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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

HOLIDAY MOVIE MANIA: Sexiest Holiday Movies; Can `The Hobbit` Beat `Twilight`?

Aired November 21, 2012 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Tonight, on a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: HOLIDAY MOVIE MANIA heats up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They messed with the wrong family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now what are we supposed to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to fight. Anybody who wants to join is welcome to. We`ll hit them on our terms. We`re the wolverines and we create chaos.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: "Red Dawn" star Chris Hemsworth takes on Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook," but which holiday movie takes the sizzle to a whole new level? It`s the "SHOWBIZ Countdown," the "Holidays` Sexiest Movies."

Hello and thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer, and we`ve got holiday movie mania tonight with two special "SHOWBIZ Countdowns," including a battle between Hollywood`s biggest films for the top spot in our countdown of the top five Oscar contenders.

You have Daniel Day-Lewis who transforms himself into Abraham Lincoln up against Ben Affleck, who directs and stars in "Argo," the true story of a CIA hostage rescue mission. So which will be No. 1?

But we begin with our first countdown of the night, the top three "Sexiest Holiday Movies."

We begin with No. 3. It is "Silver Linings Playbook." It stars former sexiest man alive Bradley Cooper, along with "Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence, who definitely shows a new side of herself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADLEY COOPER, ACTOR: You want to have dinner at this diner?

JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTRESS: Pick me up at 7:30.

COOPER: So how`s your job?

LAWRENCE: I just got fired, actually.

COOPER: Oh, really? How?

LAWRENCE: By having sex with everybody in the office.

COOPER: Everybody?

LAWRENCE: I was very depressed after Tommy died.

COOPER: We don`t have to talk about that.

LAWRENCE: Thanks.

COOPER: How many were there?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: You can`t go wrong with this film. So how much does the sex appeal of the film sizzle on screen?

With me from Hollywood, Paul Dergarabedian, and he`s the president of the Hollywood.com box office division, along with Grae Drake, senior editor of RottenTomatoes.com.

Great to have you both here.

And Grae, I want to start with you. Bradley was named sexiest man alive. Does he live up to it in this flick?

GRAE DRAKE, SENIOR EDITOR, ROTTENTOMATOES.COM: Not since Angelina Jolie in "Girl, Interrupted" has mental illness been so smoking hot.

Bradley Cooper 100 percent lives up to all the hype in this movie. Not only does he look spectacular, but his acting work is so good it`s going to be hard to take your eyes off of him and watch anything else this holiday.

HAMMER: Wow. This that`s quite an endorsement. And Jennifer Lawrence is still pretty much a fresh face on the big screen. Now she`s paired up with this guy so, so many women think that this guy has the "it" factor, Pauly D. Are you loving these two together as a couple?

PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, HOLLYWOOD.COM: Yes. I think it`s a great thing because, yes, Bradley Cooper who sometimes because of his pretty face is not taken so seriously. But I think he shows a real depth and range in this film.

Jennifer Lawrence, obviously, she came, really, out of the indie world and then exploded in "The Hunger Games." And now with them together, I think it`s a great combination, but there`s really nothing sexier than good acting and a good story, and I think this film delivers that.

HAMMER: I am so happy to hear that the acting matches up to the sexiness -- sexiness of it all.

But we move from Bradley`s sex appeal to this. It is No. 2 in our "SHOWBIZ Countdown" of the top three "Sexiest Holiday Movies." Chris Hemsworth bringing out the big guns in "Red Dawn." Chris is starring at the leader of a pack of teenagers who fight off a massive North Korean invasion of their own. Let`s watch a bit of that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are we supposed to do?

HEMSWORTH: We`ll fight. Anybody that wants to join is welcome to. We`ll hit them on our terms. We`re the wolverines, and we create chaos. We need to steal that weapon.

It would be the foothold to take our homes back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t.

HEMSWORTH: Yes, you can. Relax. And squeeze.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Looks pretty amazing, and I do need to note this film was actually shot more than two years ago, but its debut was delayed in production. And since then, of course, we`ve seen Chris Hemsworth in the "Thor" movie. We`ve seen him in "The Avengers." And now he`s saving the day in "Red Dawn."

Paul, back to you. Hemsworth really seems to be the ultimate fit for these tough guy action flicks, doesn`t he?

