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Judge Joseph Wapner, who presided over 'The People's Court,' dies at 97

LOS ANGELES -- He was a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who became an unlikely American TV icon, a white-haired jurist who was dubbed the "Solomon of Small Claims."

Judge Joseph A. Wapner, who presided over "The People's Court" for 12 years in the 1980s and '90s, has died, a family member told The Associated Press. Wapner was 97...Read more

Actor Bill Paxton, 61, dies after complications from surgery

Bill Paxton, 61, who had big roles in movies like "Apollo 13," "Titanic," "A Simple Plan," "Weird Science," "Twister" and "True Lies," and in the TV serioes "Big Love," has died at 61.

Paxton died from complications from surgery, according to a statement from a representative of Paxton's family.

Paxton's career that began in B-movies, ...Read more

Bill Paxton was an actor's actor

It's game over, man."

When you improvise on of the most famous lines in one of the most famous films in history, it tends to haunt you.

The role of Pvt. William Hudson in James Cameron's "Aliens" came relatively early in Bill Paxton's long and varied career, but the youthful meltdown Hudson has midway through the 1986 film -- "game over" ...Read more

'Moonlight' shines brightly at Spirit Awards

LOS ANGELES--As she took the Spirit Awards stage to present an acting ensemble prize to "Moonlight," "Scandal" star Kerry Washington was struck by a moment of spontaneous emotion.

"Oh dear lord, I love this movie," she said.

She wasn't alone.

Barry Jenkins' tale of a young gay boy coming of age won six awards, including the top prizes of ...Read more

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

Colin Covert's Oscar predictions

The competition is about to kick off, so it's time for the 2017 Oscars pregame analysis. Will the Academy Awards be an impartial, arbitrary celebration of the best the film industry had to offer last year? A pulpit to advocate Hollywood's social consensus at this particularly politicized moment of history? Is the program an effort to remind ...Read more

A little song and dance: Oscars often reward actresses who do more than act

LOS ANGELES – If Emma Stone sees Oscar gold Sunday, she will become the first leading actress in a musical to win since Liza Minnelli for 1972's "Cabaret."

But the "La La Land" star's expected victory would follow a recent pattern of the Academy Awards celebrating actresses who can do more than just act. Natalie Portman pirouetted her way to ...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