GOOD WEEK/ BAD WEEK
The singer's fourth album is set to come out this year after a seven-year wait
The rapper's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was delayed from Feb. 14 until April 3
One Tree to Bind Them
Swedish chemical-engineering student Emil Johansson is mapping every character from J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional Middle-Earth on one large family tree. On his website, lotrproject.com he's traced 646 characters so far. We have just one question: Where will he put the Ents?
The Artistic '80s
From AIDS to feminism to the expansion of televised media, the 1980s were a period of great cultural shifts. "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s," on view from Feb. 11 to June 3 at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, looks at work from those years by artists including Jeff Koons and protester-provocateurs the Guerrilla Girls. The exhibition is separated into four sections--"The End Is Near," "Democracy," "Gender Trouble," "Desire and Longing"--each exploring a different social, political or cultural influence of the decade.
Plan 9 from Oscar Space
After two years with 10 Best Picture nominees, the Academy wanted to prune the list. So this time there are ... nine. A perfect square for some perfectly fine films. See them before filling out your Oscar ballot. Or crib from the following wisdom.
MOST LIKELY TO WIN
From an unsung French director (Michel Hazanavicius) and his two obscure French stars (Jean Dujardin and Brnice Bejo) comes this black-and-white, "silent" valentine to old-time Hollywood. Two miracles: it's the Oscar front runner and the year's sheerest delight.
A land-rich Hawaiian (George Clooney) learns that his dying wife had a lover. Alexander Payne's dramedy was favored for Best Picture before The Artist showed up and stole hearts. For consolation, Payne's film will probably win the Actor and Adapted Screenplay awards.
Another tribute to movie pioneers--this one, to French cinemagician Georges Mlis--Hugo led with 11 nominations; The Artist had 10. If that film should get caught in, say, some awful marital scandal, Martin Scorsese's 3-D wonder could step up and take Best Picture.
The one certified hit in this ennead, Tate Taylor's movie of the 1960s-set best seller boasted the year's strongest ensemble cast. Viola Davis could win Best Actress; Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer are up for Supporting. Vote the straight Spencer-Davis ticket.
Back in majestic epic form, Steven Spielberg secured a Best Picture nomination for this boy-loves-horse battle story but is not a finalist for Director. His other new film, the zazzy, 3-D Adventures of Tintin, was also stiffed: it wasn't short-listed for Best Animated Feature. Poor kid.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close