DERGARABEDIAN: He is, because he`s actually over 6 feet tall. And we`re so used to a lot of these action stars, when you meet them in person, being kind of smaller guys. And this guy really fits the role, because he actually looks like he could do the things he`s doing on screen. And that physical presence is very important.

I`m sure for a lot of women, they love seeing him in that role because he exudes that sort of strength, and I guess sexuality, that comes through very clearly with Chris Hemsworth.

HAMMER: Yes. And on the sexiness, because that`s what we`re counting down, after all, he is a great actor, Grae. But at the end of the day, does it really matter? I`m thinking a lot of his fans would be very happy if he just kind of stood there.

DRAKE: You`re absolutely right. Honestly, all I want for Christmas is a bottle of massage oil so I can take care of those biceps. And the shelving of "Red Dawn" has me a little bit nervous, but in the end, he is the draw for this movie, and with a combination of action and being able to stare deep into Chris Hemsworth`s dreamy, dreamy eyes, this movie is going to do all right this season.

HAMMER: Good luck with that gift.

What could possibly top a former sexiest man alive and a guy who saves America from a foreign invasion to be our pick for the sexiest movie of the holiday season?

Well, how about a movie about a guy who often saves the world, he dates tons of women, and he really knows how to rock a tux. Yes, the James Bond movie "Skyfall," the No. 1 sexiest holiday movie.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You made such a great entrance into a little drama.

DANIEL CRAIG, ACTOR: Don`t overcomplicate the plot.

HAMMER (voice-over): Nothing complicated about our choice for sexiest holiday movie.

CRAIG: Bond, James Bond.

HAMMER: "Skyfall" is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s pick as the No. 1 sexiest movie this holiday season. Why?

Well, for one, there`s its star, 007 himself, Daniel Craig.

SHANNON COOK, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Here`s what makes Daniel Craig sexy.

HAMMER: Our resident Bond expert, CNN entertainment contributor Shannon Cook, breaks down why Craig`s so sexy in "Skyfall."

COOK: His biceps, his left pec, his right pec...

HAMMER: OK, Shannon. We get the idea.

COOK: ... his abs, his butt, his thighs, his calves...

HAMMER: Shannon?

COOKER: ... his toes and possibly his toenails.

HAMMER: Sure, Daniel Craig is sexy in "Skyfall."

COOK: James Bond is a naughty, naughty man, and women like naughty, naughty men. I think Daniel Craig is especially naughty. I just feel like he`s the type of guy that would give you one hell of a spanking.

HAMMER: James Bond, license to spank.

Yes, from Connery...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think my mouth is too big.

SEAN CONNERY, ACTOR: I think it`s the right size. For me, that is.

HAMMER: ... to Craig...

CRAIG: Must be furious.

HAMMER: ... James Bond movies have always dabbled in sex.

COOK: He`s been a very, very busy man. How many women has James Bond wooed and bedded in the last 50 years?

HAMMER: By our official SHOWBIZ TONIGHT James Bond scorecard, Bond has bonded with 54 ladies over 23 movies. And in "Skyfall," James Bond has some sexy moments with these new Bond girls.

COOK: The hottest scene was when Naomi Harris was on her knees giving Bond a close shave. It`s a typical Bond scenario where it combines danger with sexuality.

HAMMER: But the No. 1 reason "Skyfall" is our choice as the sexiest holiday movie -- how many other holiday films are having their title spoofed to describe real-life sex scandals?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Spy fall. What we`re now learning about the affair that brought down the CIA chief.

HAMMER: Take that, "Lincoln."

James Bond`s demand: bring in the sexy this holiday season.

CRAIG: Everybody needs a hobby.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Back to Hollywood.com`s Paul Dergarabedian and Grae Drake from RottenTomatoes.com.

Grae, I know you are a huge Bond fan, so what do you think of us naming "Skyfall" the sexiest movie of the holiday season?

DRAKE: I couldn`t agree more.

And there`s something else that Daniel Craig does that`s so important. He`s good at being vulnerable. So he`s a human being, but he`s also at the same time giving us an air of super humanness in both his spy missions and the bedroom.

So, Daniel Craig works on every level, and it was a spectacular No. 1 pick.

HAMMER: I think there`s a good reason that now people are calling him the best Bond and this the best Bond film.

Paul, "Skyfall" doing crazy business at the box office, as we know. Its sexiness has got to be a reason why.

DERGARABEDIAN: It`s a huge reason for the enduring success of the franchise, but I like how the sexiness has evolved over the years.

