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If you had told me a month ago that my Oscar predictions would look anything like this, I probably would have advised you to go do a little more research. “Argo” poised for the Best Picture win sans a Best Director nod? Unthinkable. Emmanuelle Riva and Naomi Watts as viable Best Actress contenders against youthful powerhouses like Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain? You’re pulling my leg.
The Oscar season is customarily kicked off by the Academy president and a random star solemnly announcing the nominees in a drab ceremony. The Academy decided to shake up tradition this year, however, in one of the most cheerful Oscar mornings we’ve ever had. Seth MacFarlane, director of “Ted” and this year’s Oscar host, announced the nominees Thursday morning alongside the invaluable Emma Stone, who had the funniest bit at last year’s Oscar ceremony. MacFarlane and Stone made for an outstanding duo, engaging in playful banter about each of the categories. Even when one of their jokes didn’t quite hit the mark, MacFarlane and Stone still looked like they were having a genuine ball on stage. That’s more than can be said about Anne Hathaway and James Franco when they hosted the Oscars two years ago.
The Oscar season is customarily kicked off by the Academy President and a random star solemnly announcing the nominees in a drab ceremony. The Academy decided to shake up tradition this year however, in one of the most cheerful Oscar mornings we’ve ever had.
This publicity photo released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Helen Hunt, left, and John Hawkes in a scene from "The Sessions." Hunt was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, for her role in the film. The 85th Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 on ABC. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Complete list of 85th Annual Academy Award nominations announced today:
There’s always that one person — whether an ignorant friend or snarky online commenter — who bemoans what a weak year it’s been for film. To those naysayers I reply, “Well, you just haven’t seen enough movies.”
Brimming with humor, honesty and raw emotion, “The Sessions” is nearly impossible not to like. It’s not the sort of film you’ll be wrestling over in your mind for days or weeks to come, nor the type of movie that slaps you across the face with a heavy-handed message.
Given that it's based on the true story of a man with polio who spends most of his time in an iron lung, "The Sessions" is not as painfully heavy-handed as it might sound. And given that it's about this man's nervous attempts to lose his virginity at age 38, it's also not as obnoxiously wacky as it might sound.
A heartwarming and triumphant piece of cinema, “The Sessions” tells the true story of poet Mark O’Brien, a man paralyzed from the neck down who at age 38, decides he would like to lose his virginity. Upon hiring a sex surrogate, what transpires becomes more than just an inspiring tale about the disabled, but a simple and poignant love story.
This publicity photo released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Helen Hunt, left, and John Hawkes in a scene from "The Sessions." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Pictures)
This publicity photo released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Helen Hunt in a scene from "The Sessions." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Each year, the Scottsdale Film Festival at Harkins Shea 14 gives Valley audiences a smorgasbord of films they would not likely see anywhere else – many of which go on to strike awards-season gold. This weekend’s lineup is no different, with an eclectic mix of documentaries, foreign dramas, star-studded comedies and everything in between.
As more than 10,000 people flock to Harkins Shea 14 in Scottsdale this weekend for the Scottsdale Film Festival, founder Amy Ettinger will be breathing a well-deserved sigh of relief.
Helen Hunt as “Cheryl Cohen Greene” and John Hawkes as “Mark O’Brien”
The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce thanks the many volunteers who assisted us in putting together this year’s Red, White and Boom Fireworks Celebration. These volunteers give up their family time for the good of the community and we are grateful for their help. Presented by Vision Community Management at the Ahwatukee Country Club, the chamber is proud to continue this 37-year Ahwatukee tradition.
In "American Horror Story" (debuting 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday, FX), a dysfunctional family finds life unraveling even faster when it unwittingly moves into a haunted house.
Jack Nicholson has that famous line in "As Good As It Gets" in which he says to Helen Hunt, "You make me want to be a better man."
LOS ANGELES — Movie screens this summer are not entirely booked with superheroes, kiddie fare and goofy buddy flicks. Plenty of mature dramas and comedies about dealing with — or escaping from — the problems of real life arrive alongside the season's big studio offerings.
Watching "Soul Surfer," the story of Bethany Hamilton's comeback after a shark attack, makes you long for a vivid documentary on the subject instead - preferably one of those excellent "30 for 30" offerings from ESPN.
