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Oscars viewership nearly drops to all-time low

Second-time Oscars host Chris Rock didn't help Sunday's  TV ratings at all.

Getty

Second-time Oscars host Chris Rock didn't help Sunday's TV ratings at all.

On the positive side, the Academy Awards are still the most watched television that isn't a sporting event.

On the negative side, Sunday's telecast nearly equaled the Oscars' lowest Nielsen ratings ever.

Nielsen estimated Monday that 34.3 million viewers watched all or part - I'm betting on "part" - of the nearly 3 and 1/2 hour ceremonies, where Spotlight pulled a shocking last-minute upset in the best picture category.

Even the chance that second-time Chris Rock would roast Hollywood's diversity problem this year's Oscar nominations exposed wasn't much of a draw. Rock wasn't much more comedically appetizing than Jon Stewart, whose 2008 hosting gig is the lowest-rated Oscars show on record, with just under 32 million viewers.

Last night's Nielsen result was nearly 3 million viewers shy of 2015's number, when Neil Patrick Harris hosted the show.

Reasons for the drop in interest are clear: All-white acting nominations for the second year in a row either left culturally diverse movie fans uncaring or intent upon avoiding the show. The #OscarsSoWhite movement urging people to turn off the show in order to hit the academy in its advertising pocketbook appears to have had an effect. …

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Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival shines light on faith, history

Oscar winner Christoper Plummer portrays an Auschwitz survivor seeking his family's murderer in 'Remember.'

A24

Oscar winner Christoper Plummer portrays an Auschwitz survivor seeking his family's murderer in 'Remember.'

Academy Award winners Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau star in Remember, the opening night selection Wednesday of the 20th annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival.

The festival runs from Mar. 2-9 at locations on both sides of Tampa Bay, Tickets are information are available here.

Wednesday opening night festivities will be held at Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. Tickets are $18, which includes opening remark and awards, the Remember screening, and a post-show dessert reception.

Remember stars Plummer as an Auschwitz survivor with dementia who, assisted by an old friend (Landau), seeks to find the man responsible for his family's death in the camp. The film is directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter)

On Mar. 3 and 4, the festival moves to Villagio Cinema, 11778 N Dale Mabry Hwy. in Tampa. Movies will be shown Mar. 5 and 6 at Sundial 19 in downtown St. Petersburg. A complete list of films and start times is available here. …

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'Making a Murderer' attorneys coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

YouTube

YouTube

Netflix's Making a Murderer has been the most talked-about streaming TV series of the past three months.

Will it still be on everyone's radar come August?

Dean Strang and Jerry Buting are counting on it. The defense attorneys for Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man at the center of the 10-part documentary series, are embarking on a speaking tour titled "A Conversation on Justice," and it'll hit Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on Aug. 20. Tickets are $43.25 and up, and they'll go on sale this weekend. Click here and here for details.

Strang and Buting became household names after the huge success of Making a Murderer, which chronicled Avery's conviction for a 1985 sexual assault and murder. The series covers numerous flaws in the case and in the justice system that found Avery guilty.

"I think this is an opportunity when we can provide an unfiltered discussion of the Avery trial and the lessons that were learned, and the things that we can’t do when the media talks to us, and they only have time to put two minutes on the nightly news," Buting said in a trailer for the tour. "This is a chance for a discussion we can have with people about our justice system." …

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'Spotlight' win at Oscars is rare double play

Spotlight's cast and crew accept the best picture Oscar - and only one other - at the Oscars on Sunday.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Spotlight's cast and crew accept the best picture Oscar - and only one other - at the Oscars on Sunday.

Morgan Freeman's anouncement Sunday - nearly Monday - that Spotlight won the best picture Academy Award sent Oscar buffs scrambling.

First to bed, since again the Oscars ran far too long. Later to the record books, wondering how many times in Academy Awards history a movie has won so much, yet so little.

Spotlight had a nearly parenthetical night at the Oscars, winning the evening's second prize, for Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer's original screenplay, and the final, most prestigious one.

In-between, McCarthy's party could've headed to In & Out for burgers while Mad Max: Fury Road then The Revenant piled up awards over the next three hours.

When Spotlight snatched the last one, the fact-based investigative journalism procedural became a rarity, a best picture Oscar winner with two or fewer wins overall.

