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This Week's Cover: Oscar nominations are out, and the race is on!

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Hugo versus The Artist! Meryl versus Viola! George versus Brad! The 84th Academy Awards are shaping up to be a night of epic showdowns, and this year’s nominations tightened the race in exciting fashion. In this week’s EW, we take you inside all exciting categories, explore the shocking snubs, and introduce you to all the nominees you may not know about (Demián who?).

Two of the happiest nominees this year? Good pals Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer, who were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress (for Bridesmaids and The Help, respectively). The pair costarred in a little-seen 2008 indie called Pretty Ugly People, directed by The Help‘s Tate Taylor. McCarthy, already an Emmy winner for her CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, woke up just as her category was being announced on Jan. 24 and had trouble putting all the pieces together. “I couldn’t process what it was,” she tells EW. “They said my name and I kept saying, ‘But what is this for?’ And my husband said, ‘The Academy Awards!’ And I said, ‘No, it’s a different show! It’s a different show!’ It was the weirdest thing. I couldn’t get the concept into my brain. I don’t know why.”

Spencer, meanwhile, has won every major pre-Oscar prize so far for her memorable turn in The Help but refuses to believe her status as the early favorite.

“I don’t know how anybody could say anybody is a front-runner,” says Spencer. “The only way you’re a front-runner is if you win. You know what I’m saying?”

For all the scoop you need to know leading up to this year’s Oscar ceremony, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands this Friday.

Entertainment Weekly is now available on most tablets, including the iPad, Nook Color, Kindle Fire, and Samsung Galaxy. Think of it like the EW you already love, but on steroids: With our digital magazine, you can buy the recommended movies, albums, books, and DVDs while you’re reading about them. Plus you can watch music videos and film trailers, and find movie showtimes in your neighborhood. Current subscribers can access the digital version of EW for free by downloading EW app (also free) and logging in using your name and address or the information on your subscription label. Single copies of the magazine are also for sale through the app if you prefer to read EW that way. If you’re not a subscriber, but would like to become one, you can can do so by going to ew.com/allaccess.

This Week's Cover: Revelations about ABC's 'Revenge' lead our Winter TV Preview

When EW’s TV staff sat down to decide what to feature on our Winter TV Preview cover, the discussion repeatedly came back the one show we couldn’t stop talking about: ABC’s buzzy prime-time soap, Revenge. Throughout the fall, the new series — we refer to it as “TV’s greatest guilty pleasure” — had provided a multitude of outrageous cliff-hangers and OMG! moments that had the tongues of viewers wagging constantly.

However, there was one big question: Could Revenge possibly continue to sizzle so much in the coming months? EW is happy to report that, yes — after talking to the show’s players for our cover, featuring romantic leads Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) and Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman) — Revenge has only just begun to rev its engine, which is full of explosive revelations that will delight fans all the way through to its May season finale. This week’s cover story previews the drama’s upcoming new episodes — a jaw-dropping pair airing Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 — where we’ll finally learn what actually happened in the deadly beach scene outside Emily and Daniel’s engagement party that opened the series’ juicy September pilot, which then flashed back and followed Emily as she embarked on her journey of revenge against her enemies.

There are so many questions: Who’s dead? Who’s the killer? How does everyone we’ve come to know and love — and love to hate — on Revenge fit into this mess? We do our best to answer those, and break out the 10 things we’re most looking forward to in the coming episodes of Revenge, in this week’s issue. Here a few of those juicy points to whet your appetite:

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This Week's Cover: Our 2012 Forecast issue takes you to the set of 'The Dark Knight Rises'

In a year crowded with some of the most anticipated movies in years (The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, The Avengers, and The Amazing Spider-Man, to name just a few), The Dark Knight Rises might be the most anticipated of them all. The third and final installment in Inception director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Bat-flicks — which will once again star Christian Bale as the caped crusader and introduce Thomas Hardy as the brilliant, brutish terrorist Bane and Anne Hathaway as the purrrrfectly mercurial Selina Kyle — will swing into theaters on July 20, four years after The Dark Knight ignited a cultural sensation, grossed $533 million, and earned Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar. The new issue of Entertainment Weekly – our annual Forecast issue, which previews the pop culture year looming ahead — goes to the Rises set and offers some insight into how Team Nolan hopes to match their previous success. “I can tell you the truth because I’m done with it: I felt immense pressure,” Christian Bale tells EW. “And I think it’s a good pressure, because you owe it to the films — and the people’s expectations — to make great work.”  READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: Viola Davis and George Clooney talk Oscars, acting, and their longtime friendship

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Viola Davis, this year’s frontrunner for Best Actress (The Help) and George Clooney, the front-runner for Best Actor (The Descendants), are old pals. When we asked them to do a joint interview and photo shoot, they leapt at the chance to get together again, and their lively conversation ranged from the three films they costarred in, to her stay at Clooney’s Lake Como villa, to their shared frustrations with Hollywood.

“There’s this strange thing that’s happened over the last 25 or 30 years where there’s this decision being made that women aren’t able to carry the box office,” Clooney says. “Now, Bridesmaids has proved that to be bulls—, and The Help has proven it to be bulls—. But it’s much harder to get a film with a woman lead made. When a man hits 40 is when roles just begin to happen. And for women it doesn’t happen. I find that to be a very concerning issue.”