You know, the Bond girls used to be just pure set dressing, and now, like in Eva Green in "Casino Royale" and Naomi Harris in this installment, these are smart women who are sexy because they`re smart. They also look amazing.

But that combination with Daniel Craig being, as Grae said, vulnerable and at the same time very sexy -- and this is a bruised and battered Bond in "Skyfall," so you just are rooting for him but you also love the sexiness of him being vulnerable and yet going toe-to-toe with these smarter Bond girls, I would argue, in the recent films.

HAMMER: Yes. There`s no question about it. The women as much as the men for very different reasons have been flocking to the box office to check this man out in "Skyfall." It`s our No. 1 tonight. Thank you guys for chiming in on that.

Coming up next, it`s the box office showdown between vampires and hobbits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IAN MCKELLAN, ACTOR: I`m looking for someone to share in an adventure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t just go running off in to the blue. I am a Baggins of Bag End.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Can the great Bilbo Baggins take a bite out of the final "Twilight`s" big finish?

And the "SHOWBIZ Countdown," "Oscar Contenders." That`s right: there is early Oscar buzz for Ben Affleck`s "Argo." Critics are calling it one of the best movies of the year. But could "Les Miserables" spoil "Argo`s" award momentum?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNE HATHAWAY, ACTRESS (SINGING): I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I`m living.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Wow. Anne Hathaway dropped 25 pounds for that role.

So who will take the gold in our SHOWBIZ showdown of the "Oscar Contenders," "Argo" or "Les Mis"?

This is SBT, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT PATTINSON, ACTOR: I`ve had a bad habit of underestimating you. Every obstacle you face, I just think you couldn`t overcome it. And you just did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: That`s Kristen Stewart springing into action for "Breaking Dawn, Part 2." Fans are saying a bittersweet farewell with the final installment of the wildly successful "Twilight" franchise. The "Twilight" frenzy may have met its match. A big showdown is shaping up between vampires and "The Hobbit."

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson`s final "Twilight" film is going up against "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson and his new movie, "The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t guarantee his safety.

MCKELLAN: Understood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nor will I be responsible for his fate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It is certainly shaping up to be a big showdown, but who`s going to win the battle?

With me in New York, Jessica Shaw, who`s a staff writer for "Entertainment Weekly," and from Hollywood, Tara McNamara, who is a film columnist for Fandango.com.

So here we have these two big franchises. They will have made a lot of money when all is said and done. Each movie in Peter Jackson`s trilogy, "Lord of the Rings," has grossed over $300 million. And the last three "Twilight" movies averaged $290 million at the box office.

Jessica, let me start with you. Which film do you think is going to win this box office battle when all the dust is settled?

JESSICA SHAW, STAFF WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Well, I think when all the dust is settled, it will have to go to "The Hobbit." I think that your numbers are right domestically, but it`s important to look at the international numbers.

And the "Twilight," I mean, the last three "Twilight" installments in the franchise have made about $700 million worldwide. But what did "Lord of the Rings" do, the last one? And that was pretty much a decade ago? A billion dollars. And I think "The Hobbit" is poised to inherit that massive bank account.

HAMMER: Yes, I agree with you. And I think there`s one other reason why it might have the edge, because there`s a big difference between the films and the franchise.

"Twilight" has a huge female audience, of course. "Hobbit" has both a male and a female audience and even somewhat of a family audience there. So Tara, when you consider that, who do you think is going to come out on top of this big showdown?

TARA MCNAMARA, MOVIE COLUMNIST, FANDANGO.COM: Well, I think when you look at "The Hobbit," we kind of have a historical prototype for that. And that is "Star Wars." The "Star Wars" actually weren`t as profitable in the box office as "The Lord of the Rings" movies.

So when they came back with "Episode 1: Phantom Menace," it was huge. So I think -- I think that I would go with "The Hobbit," as well. But I don`t want to underestimate "Breaking Dawn" and the fact that you`re going to have girls going over and over and over again to see this final episode.

HAMMER: Well, that`s exactly the point. I mean, Jessica, how much of a factor do you think it is that, you know, this is the final installment of the "Twilight" franchise? There`s not another one that`s ever coming to a big screen.

SHAW: Right. Yes, this is the final one, and certainly, there will be people that go again and again out of nostalgia. You know, it`s the last one.

And "The Hobbit" is the first of three, so people will really be, you know, dipping their toes in with this new franchise.