How rare? The last time it happened was 63 years ago, when Cecil B. DeMille's circus extravaganza The Greatest Show on Earth won only two Oscars including "best story," later rechristened best original screenplay. …

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'The Walking Dead,' Season 6, Episode 11: Deal or no deal

In 'Knots Untie' Jesus shows Rick and his group the Hilltop and the problem they faced since the walls went up.

AMC

In 'Knots Untie' Jesus shows Rick and his group the Hilltop and the problem they faced since the walls went up.

Abraham is having a mid-apocalypse crisis.

First it was his confession-style speech to Sasha in full dress blues. Now his close friendship with Sasha is distracting him from his beau, Rosita, and failing to focus on tasks at hand with Rick.

Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead opened with him and Sasha chatting after they finished their guard rounds, and ends with him gazing fondly at Maggie's ultrasound photo of her and Glenn's little nugget.

In between Abraham woke up distracted next to Rosita. She gave him a handmade necklace made of a piece of a broken brake light as a token of her affection for him. It's a solid sign their relationship is in its last days, especially since he lost less than a day later.

He almost killed one of Jesus' men, then almost gets killed by another. Both times he saw and heard flashes of Sasha talking to him.

He's quickly realizing his feelings for her go beyond lust and platonic affection.

Through all this, Abraham took time to ask the important questions.

"When you were mixing the bisquick, were you trying to make pancakes?" He said, asking Glenn if he intended to get Maggie pregnant. …

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Spirits, Razzies offer Hollywood lessons in diversity, humility

Beasts of No Nation's Abraham Attah won best actor honors at the Film Independent Spirit Awards

Getty

Beasts of No Nation's Abraham Attah won best actor honors at the Film Independent Spirit Awards

Proving one segment of Hollywood doesn't have a diversity issue, the Film Independent Spirit Awards gave three of its four acting prizes Saturday to performers of color, including a transgender woman.

Take that, #OscarSoWhite.

While the Academy Awards co-favorite Spotlight garnered the most awards with five, the Spirits also showed Oscar what he's missing this year. Idris Elba being snubbed by the academy in the best supporting actor race was a factor in rekindling the debate about Hollywood's lack of diversity, specifically the proven demographics of Oscar voters as old, white and male.

One day before the Oscars, Elba picked up the Spirit Award for Beasts of No Nation, a Netflix production snubbed entirely by the academy. Later, Elba's young co-star Abraham Attah was named best actor, in his film debut. Attah, a 15-year-old Ghana native plays a child forced to join the army of an unnamed African nation. Elba plays the tyrannical commander of these underage puppets of civil war.

The fact that Beasts of No Nation came from Netflix and used an unconventional day-and-date release on the streaming site is considered a factor in the academy snubbing the movie. …

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Winner and loser of the week in pop culture ft. Taylor Swift (again) and Cheryl Tiegs, who people still interview apparently

Taylor Swift, left, gave Kesha $250,000 "during this trying time."

Getty Images

Taylor Swift, left, gave Kesha $250,000 "during this trying time."

Winner
Taylor Swift. Again. So, remember when we all used to trash talk Kesha, who for quite a while spelled her name with a dollar sign and whose songs were auto-tuned to the point of sounding like they had been recorded by a robot? Well, those days are over. The 28-year-old singer, who this week was denied freedom from her contract with Sony and producer Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of emotional, verbal and sexual abuse, has received loads of support from fans and celebrities ranging from Lady Gaga to Kelly Clarkson to Adele as her career essentially has been put on hold. Enter Swift. The superstar donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with “any of her financial needs during this trying time,” her rep said. Kesha took to social media to express her gratitude. “I'm so, so beyond humbled and thankful for all of the support I've received from everyone,” the TiK ToK singer wrote on Facebook. “Words cannot really express the emotions I've gone through reading and seeing how amazing everyone has been to me. I can’t believe that so many people all over the world took the time to show me support and love. Other entertainers who knowingly put their own careers at stake by supporting me, I will be forever grateful.” Swift signed a publishing deal Sony/ATV when she was 15 and recently worked with Dr. Luke’s associate Max Martin. …

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'The Walking Dead's' Norman Reedus headed to Tampa Bay Comic Con in August

Norman Reedus is best known for playing Daryl Dixon on 'The Walking Dead.'

AMC

Norman Reedus is best known for playing Daryl Dixon on 'The Walking Dead.'

Everyone's favorite zombie-killing archer and his beautifully sculpted arms are heading to this year's Tampa Bay Comic Con.

Norman Reedus, best known for playing Daryl Dixon on AMC's The Walking Dead, is one of a few celebrity guests announced for the con in August.

