is doing a very good job boosting her spirits.
'Benedict has got this intensity about him,' actor tells MTV News about new 'Trek' villain.
By Kara Warner
Given the overwhelming success of J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek," much ado has been made over the sequel, which started production not too long ago. One of the more interesting stories to come out of the flurry of activity surrounding the new film is the casting of rising star Benedict Cumberbatch as the chief villain.
The very busy actor could only express his excitement about the project when MTV News caught up with him at the Golden Globes, but co-star Chris Pine had a little bit more to offer about Cumberbatch's contributions to the film thus far.
"Benedict is fantastic. He's just so good," Pine told MTV about his scenes with the British actor at the premiere of "This Means War." "He's super talented, and we are more than grateful to have him onboard."
When asked about the tone of his scenes with the "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "War Horse" actor, Pine gushed about his co-star's acting skills. "Benedict has got this intensity about him, and he's obviously extremely intelligent and articulate. His vocal quality is something else. He obviously is, unlike many of us, like, an actually trained actor," Pine added with a laugh. "He actually studied for it."
So what are we going to love about Cumberbatch's performance? And will it be love/hate, since he's playing a mysterious villain?
"[You'll love] everything. He's really talented," Pine said. "I think it's all going to be love — a mad amount of love."
Another "Star Trek 2" actor, Alice Eve, was just as excited about Cumberbatch joining the team, having worked with him previously on "Starter for 10." "I'm very excited to work with him again. He's so very funny, Ben," she said. "I don't know if you remember his character in 'Starter for 10,' but he was so funny. Like King of the Geeks, but he did it so well, and I found a lot of that hard to get through because he was so funny. I like him very much."
Check out everything we've got on "Star Trek 2."
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