But the thing with "Twilight" is that people tend to go early. They tend to go the weekend it opens and the second weekend and the third. You know, it`s very front-loaded, whereas with "The Hobbit," it`s opening later. This movie could do tremendous business over Christmas vacation when all the kids are out of school and people could be going over and over and over again when "Twilight" has already -- will have been open for many weeks already.

HAMMER: Well, in both cases it`s a ton of money.

Jessica Shaw, Tara McNamara, don`t go anywhere. The presidential race is, of course, long over, but the Oscar race features some presidential star power, too. Does Steven Spielberg`s "Lincoln" have what it takes to take Hollywood`s top spot at the Oscars?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, ACTOR: We have stepped out upon the world`s stage now with the fate of human dignity in our hands! Blood`s been spilled to afford us this moment! Now, now, now!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Daniel Day-Lewis is just brilliant as President Lincoln. But could Daniel and the film face some serious competition from "The Master"? Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman shine in this film. This is going to be one serious showdown in the "SHOWBIZ Countdown," top five "Oscar Contenders."

This is SBT, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Ah, the holidays. This time of year inspires togetherness, huge holiday meals and quiet moments.

But you know, sometimes after all of that bonding, you just get in the mood to see something blow the heck up. Now, we`re not encouraging you to harm your Great Aunt Alice. No way. You can use your DVD player to unleash your inner action hero this year.

This holiday season, curl up with Stallone, Spidey and the bravest little princess of all. Right now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is counting down the top three "Movies Worth Staying at Home For."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Loaded?

SYLVESTER STALLONE, ACTOR: I hope so.

HAMMER: Run, shoot, explode. Repeat. That`s the undeniable winning formula that works like a charm for "Expendables 2," and that`s why the DVD, with more veteran action stars than you can shake an AK at, takes the No. 3 spot on our "SHOWBIZ Countdown," "Movies Worth Staying Home For."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When`s the plan?

STALLONE: Trap him, find him, kill him.

HAMMER: The sequel to the 2010 action hit starring Sylvester Stallone also gave the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger...

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: I`m back!

HAMMER: ... his first movie role months after leaving office.

BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: Get in!

SCHWARZENEGGER: Your shoe is bigger than this car.

WILLIS: Shoot something.

HAMMER: If you`re an action junkie, this is a main line shot of the good stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woo!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, watch out. I`m swinging here. I`m swinging here.

HAMMER: The film in the No. 2 spot is amazing. It`s "The Amazing Spider- Man."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty-eight of New York`s finest versus one guy in a unitard.

HAMMER: It`s the perfect movie for the entire family to veg out with while on the sofa in a holiday feast coma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Mr. Parker.

ANDREW GARFIELD, ACTOR: Not much to tell, really.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peter lives with his aunt and uncle.

HAMMER: The DVD also reveals how Andrew Garfield did all of those web slinging Spidey stunts.

KELLY MACDONALD, VOICE OF MERIDA: I am Merida, first-born descendant of Clan DunBroch. And I`ll be shooting for my own hand!

HAMMER: Some princesses don`t need a Prince Charming, and that`s why "Brave" takes our No. 1 spot on the "SHOWBIZ Countdown," "Movies Worth Staying Home For."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A princess does not place her weapons on the table.

MACDONALD: Mom.

HAMMER: With fiery red hair and a wicked shot, Princess Merida takes aim at all of the fairytale princesses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Merida!

MACDONALD: Curse this dress.

HAMMER: And proves to little girls there`s a way to be brave and still live happily ever after.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Wouldn`t mess with her.

Well, over the years some of the most phenomenal films, often Oscar winners, have debuted during the holiday season. This year`s no different, so that`s why tonight we`re counting down the top five "Oscar Contenders." Like Ben Affleck`s "Argo."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: I got an idea. A Canadian film crew of a science fiction movie. I fly into Tehran. We all fly out together as a film crew.

I`d need you to help me make a fake movie.

JOHN GOODMAN, ACTOR: So you come to Hollywood and act like a big shot without actually doing anything?

AFFLECK: Yes.

GOODMAN: You`ll fit right in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Such a great film. But it`s not the only "Oscar Contender."

Could "Django Unchained" give "Argo" a run for its money? Our top 5 "SHOWBIZ Countdown" of "Oscar Contenders" is next.

This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Daniel Day-Lewis brings Lincoln back to life while Ben Affleck directs.

