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Is the death of movies for grown-ups greatly exaggerated? This year's best picture Oscar race says yes

LOS ANGELES--On Sunday night, nine mostly midbudget films with grown-up themes -- loss, war, discrimination, artistic struggle -- will compete for best picture at the 89th Academy Awards. That may sound like business as usual for an awards show that traditionally favors critically acclaimed dramas, but this isn't: Nearly all of them have ...Read more

Oscars red carpet: 'The gravy train is over' for TV stations and networks

LOS ANGELES -- A spot on the Oscars' red carpet now comes with a price.

For the first time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is charging a license fee to TV stations and networks that broadcast live shows with interviews of movie stars on the red carpet before Sunday's 89th Academy Awards telecast.

The Beverly Hills nonprofit ...Read more

Column: Why 'La La Land' is more deserving than Oscar-winning 'Artist'

Five years ago, a movie came out of nowhere to reclaim a moribund genre, and to celebrate the glamour and charismatic power of LA's show business fantasies and realities.

This was an industry movie, patting itself on the back, heartily. And since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voting membership has a track record of supporting ...Read more

Why the 'La La Land' vs. 'Moonlight' Oscar showdown is a good thing

Most years, watching the Oscars is about rooting for your favorite movie and feeling vindicated when it wins, or sulking and thinking bad thoughts about out-of-touch Academy voters when it loses.

Not this year, though. This year, my allegiance is torn.

Part of me hopes "La La Land" wins all of the 14 Oscars for which it's nominated (tying the ...Read more

Aaron Kaufman revs up his post-'Fast N Loud' future

When the news came out just before Christmas that "Fast N' Loud" mechanic Aaron Kaufman would be bidding farewell to his co-star Richard Rawlings, it was a shock to some fans of Discovery's car-restoration series. After all, the Dallas-based reality TV show has been a huge success since its debut in 2012 and helped turn their Gas Monkey Garage ...Read more

Oscars may end up feeling like a political rally

Jane Fonda had a golden opportunity to lash out against the Vietnam War -- and she passed.

"There's a great deal to say, and I'm not going to say it tonight," she said upon reaching the podium in 1972 to accept the Oscar for "Klute."

Don't expect this year's winners to be as restrained.

The only thing more certain than an Emma Stone victory ...Read more

Oscar predictions: Like it or not, we're in 'La La Land'

First of all, Hollywood, good for you.

Oscar season is usually a celebration of the motion-picture industry's endless capacity to love the motion-picture industry, but this year's nominated films show a laudable curiosity about the lives of people who are not actors.

There are movies about a janitor ("Manchester by the Sea"), a sanitation ...Read more

From 'Moonlight' to 'Manchester,' a critic marks his hypothetical Oscar ballot

Who will win? Who should win? I feign no expertise when it comes to the former, but if I had a ballot in this year's Oscar race, here's how I would fill out the following categories. (There are 24 categories total, but interest and laziness compel me to focus on just 11.)

BEST PICTURE: "Moonlight"

No shortage of excellent choices here: In a ...Read more

11 of the most political moments in Oscar history

January's Screen Actors Guild Awards turned out to be one of the most politically charged in memory, with multiple winners taking the opportunity to challenge President Donald Trump's policies. Since then, the atmosphere has become even more politically charged, and Hollywood is unlikely to stay out of the fray on Oscar night this year. But if ...Read more

Travel ban puts accent on foreign nominees

In many ways, the foreign-language film category has always embodied the contradictory passions that surround the Oscars themselves -- it's wildly important to some, utterly meaningless to others and a vague sidebar to many.

This year that role has become even more pointed. In an awards season already marked by political acceptance speeches and...Read more

NBC banking on viewers being 'Taken' with new series

LOS ANGELES -- The team behind the new NBC drama "Taken" have a very particular set of skills. Skills they have acquired over very long careers. Skills they hope will make "Taken" a nightmare for other networks. They want their show to find viewers and kill in the ratings.

"Taken," a prequel to the Liam Neeson movies of the same name, comes ...Read more

Why wait until Sunday? Here's our winners list

After six months of campaigning and cajoling and trying to get "City of Stars" out of our heads, the Oscars are finally here. So it's time for some final predictions for Sunday's ceremony.

Ready?

Somebody will mention Donald Trump. Somebody will cry. Somebody will cry while mentioning Donald Trump.

We good? No? OK. There will be exactly eight...Read more

L.A. firm on red alert: Carpet vendor scrambles to install Oscars' familiar flooring (Truth be told: It's closer to burgundy)

LOS ANGELES -- In Aeschylus' play "Agamemnon," the titular king's homecoming from the Trojan War is marked by his vengeful wife Clytemnestra, who offers him a red carpet on which to walk.

"Now my beloved, step down from your chariot, and let not your foot, my lord, touch the Earth," she says.

But Agamemnon is dubious, noting that only gods are...Read more

Movie review: The art, agony and gooseflesh of stand-up comedy in 'Dying Laughing'

LOS ANGELES -- No one knows for sure who came up with the celebrated bromide "dying is easy, comedy is hard," but it's a thought that's perfectly suited to the subject matter of the brisk documentary "Dying Laughing."

An involving examination of and tribute to the art and agony of stand-up comedy, "Dying Laughing" will leave you convinced that ...Read more

What's opening in theaters next week

"Logan" (R): Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the clawed mutant Wolverine for the seventh and final time -- and this time, the camera doesn't look away from the bloody violence.

"Before I Fall" (PG-13): Zoey Deutch stars as a woman forced to relive the last day of her life again and again. You know, like "Groundhog Day," except this one is ...Read more

Review: Melanie Lynskey raises hell in bloody dark comedy 'World'

LOS ANGELES -- The governing philosophy of writer-director Macon Blair's darkly funny suburban noir is nicely summed up by its melancholy mouthful of a title: "I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore." A more succinct version of this idea -- and here I'm paraphrasing the movie's put-upon heroine, Ruth Kimke (Melanie Lynskey), who uses ...Read more

Movie review: Oscar nominee 'Zucchini' is stop-motion delight with tart humor

LOS ANGELES -- As unexpectedly enchanting as its title is initially perplexing, "My Life as a Zucchini" is short but oh so satisfyingly bittersweet, an example of the kind of movie magic that's always hard to find.

A word-of-mouth phenomenon since its premiere at Cannes last year, this 70-minute stop-motion feature took the grand jury prize and...Read more

Movie review: 'Kiki' is energetic, affectionate portrait of New York's LGBT ballroom scene

LOS ANGELES -- The various bodies moving through "Kiki," an energetic and enveloping documentary about New York City's LGBT ballroom scene, are capable of astonishing, even superhuman physical feats. They dance and gyrate on underground subway platforms, down half-empty streets, and on the grass at Christopher Street Pier. They pour themselves ...Read more

Q&A: 'Gilmore Girls,' 'Zoo,' 'NCIS'

You have questions. I have some answers.

Q: I just finished watching the four most recent episodes of "Gilmore Girls." The ending was a surprise for me and I was wondering if it will be coming back with any more future episodes.

A: I have not seen anything about that. It was tough enough to get that cast together for the four-episode "Gilmore ...Read more

Alan Colmes, liberal voice on Fox News, dies at 66

NEW YORK -- Alan Colmes, the longtime liberal TV and radio host for Fox News, has died after a brief illness, the network announced Thursday. He was 66.

Colmes was best known as the left-leaning foil to conservative Sean Hannity on the prime-time Fox News show "Hannity & Colmes" when the cable news network launched in 1996. Hannity took over as...Read more