The day before Hollywood's biggest stars don their gowns and tuxedos for the Oscars, they cut loose and drink up on the Santa Monica beach during the Film Independent Spirit Awards. This year, stand-up comedian/actor Patton Oswalt hosts the laid-back affair (airing Saturday, March 1 at 10/9c on IFC). "I'm doing as little as possible [to prepare]," Oswalt admits. "I want to be as relaxed and boozy as everyone I'm performing for. If I'm too focused, I'll just freak everybody out." But one tongue-in-cheek stunts has already been nixed: Oswalt will not be allowed to present live birds to this year's winners, as he had previously intended.
This week, kids got together to film their own versions of the Best Picture Oscar nominees, with hilariously adorable results. Also adorable in a non-hilarious way: a paralyzed French bulldog learned to walk with the help of some prosthetic feet. In celebrity news, Ellen DeGeneres and Minnie Driver auditioned for Downton Abbey, Josh Groban saluted Jimmy Kimmel's 2,000th episode, and Fred Armisen and Jimmy Fallon paid tribute to The Beatles. And Netflix got in a few jabs at its competitor Amazon with a parody advertisement of its new "Drone to Home" DVD delivery service. Check out those clips and more in our weekly roundup of the best online videos:
This week's gold-medal question: Can NBC reverse its spotty track record when it comes to using the ratings boost of the Olympics to launch new programs? (Remember the Summer 2012 debacle when the network interrupted the flow of London's Closing Ceremony to inflict Animal Practice on an unwilling captive audience?)
The news is better this weekend, during the closing nights of the Games. The comedies getting a sneak peek are considerably more entertaining than Animal Practice — what wouldn't be? — and they won't air until after that night's Olympics packages are finished.
First up is NBC's best new comedy of the season (including the star-driven disappointments that flopped on Thursdays this fall): About a Boy, airing Saturday night at approximately 11/10c before moving to its regular time period next Tuesday at 9/8c. This charmingly offbeat ...
I tried to give Downton Abbey the benefit of the doubt. I tried to stave off my judgments until I had given the show time to prove me wrong, to prove that this wasn't just another case of rape as cheap and consumable entertainment. But here we are at the end of the season, and my frustration has only grown.
Downton's fourth season notoriously featured the show's most beloved character, Anna (Joanne Froggatt), being violently assaulted by a visiting valet. But contrary to creator Julian Fellowes' defense that he wanted to "[explore] the mental damage and the emotional damage" that follows sexual assault, I still have very little idea how Anna has been intimately affected by this tragic incident. Instead of parsing Anna's psychological state, the show continued its violation of her character by immediately shifting the dramatic tension to questions about how Bates (Brendan Coyle) would respond.
Downton Abbey is adding three to its ranks for Season 5, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Doctor Who and Girls alum Richard E. Grant will play...