This special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: HOLIDAY MOVIE MANIA continues right now.

Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: HOLIDAY MOVIE MANIA. I`m A.J. Hammer and counting down the best of the best films this holiday season and there`s already a hot battle brewing for gold. Oscar gold. We have presidents, CIA agents and tigers, oh my. The race is just heating up now but who`s going to come out on top?

Here is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Nischelle Turner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like our chances now.

NISCHELLE TURNER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The election isn`t until February, but Lincoln`s candidacy is already getting lots of support in the race for best picture.

PETE HAMMOND, MOVIE CRITIC, DEADLINE.COM: Lincoln is sensational and Steven Spielberg`s best in many years and looks like it will be a major contender.

TURNER: Movie critic Pete Hammond of deadline.com is tracking all the early Oscar favorites.

HAMMOND: We`re starting to look at one, two, three, four, five, pecking orders already.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you revolutionary guards going door-to-door.

HAMMOND: Argo I think is really from the academy voters I have talked to love that movie.

TURNER: Also, on Hammond`s short list.

HAMMOND: Life of Pi, Ang Lee`s movie which is extraordinary of silver lining, it is playful. It is just a wonderful comedy, drama, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, all of them will be nominated and some could win.

TURNER: Critic Ben Lyons tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Oscar voters may double down on 007.

BEN LYONS, MOVIE CRITIC: Now, with "Skyfall" people are starting to talk about James Bond being in the best picture race which I think there is a good possibility it will happen.

TURNER: If "Skyfall" gets a best picture nod it would be a first for a Bond movie. But the recognition may not end there. Lyons says.

LYONS: Javier Bardem is absolutely incredible in "Skyfall".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mommy was very bad.

LYONS: Also, Judi Dench in "Skyfall" is an academy favorite and might get a supporting actress nomination for her turn at M.

TURNER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you the Oscar race is far from set. So, possible contenders haven`t even opened net.

HAMMOND: "Les Miserables" from Universal is coming up Christmas day.

TURNER: That`s Hugh Jackman and Ann Hathaway.

HAMMOND: And Russell Crowe and the big musical of the season.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I dreamed my life would be --

HAMMOND: Everybody is looking at that one, you know, I mean, the other rivals are looking at it like I hope it is not good, I hope it is not good.

TURNER: Are there any individual performance that is really jump out at you right about now?

HAMMOND: It is one of the tightest best actor races I have seen in years already.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having you in the shower.

HAMMOND: There is Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in Hitchcock and Nails Hitchcock. You have got Daniel Day-Lewis at Abraham Lincoln.

HAMMOND: Day-Lewis could face competition from another ex-president, Bill Murray as FDR in Hyde Park on the Hudson.

HAMMOND: Bill Murray is terrific and really nails this portrayal of Roosevelt. So, we have the battle of the presidents all of a sudden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love him. I am his mistress.

TURNER: The best access picture is still murky and could feature Keira Knightley in the legendary role of Anna Karenina and there is Helen Mirren as Alfred Hitchcock`s wife, Alma, in Hitchcock. Added all up, what do you have, a really competitive awards season.

Isn`t that why we love this time of year?

HAMMOND: We love it. We just wish it was a little shorter.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: That was SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Nischelle Turner setting the plate for us. But now, we are counting down our top five Oscar contenders and as you have seen, the competition is amazing this year. Really a magical mix of epic movies, generating massive excitement about this year`s Oscar race.

Back with us "Entertainment Weekly" is Jessica Shaw, Paul Dergarabedian who is the president of Hollywood.com`s box office issue and Grae Drake from Rotten tomatoes.

So gang, no Oscar list would be complete without a great movie maker like Steven Spielberg. Number five on our Oscar contenders count down, Spielberg`s epic "Lincoln," being called a towering achievement that every American should see. So let us take a look at it right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we choose to be born or fitted to the times we`re born in to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, how about myself? You maybe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This settles the fate for all coming time. Not only with the millions now in bondage but of unborn millions to come. Shall we stop this bleeding?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. Paul, off to you first. Here`s a movie of America`s greatest struggle and so many people are wondering if it`s going to go down as Spielberg`s greatest film ever. What do you think?

PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, PRESIDENT, HOLLYWOOD.COM BOX OFFICE EDITION: Well, I think it is one of his best films and probably one of his best in years. And his performances so amazing. Daniel Day-Lewis, I mean, this guy just -- if you look up Oscar in the dictionary, it is like his picture should be there because he is so synonymous with great acting. And in this role, he is almost like a guitarist that chooses just the right number of notes. He is not showy. He is not over the top. He is just perfect. Pitch perfect as Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones is daddy Stevens to me steals the movie and should be nominated for best supporting actor for Lincoln.

HAMMER: It will be interesting to see if that comes in as a nomination. But, yes, people are saying Daniel Day-Lewis truly becomes Lincoln in this movie. And if you don`t know he`s a great actor, basically, you`ve been asleep for years.

Jessica, do you think that Daniel Day-Lewis has now just defined one of America`s greatest heroes for generations to come playing this role?

JESSICA SHAW, STAFF WRITER, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Absolutely. And we know that Hollywood loves an entertaining history lesson, so this is a definitely an Oscar contender. But, what better endorsement than the fact that President Obama had a screening of this movie at the White House? And apparently loved it. So, you know, it has the White House seal of approval.

HAMMER: Yes. That is a solid endorsement. Well, from a movie about one of America`s greatest icons to a movie about an iconic cult leader that a lot of people say resembles L. Ron Hubbard, of course, the real life former leader of scientology. Coming in at number four on the top five Oscar contenders countdown, the master. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a writer. A doctor. A nuclear physicist. A cynical philosopher. But above all, I`m a man. Just like you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s been writing all night. You seem to inspire something in him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we will do now will urge you toward existence. Within a group. Society of family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good science by definition allows for more than one opinion. Otherwise you have the will of one man which is the basis of cult.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: What a cast in this film. Now Grae, I want to send it off to you. The movie stirred up anger in the scientology world which we know has a big presence in Hollywood. Do you think in any way that could affect the chances at a run for Oscar gold?

GRAE DRAKE, SENIOR EDITOR, ROTTENTOMATOES.COM: I don`t know that that`s going to hurt it as much as its star Joaquin Phoenix will. Because he is already been talking some trash about Oscar and it really hasn`t gone over so great. He`s done damage control as per usual. Trying to explain what he said but he was calling things BS and that he doesn`t pay attention to the Oscars. And I think that is going to be worse for this film than anything the scientologists could do.

HAMMER: Let`s read the quote that Joaquin told "Interview" magazine. He thinks that the Oscars are total utter expletive. I can`t actually say what he said.

Paul, do you think that pretty much ruins his chances anyway being nominated for the role in "the Master"?

DERGARABEDIAN: Probably. I think he doesn`t care. This guy is a loose cannon. Seems to always have been. And, you know, this is happened before. I mean, Marlon Brando clearly, back in the day, he didn`t respect Oscar. But, you know, that isn`t -- you`re kind of biting the hand that could feed you. So, I don`t know if that`s a great idea to talk against the Oscars like that. It`s almost like asking to not be nominated. So, that`s Joaquin for you.

HAMMER: He doesn`t care. Lincoln couldn`t do it or "the master." So, which film can take the top spot in the countdown of Oscar contenders tonight? How about Ben Affleck`s "Argo"?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got an idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Canadian film crew of a science fiction movie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I fly in to Teheran. We fly out together as a film crew. I need you to help me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come to Hollywood and act like a big shot without actually doing thinking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ll fit right no.

HAMMER: "Argo" definitely an Oscar contender. But could Anne Hathaway stand in the way of Ben Affleck`s gold? And starring in the highly anticipated "Les Miserables" a role she left 25 pounds for. Who will be number one on the showbiz countdown tonight? We got the big reveal coming up.

This is SBT. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to the special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: HOLIDAY MOVIE MANIA. And right now, we are counting down the top five Oscar contenders. We are number three on the showbiz countdown. Quentin Tarantino`s "Django unchained." It is an amazing movie about a former slave who teams up with a hired gun to free the love of his life. And I can tell you, it`s one of Tarantino`s most exciting movies ever. But don`t take my word for it. "Django unchained" is pure visceral excitement. Let`s watch some together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you like the bounty hunting business?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kill white folks and they pay you for it? What`s not to like? I like the way you die, boy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a rambunctious soul, isn`t he?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Django. The "d" is silent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Fantastic. I want to bring back Jessica Shaw, staff writer with Entertainment Weekly.

So Jessica, Quentin Tarantino recently said he wants to retire from Hollywood while he is still on top which is sad to me. But, if he takes the Oscar with this movie, do you think maybe it`s good enough for him to leave his final mark?

