THE ENVELOPE
Hollywood's Awards and Industry Insider
Oscar Watch: 'Selma' scores with academy
'Murder's' Annalise and other TV women leap darkly into antihero scene

Much has been made of the rise of the TV antihero, and deservedly so. Walter White, Tony Soprano, Dexter and Don Draper gave new meaning to the term "guilty pleasure." It's taken a while for women to join those ranks, but now the airwaves are fairly teeming with female characters as ruthless, ambitious and manipulative as any man. And like Ginger Rogers dancing with Fred Astaire, they can do it backward and in heels. You've seen the ladies who lunch? These are the women who punch.

This fall, ABC gave us Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) on the new "How to Get Away With Murder," something she helps an awful lot of people do. Netflix gives us Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) in the political drama "House of Cards," who is arguably her politician husband's better half. She stands by her man, but when he crosses her, she has no qualms about stabbing him in the back. Metaphorically. So far. And it's doubtful that any male antihero has gone as low as the emotionally frayed Carrie (Claire Danes)...

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Lorde finds sisterhood with Katniss in the songs for 'Mockingjay 1'

She's a princess cut from marble, smoother than a storm. And she moves through town, quiet like a fight.

The low hum that begins "Yellow Flicker Beat" takes the viewer from the final shot of the transformed heroine Katniss Everdeen to the closing credits of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1."

"I liked the idea of the film ending on this close-up of Katniss' face, and then this very creepy, cracked hum kind of signaling your entry into her head, her deepest thoughts and secrets," says New Zealand singer-songwriter Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde. "I'd been listening to a lot of spirituals, songs like 'Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,' and I loved the crackling, flawed sounds, both of the old recordings and the delivery of the vocals, so that definitely had some influence."

The song captures the extreme ambivalence of Jennifer Lawrence's protagonist as she decides whether to allow herself to be used as the rebellion's figurehead in the coming civil...

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For Rene Russo, it took time to understand 'Nightcrawler' character

Call it uncommon the way Rene Russo landed her latest (and some say career-best) role as the desperate, morally impoverished news show producer Nina Romina in this season's L.A.-set indie crime thriller "Nightcrawler." The role was created by her husband, Dan Gilroy — the film's screenwriter and director — and has given her a pack of crackerjack reviews after nearly six years away from the big screen.

She arrives for a late-afternoon interview on the Westside in a black velvet blazer, slim tan pants and vain-free smile. As an actor, she's one of those ageless sorts, both on screen and off, looking nearly half her 60 years and better than half the women half her age.

The film digs into a seedy side of the city as crime videographer Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) gets ever more aggressive in his tactics, and Romina, ever more desperate to get her show's ratings up, encourages him.

It seems that you and your husband went outside your comfort zones for this — and you both hit pay dirt. Did...

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How a costume or a prop helped actors meld with their roles

"If you sum up what acting is, it's just the ultimate expression of empathy," Emily Blunt has said. That seems just about right, empathy and refusing to judge a character, understanding what his or her needs are. It all comes from an emotional well that actors can perhaps tap more easily than the rest of us. But sometimes external forces can give them a little head start — such forces as just the right purse or shoes, or a perfectly precise bow tie. Here, a few actors share their connections with their props and costumes.

Chadwick Boseman

"Get On Up"

It was the scene "in Vietnam, with the pinkish-red kerchief, with the slicked-back hair, particularly because I had seen pictures of him getting off that plane. Sharen Davis didn't do that costume exactly; it was a different color. But it's very similar to what he actually wore. And because he was going to Vietnam, he didn't get to do his hair as much as he normally would, so it's a sweated-out version of that process. I just loved that...

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Kevin Costner's 'Black or White,' a labor to produce, explores gray areas

No studio wanted to make it. And once he had spent $9 million of his own money to produce it, no one stepped up to distribute the thing. Passion project, albatross, conversation starter? Just don't let Kevin Costner hear you call his new film "refrigerator art."

"'Black or White' is really a giant metaphor for my career," Costner says, laughing in the bright sunshine of an early December day. "I'm a bit of a plodder. I didn't happen at 22. I started to happen around 28, 29. Certain movies have been hard for me to get made. It's a bit of a pattern for me. 'Bull Durham' was not a cinch movie to be made. 'Dances With Wolves' was not going to be made for the longest time.

"Studios are publicly traded companies, and they really have to look at that bottom line. The slots for a movie like this, maybe there's one a year for each studio, and maybe that was filled. There was no spot for 'Black or White,'" he says of his second collaboration with "The Upside of Anger" writer-director Mike Binder...

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