Reedus' character, Daryl, is one of six characters who've survived since season one. He started out as a hot-headed and mouthy man who cared little for the people around him.

Over the course of six seasons, Daryl evolved into one of Rick Grimes' closest friends, developing tight bonds with everyone in their pseudo-family.

Reedus, 47, has been with The Walking Dead since 2010 and has acted in movies like Boondock Saints and most recently, Air.

Tampa Bay Comic Con is one of the biggest conventions to come to the Tampa Bay area. Since 2000, the con has brought celebrity guests, comic artists, cosplayers and vendors to local nerds.

Already announced guests for the con include Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars), Jack Gleeson (King Joffrey in Game of Thrones), Ray Park (Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) and Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones).  …

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'House of Cards' President Frank Underwood portrait unveiled at National Portrait Gallery

Kevin Spacey plays President Frank Underwood in Netflix's 'House of Cards.' A presidential portrait of his character was unveiled last night at the National Portrait Gallery.

Netflix

Kevin Spacey plays President Frank Underwood in Netflix's 'House of Cards.' A presidential portrait of his character was unveiled last night at the National Portrait Gallery.

In one of the most 2016 moments thus far, a portrait of House of Cards' President Francis J. Underwood was unveiled last night at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Yes, a painting of a character from a critically-acclaimed Netflix show is hanging amongst portraits of actual Presidents of the United States, along with other figures who've shaped our country and culture.

The show follows Frank Underwood, a politician with an insatiable thirst for power who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty — or bloody  on his journey to the presidency.

The rendering of actor Kevin Spacey in his role as the hardworking and often brutal Underwood is part of a joint project between British artist Jonathan Yeo and the museum, which houses the only other complete collection of presidential portraits outside of the White House.

In true fashion, Spacey arrived at the museum in character.

"I'm pleased that the Smithsonian continues to prove itself as a worthwhile institution," Underwood said in a Netflix release. "I'm one step closer to convincing the rest of the country that I am the President." …

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'The Bachelor,' Season 20, Episode 8: Real recognizes real

Amanda brought her girls to the beach to meet Ben. It made for pretty pictures, at least.

ABC

Amanda brought her girls to the beach to meet Ben. It made for pretty pictures, at least.

Ben Higgins has gotten so predictable, watching the show requires a drinking game.

Take sip if he kisses her. Take shot if he cries. Chug the penalty glass if he chooses the single mom of two.

Just like we knew Emily and Becca weren't going to make it to hometowns, it was obvious that Amanda and her adorable little moppets were not making it to fantasy suites week.

It’s frustrating to watch the end of this season play out because there isn’t any mystery left. To quote the late great B.B. King, “The thrill is gone.”

Amanda was the first to get her hometown visit in Laguna Beach, Calif. – which gave me PTSD flashbacks to my first reality show about nothing – and brought Ben to the beach to meet her girls.

Kids are super intuitive, so it wasn’t a shocker when even Amanda’s outgoing daughter was reluctant to cozy up to Ben. Eventually, the girls warmed up, in part, because Ben is irresponsible and let them chase seagulls (dangerous beasts that could have turned and attacked at any moment). Stellar parenting, guy. …

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Shows you should be watching: 'The 100' on the CW

Clarke Griffin, played by Eliza Taylor, becomes a leader of the 100 teenage criminals sent to Earth to test its habitability after a nuclear war.

CW

Clarke Griffin, played by Eliza Taylor, becomes a leader of the 100 teenage criminals sent to Earth to test its habitability after a nuclear war.

If you would've told me a few months ago that I'd be hooked to a CW teen drama set on a post-apocalyptic Earth with survival dependent on a not-quite-eighteen-year-old criminal, I'd definitely call you a liar.

But here I am, a month or so after taking the advice of coworkers and family to "catch up on The 100 already."

The concept of The 100 is simple, yet full of drama and politics mixed with romance and a need to survive sans technology. Some 97 years ago, the entire Earth was wrecked by a nuclear apocalypse, leaving its surface uninhabitable because of deadly radiation. Before total devastation, a handful of countries launched space station colonies into space, and eventually linked up to form "The Ark." Unfortunately, after almost 100 years in space, The Ark gets cramped and starts running out of oxygen and supplies.

