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This Week's Cover: Our Entertainers of the Year!

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Having captivated moviegoers around the world with the last installment of the Harry Potter series, Daniel Radcliffe earned the number one spot on our list of the most talented and original performers who entertained us this year. Rounding out the honor roll? Seventeen more people and groups, from Adele to Hugh Jackman to the cast of Bridesmaids.

But we’re not alone in celebrating these talented people. This year, we asked famous folks to offer their own tributes, such as Sandra Bullock (our 2009 Entertainer of the Year), who extols the bladder-busting virtues of South Park pranksters Matt Stone and Trey Parker. “I went and saw The Book of Mormon on Broadway, and was so offended I peed my pants twice,” writes the Oscar winner. “Maybe three times. I lost count I was so offended.”  READ FULL STORY

'Harry Potter' theme park coming to L.A.: Is the phenomenon big enough for two coasts?

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando opened its doors just a year and a half ago, but executives are already planning to build a similar Potter-themed wonderland in Los Angeles. Earlier today, Universal officially announced its intention to bring Potter to Universal Studios Hollywood, while also announcing a planned expansion of the Orlando Potter exhibit. The announcement comes at an interesting moment for the franchise since, for the first time in its history, there are no new books or films on the horizon — which is to say, there are no more real Potter events left to celebrate. The big new Potter product — the interactive game/social media website/potential publishing venture Pottermore — remains trapped in beta.

Potter has been a a lucrative mega-franchise for a long time, and since the planned Hollywood park won’t open for at least three years, it’s worth asking: Is the Potter franchise big enough to support to separate parks? And can a franchise with a fundamental endpoint ever be as big as the Disney theme park global empire? READ FULL STORY

POLL: Is Gary Oldman due to finally join Oscars' First-Timers' Club?

Nothing makes me happier on the morning of the Oscar nominations announcement than hearing the name of a deserving actor who finally gets his due. Last year, my heart swelled for Christian Bale and Mark Ruffalo, two unique actors whose eclectic work in the past decade had been inexplicably neglected by the Academy. Now, as we head into awards season, it’s time to examine who has the best chance to join the First Timer’s Club. Last year, Bale and Ruffalo were two of seven first-timers (James Franco, Hailee Steinfeld, Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, and Jesse Eisenberg) so there’s room for more than one, obviously. But clearly, some have waited longer than others, beginning with Gary Oldman. His role as a sly spy master in the John le Carré classic Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is being heralded as his sure-thing performance after years of being overlooked despite delivering memorable characters in Sid and Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, and The Contender. Is it his time? Or might his Harry Potter colleague, Alan Rickman, finally get some credit for his excellent work as Severus Snape in the Deathly Hallows — Part II?

The two Brits aren’t alone. There are several performers who’ve yet to be recognized by Oscar — at various stages of overdue-ness — who might contend this year. Vote below on who you hope to hear announced on Jan. 24. READ FULL STORY

On the Scene: Daniel Radcliffe, David Yates, and David Heyman talk 'Harry Potter'

It wasn’t quite an actual trip to Hogwarts, but it was an enchanting evening nonetheless for 50 or so lucky Harry Potter fans last night in NYC, who got to go to a special screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 in 3-D, which was followed by an occurrence rarer than finding a horcrux: A 30-minute Q&A (moderated by EW’s own Jess Cagle!) with Daniel Radcliffe, director David Yates, and producer David Heyman — and yes, the Potterphile in me was totally freaking out.

After the movie screening — which was awesome, but you knew that already — the anticipation for Radcliffe and Co., was building and, in one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced, as soon as the epilogue ended and the credits rolled, the lights came up and walking down beside me onto the stage was Harry Potter himself. Seeing “Harry Potter” immediately after seeing Harry Potter was jolting. Try telling me all this magic stuff is not real now, friends haters. READ FULL STORY

Daniel Radcliffe goes backstage with Alan Rickman -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

There was a Hogwarts reunion at Broadway’s Golden Theatre on Nov. 7 when Daniel Radcliffe nipped backstage to congratulate former Harry Potter co-star Rickman on his Main Stem return in Seminar. The actors, who were all smiles in Rickman’s dressing room after the show, are both currently gracing the Great White Way — at least until Radcliffe bows out of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Jan. 1.

Radcliffe picked a good date to visit. Thursday evening’s performance of Seminar — the show’s first press night before its Nov. 20 opening — was canceled at the very last minute because Rickman was suffering from an acute respiratory infection. (It’s the first time in the actor’s storied career that he’s ever missed a stage performance.) In Seminar, the 65-year-old star plays a cantankerous literary genius hosting a private seminar for four aspiring novelists in the play and obviously does a lot of talking (as well as spitting out choice insults). A rep for the show tells EW that “we expect to resume performances tonight!”