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This Week's Cover: Why we're so fascinated by Lisbeth Salander in 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'

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She’s pierced, tattooed, socially awkward, and seethingly angry — and yet somehow we can’t seem to get her out of our minds.

In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, writer Mark Harris explores what makes the character of Lisbeth Salander one of the most interesting of our time. Of course, the edgy heroine from Stieg Larsson’s novels is already known around the world — tens of millions have read the Millenium Trilogy, and Noomi Rapace depicted the dark female in the Swedish film adaptations — but with the release of David Fincher’s new The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo adaptation last week, American audiences are meeting the strange, vengeful hacker once again — and in a very new way, thanks to 26-year-old actress Rooney Mara. READ FULL STORY

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

This Week's Cover: The secrets of Steven Spielberg

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Sit down with Steven Spielberg and there is plenty to ask about — even beyond his two movies opening later this month, War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin. Was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial really going to be a horror movie? (Yes.) Did John Wayne call to berate the director about his World War II spoof 1941? (Yes.) And how did he handle it when Billy Wilder asked to take over Schindler’s List? (Very delicately.)

The 64-year-old Oscar winner is open and thoughtful in discussing his storied career, from his 1968 short film Amblin’ to Lincoln, the biopic he’s currently shooting in Virginia with Daniel Day-Lewis. Despite all the acclaim (and box office success) he’s had over the years, Spielberg says he’s still anxious every time he starts a new project. “I think it’s my fuel, basically—my nervous stomach. That’s what keeps me honest, right? And a little bit humble, in the sense that when I make a movie, I never think I have all the answers.”

So what gave him doubts over the years? One example was one of his biggest (and earliest) hits: 1981′s Raiders of the Lost Ark. “I was a little bit dubious about what happens when they open the ark,” he says. “What actually is going to come out of the ark? There were a lot of crazy things in the script. I wasn’t sure how much we could actually get on the screen. We made a lot of it up as we were in postproduction.”

For more on Spielberg, including whether he really advised Michael Bay to fire Megan Fox from the Transformers franchise, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now. Or order it here.

This Week's Cover: Stars' Worst Movies! We list the most embarrassing films A-listers ever made

Like you, we like movie stars. We flock to see their films, cheer when they win Oscars, and memorize their famous lines. But sometimes they forget to return the love, cranking out movies that are so god-awful we’re left slack-jawed, wondering how the hell the things ever got made. We’re not talking about high-profile trainwrecks like Ben Affleck’s Gigli or George Clooney’s Batman & Robin. We’re talking about the under-the-radar pieces of celluloid dreck that, more often than not, limp straight to DVD and quickly vanish into out-of-print oblivion.

For instance, did you know that Johnny Depp once played a horny teen in a sex-romp called Private Resort? Or that Sandra Bullock made sweet jungle love in a cheap adventure called Fire on the Amazon? Or that Brad Pitt played a lovelorn high school jock in a move called Cutting Class? If you did, then we salute you. If not, then boy, are you in for a treat. We went back and unearthed the lamest, most ridiculous films your favorite A-List stars ever appeared in — and we giddily share with you all the hilarious highlights. Such as how Paul Rudd, as a peroxide-blond in Gen-Y Cops, chases a robot through Hong Kong and utters the line, “Roseanne Barr Arnold will be the President of the United States before you two punks see the light of day,” and how Ryan Reynolds’ facial hair changes from scene to scene in a raunchy American Pie knockoff that’s honestly called Coming Soon.

Forget roasting, brining, or deep-frying. This Thanksgiving, we bring you 24 turkeys that are delicious all by themselves.

For the full helping of Stars’ Worst Movies, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.

This Week's Cover: The 'Breaking Dawn' stars talk blood, sex, and that vampire baby -- EXCLUSIVE

Twihards have long been anticipating seeing Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) honeymoon on Isle Esme and consummate their marriage amid flying feathers. And as audiences will see when The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 arrives in theaters this Friday, the love scene does not disappoint. But, according to the stars of the movie, things could have been even more steamy — if it weren’t for director Bill Condon needing to keep the action PG-13. “There’s a version where it was really intense,” recalls Pattinson in this week’s EW.  “Cinematically, cut all together, it’s awesome,” says Kristen Stewart. “But we didn’t really do that scene. ”

“And when we did,” adds Pattinson, “they kept telling us to stop.”  READ FULL STORY

This week's cover: Brace yourself for 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.' Plus: The Holiday Movie Preview

When director David Fincher offered Rooney Mara the part of Lisbeth Salander, he laid out the stark reality of what she would be forced to endure. “I told Rooney, ‘You’re ­going to be emaciated, you have to be naked, you have to get raped [on screen], get pierced, smoke cigarettes, ride a motorcycle,’” Fincher recalls, in this week’s EW cover story. “‘I need you to really concentrate and tell me this is something you want.’” The actress didn’t even flinch. “There were certainly things I was scared to do, but I never thought I wasn’t up for the challenge,” she says. “The ­motorcycle was the thing I ­really didn’t want to do. You know, you’re ­going to be raped, be naked… But as soon as he was like, ‘You’re going to have to ride a motorcycle,’ I was like, ‘Oh, really?’”  READ FULL STORY

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