The council's solution: let's launch 100 teenage criminals onto the Earth's surface to see if it's liveable. Seems like a solid plan. On top of raging hormones and the lack of understanding of anything on Earth, said teenagers are also pretty upset they were dumped onto a hostile planet. …

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'The Walking Dead,' Season 6 Episode 10: Jesus take the wheel

The Daryl and Rick bromance continues during their supply run for sorghum, soda and medical supplies.

AMC

The Daryl and Rick bromance continues during their supply run for sorghum, soda and medical supplies.

Things escalated quickly Sunday night on The Walking Dead. The remaining residents of Alexandria seem to be settling into their new domestic life quite nicely, with Carl healed from a bullet to his eye, Denise making soda requests from Daryl and Rick on their next supply run and Michonne complaining about someone using all the toothpaste.

A small sense of normalcy settled into the community, even after the bloodbath that littered the streets with walkers.

Aaaaaannddd the normalcy is over.

During a bromantic supply run to pick up medical supplies, food, sorghum (aka, the envy of all corns) at Eugene's request and orange soda for Denise to give to her boo, Rick and Daryl come across something they haven't seen for months — another human.

This bandana- and beanie-clad man "bumps into" Rick. The niceties are overlooked when they both lie about having camps and Rick and Daryl just catch his name as he jogs away.

His name is Paul, but his friends usually call him Jesus.

This is where you need to pay attention.

No, he is not the messiah. But he's probably the closest to a chosen one the people of Alexandria are going to get in this world. …

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Winner and loser of the week in pop culture ft. Kanye West and Taylor Swift because of course

These two again.

Getty Images

These two again.

We’re doing things a little bit differently this week, presenting our loser first, because it’s all about him, you see.

Loser
Kanye West. This was to be the week of Kanye. He was to release his new album, The Life of Pablo, and to debut his latest clothing collection for Adidas, Yeezy Season 3. It was to be glorious. However, it was an offensive mess.

The runway show was fine, bored models aside, but the New York Fashion Week spectacle at Madison Square Garden was more of an album release party. Yeezy played his latest tracks for a packed arena, and that’s when it happened: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b---- famous.”

That line from his song Famous was in reference to Taylor Swift, whom Kanye first disrespected way back in 2009 when he famously stole the mic from the singer as she accepted her award for Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards, saying she didn’t deserve the win. …

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Here, look busy at work with Leo's Red Carpet Rampage

HELP THIS MAN GET WHAT HE NEEDS!

The Line

HELP THIS MAN GET WHAT HE NEEDS!

It's Wednesday afternoon and everyone is steeped in mid-week malaise, so here in the Times features department we're winding down the day with this helpful arcade style game. The sound of rapidfire keyboard action is deafening. Entertainment news editor Caitlin O'Conner just shouted, "GOLDEN GLOBE COMBO!!!!"

It's Leo's Red Carpet Rampage, from London animation collective The Line. Leonardo DiCaprio, in his quest for the Academy Award, has to run down the red carpet and snag awards, racing everyone from Lady Gaga to Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs. There are bonus challenges, such as getting Leo to "act harder," and finding the black nominee in a lineup of #oscarssowhite (I couldn't, of course). 

"Now I have to beat Eddie Redmayne as The Danish Girl!" Caitlin just proclaimed. Her fingers are flying.

Try your hand. My score? 23 Golden Globes, 30 Emmys, 0 MTV Movie Awards, 3 Baftas and 30 Sag Awards. No Oscar, though! BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME, HUGH GLASS.

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'The Bachelor,' Season 20, Episode 7: Paying your debts in tears

Becca Tilley finally seems heartbroken after chasing two different bachelors.

Hulu/Screenshot

Becca Tilley finally seems heartbroken after chasing two different bachelors.

Becca Tilley should have known when she got the casting call. 

She'd just finished a season of The Bachelor where she'd made it all the way to seeing Chris Soules' family. He wanted her to commit to moving to Iowa. She wanted to remain long distance until she was sure. He proposed to someone else. She wished him well. 

It wasn't enough to quench the thirsty Bachelor universe -- an entity that survives solely on tears. 

No, Becca would have to pay. So they brought her back and gave her a shot at Ben, who can be more reassuring than a kindergarten teacher at times. He took her to a wedding chapel for their first date. He never demanded any of the women move to his hometown. Ben was all about getting to know each other and taking it slow. She started to fall. 

And one week shy of hometowns -- the bench mark of Ben's seriousness -- she got the ax. And she paid her debt to the Bachelor universe. But it's tough to tell if the tears were for Ben or for the embarrassment of having been tricked into coming back for this very moment.

Either way, it was glorious.   …

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