Read more:
Alan Rickman in ‘Seminar’ — EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK
Alan Rickman returns to Broadway for ‘Seminar’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Darren Criss to replace Daniel Radcliffe in ‘How To Succeed’

Alan Rickman goes from Hogwarts to Broadway's 'Seminar' -- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK

Alan Rickman may have hung up his wand as Hogwarts potions professor Severus Snape, but he’s yet to relinquish his fictional teaching degree. For his first major post-Harry Potter outing, the 65-year-old British actor is returning to Broadway as an ornery writing great who hosts a private workshop for fledgling novelists in Theresa Rebeck’s new comedy Seminar. His character, Leonard, is ruthless, brilliant, unorthodox, and prone to giving writing advice like, “I don’t have to go past the first five words because I already know enough and I don’t give a s—.” Leonard is also, if you haven’t already guessed, just as insecure as his young students, who are played by Lily Rabe, Jerry O’Connell, Hettienne Park, and Hamish Linklater.

Seminar, which is currently in previews at the John Golden Theatre, opens on Nov. 20. See more photos below! READ FULL STORY

'Harry Potter' reaches another end: See the trailer for 'LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7' -- EXCLUSIVE

One of the most delightful sideshows of the multifaceted Harry Potter entertainment franchise has been the LEGO Harry Potter videogame series, an extension of the toy maker’s license to make play sets inspired by the Harry Potter movies. Now, this part of the whole magical magilla is coming to a conclusion, too, with the release of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, on sale Friday. It’s actually three games in one, as it contains adaptations of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, albeit it in LEGO’s trademark brick-and-whimsy language. The exclusive trailer — rich, as usual, with self-deprecation and visual pizzazz — promotes in particular the games’ play-with-a-friend cooperative mode and play-any-character-you-want functionality. Neat… but we’re never playing as Dobby, no matter how made-for-LEGO he may be. READ FULL STORY

Who's your favorite pop culture werewolf?

Werewolves are the Rodney Dangerfield of the Monster world, by which I mean they gets no respect and they are completely insane. That’s the joy of the werewolf: Whereas vampires represent everything attractive and high-falutin’ about society — eternal youth, sex appeal, being vaguely European — werewolves are all about the loss of control. That can be played for drama (as in the original Wolf Man), or for comedy (see: Teen Wolf), or for terribleness (see: the remake of Wolf Man and Teen Wolf Too.) Next week sees the return to the big screen of your niece’s favorite werewolf, Taylor Lautner’s Jacob Black, in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn; Part 1. So what better time to ask the big question: Who’s your favorite pop culture werewolf? Seth Green in Buffy? Jack Nicholson in Wolf? Lady wolf Katharine Isabelle in Ginger Snaps? Take the poll below! Quick, before the full moon rises! READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling almost killed off Ron Weasley

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows features one of the more soul-destroying death orgies in Fantasy-lit history, with a whole cavalcade of Potter supporting players winding up as casualties in the climactic wizard battle. The series never shrank from death — Books 4 through 6 each end with a major character dying, and the whole saga begins with Harry as a newly orphaned baby. But in a new special feature on the Deathly Hallows 2 DVD, author J. K. Rowling notes that she’d planned one fatality that would have probably scarred a generation of young readers. As reported by the Guardian, Rowling says, “I did seriously consider killing Ron.” Apparently, she briefly thought about killing off Harry’s red-headed sidekick around the middle of the series, when she “wasn’t in a very happy place.” READ FULL STORY

Twitter pays its respects to Harry Potter's parents on the anniversary of their death

If you ever needed concrete proof that the Harry Potter saga and its characters (even the dead ones) will never really die, this might be it.

On Monday morning “RIP Lily and James Potter” became a trending topic on Twitter, commemorating what would mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Harry Potter’s parents.

The late couple, as we all know, died defending their infant child against He Who Must Not Be Named. Fans, who are planning a moment of Twitter silence at 3 p.m., posted messages like, “Thirty years ago today Lily and James sacrificed their lives so that their son, Harry, could live. RIP James and Lily Potter,” and “It’s 3 decades since his mother’s sacrifice saved Harry and caused the downfall of Lord Voldemort. RIP James and Lily Potter,” while another noted, “RIP James and Lily Potter, but also, happy birthday Peter Jackson! An eventful day for nerd history, Halloween is.” (Although The Roots drummer Questlove had a different outlook on the outpouring of grief on the social networking site, “”RIP James and Lily Potter” REASONS YOURE SINGLE.”)

While I’m not planning a vigil, Internet or otherwise, for James and Lily Potter (as Chandler Bing argued about the sadness over Bambi’s mom’s death, “Yes, it was very sad when the guy stopped drawing the deer“), it got me thinking about how often this sort of thing occurs with pop-culture enthusiasts. Are you planning on having a piece of anniversary cake to celebrate the nuptials (also 30 years ago!) of Luke and Laura on Nov. 17? Did you hang out by your local mall on Oct. 26 in the faint hope that the DeLorean would show up? On May 4 will you be buying little Cece Halpert something for her second birthday?

Are you mourning the death of Lily and James Potter today, PopWatchers? Which pop-culture anniversary do you acknowledge? Share in the comments section below!

Read more:
‘Harry Potter': Julie Walters (a.k.a. Molly Weasley) on ‘Not my daughter, you bitch!’ — EXCLUSIVE CLIP
‘Harry Potter’ films disappearing from stores soon after Dec. 29!
‘Harry Potter’ Central

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