Last year was a year of big transitions for more of us than usual, thanks to the challenging economy. If you were one of those affected, the changes in your life could have an impact on your tax return.
Here are some tips designed to alert you to the tax implications of some of the more common 2010 transitions. If one of these fits your circumstances, take this as a cue to do further research or talk to a tax professional about your situation.
Did you change jobs? Some job-hunting expenses, including travel to interviews, are deductible as miscellaneous itemized deductions. If you moved to take a new job, your moving expenses may be deductible if the new job is at least 50 miles farther from home than your old one. Unfortunately, unemployment benefits and severance pay are taxable.
Did your income drop substantially? You may be eligible for tax breaks that you didn't qualify for in the past, such as the Savers Credit, which gives a tax break for retirement savings contributions for those with incomes below $27,750 (single) or $55,500 (married filing jointly). Check out the Earned Income Credit, too, especially if you have dependent children.
Did you start a business or work as an independent contractor? Your expenses are likely deductible, including the cost of any equipment you bought. One disadvantage of being the owner is that you have to pay self-employment tax -- both the employer and employee share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. One advantage is that you can deduct retirement plan contributions. In fact, you have until April 18 to make a contribution to a Simplified Employee Pension, or SEP, that can be deducted on your 2010 return. If you're new at reporting business income, this could be a good year to get advice from a tax pro.
Did you sell your home at a loss or lose it in foreclosure? Bad news: A loss on the sale of your residence is not deductible. If your lender forgave part of what you owed on your mortgage, that's considered income to you. However, it's generally not taxable if the property was your home.
Did you refinance for the second, third or more time? Be sure to deduct points paid on the last refinancing if you were carrying those costs forward from prior years.
Did you help out family members? If your grown children returned to the nest after losing their jobs, you might be able to claim them again as dependents, depending on their ages and income. The income limit for most adults is $3,650, whether or not they live with you. If the grandkids moved in and you're now their main support, you may qualify for even more benefits.
Did you have a tax milestone birthday? If you turned 59 1/2 you're now eligible to withdraw from your retirement plans without penalty. Of course, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it. If you turned 70 1/2 last year, be sure to take your 2010 required minimum distributions from retirement accounts by April 1.
Did you marry, divorce or lose your spouse? Because filing status is based on marital status, a change affects exemptions, standard deduction, tax rates and the income limitations for many deductions and credits. Your income may have changed, too. That makes this an ideal time to consult a tax professional even if you return to being a do-it-yourselfer next year.
Still looking for a way to save a few bucks on your taxes? It's not too late. If you or your spouse had earned income last year, you can contribute to an IRA, which may be deductible. Even if you don't qualify for a traditional IRA deduction, you may be able to contribute to a Roth IRA, making future earnings tax-free, not just tax-deferred. You can set aside up to $6,000 apiece if you are 50 or older ($5,000 if you are younger) each year. April 18 is the contribution deadline for the 2010 tax year.
Haven't done your tax return yet? You've got plenty of company. Through February, filings were running about 3 percent behind last year. The IRS couldn't even accept some 1040 forms until mid February because of last-minute congressional tinkering with the tax law. Since then, brokerage firms and mutual fund companies have been sending out corrected 1099 forms, reclassifying dividend income and annoying the early filers. Aren't you glad you waited?
Helen Huntley is a fee-only financial adviser with Holifield Huntley Financial Advisers in St. Petersburg, Fla.
They don't generate many headlines, but there are folks getting hired these days. Even during the holidays.
The question came up during a recent screening of “Then She Found Me”: When did Helen Hunt stop, you know, being appealing?
RICHMOND, Calif. - Shoppers surveyed shelves loaded with rice at the Ranch 99 Asian supermarket, chatting in languages from Mandarin to Portuguese as they hunted for their favorite varieties, checked brand names and compared prices before heaving 50-pound bags into their carts.
Voters will clarify the presidential field today with polls open in Arizona and more than 20 other states coast to coast.
Never mess with a good thing — or, in the case of Jerry Bruckheimer’s “National Treasure” franchise, a mediocre yet extremely profitable thing.