SHAW: Quite possibly. Although, I don`t think anyone believes for a second that Quentin Tarantino is actually going to retire from Hollywood.

HAMMER: Yes.

SHAW: But certainly, this movie, you know, is poised to do extremely well. There`s so much Oscar bait going on. There is Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz who teamed with Tarantino(INAUDIBLE). I mean, this has an absolute A-list lineup and people are very excited for it.

HAMMER: And Tarantino can`t go anywhere.

Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT actually caught up with Jamie Foxx who starts in this film as a man on a mission to free the love of his life from slavery. I want you to watch what he told us about what playing the role means to him personally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: Slavery for us was, like, you know, a lot of people don`t know when we freed slaves. We don`t know anything about it. And some of the things I was even learning about it that I had no idea. I was like, well, this is the moment. This is the moment to show it in its truest, most brutal way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Back out to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com`s Box Office division. So Paul, obviously, watching Jamie there, you could see it struck accord with him and it really did come through in the acting in this film. Do you think that perhaps he outdid his Oscar winning role as Ray Charles with this?

DERGARABEDIAN: He may have -- I mean, this is a Jamie Foxx under the direction of Quentin Tarantino who gets -- extracts I should such amazing performances from his actors and "Django unchained" looks like it`s kind of over the top, very violent. In a way it`s sort of a companion piece for me to "inglorious Bastards" which had Christoph Waltz who won the Oscar for his portrayal in that movie. And so, Jamie Foxx is just knocking it out of the park under Tarantino`s direction. I think this is a role near and dear to Foxx`s heart and I think that is going to show on the big screen and I wouldn`t count it out for multiple Oscar nominations even though it`s extremely violent which sometimes Oscar doesn`t really acknowledge often.

HAMMER: Yes. No. I think it could do really well despite that fact. We are moving now though from the American south to the streets of Paris.

In at number two on our top five Oscar contenders showbiz countdown tonight, "les Miserables." let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help me, please! I have a child! So different from the hell I`m living so different now from what it seemed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is your child?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Jessica, an amazing cast in the story. Hugh Jackman and Hathaway. They get it right with this version of the film?

SHAW: Yes, yes, yes! I mean, if you have seen the trailer, you love this movie already. I mean, I literally wept from watching the trailer. And one of the things I`m most excited about, about this movie unlike some miss calls and appearing very polished, Tom Hooper (ph) shot in real -- the songs in real time so it can have a little more of a grittiness to it and I just think it sounds amazing.

HAMMER: All right. Jessica, Paul, stay where you are. I have to hear your guess for number one movie on the countdown. I`m coming right back with that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Right now on the showbiz countdown, Oscar contenders. Here is where we are so far.

Coming in at number five, Daniel Day-Lewis brings Lincoln back to life and he is a good bet of Oscar gold.

At number four, we predicts Joaquin Phoenix`s turn playing a tortured alcoholic in Paul Thomas Anderson`s "the Master" will bring audiences to their knees.

At number three, "Django Unchained." Quentin Tarantino`s drama star and Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Sam Jackson about a slave turned bounty hunter is a must see.

At number two, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway soar in "Les Miserables." That brings us to number one on our showbiz countdown Oscar contenders. We declare Ben Affleck`s "Argo," based on the true story of a secret CIA operation rescue six American diplomats out of Iran to be our number one Oscar contender. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six of the hostages went out a back exit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Canadian Ambassador`s house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have guards going door to door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people die, they die badly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White house?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Want it is six of them out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we lack for this are bicycles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deliver the six bikes, provide them with maps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or you could just send in training wheels and meet them at the border with Gatorade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: So, so good. Back with me from Hollywood is Paul Dergarabedian, the president of Hollywood.com`s Box Office division. Also from Hollywood, Grae Drake, the senior editor with rottentomatoes.com.

So ,Ben Affleck`s movie "Argo" is already topped so many of the critics` lists. Many movie reviews proclaiming the movie as one of Ben Affleck`s best works ever. Paul, are you with us? This movie is the top contender for Oscar gold this year?

DERGARABEDIAN: I`m totally with you and I love the fact that Ben Affleck from Benifer to Oscar and his transformation over the years has been astounding. And here in "Argo," he goes outside of Boston which he, you know, within his wheelhouse. That`s where he`s from and the town and "gone baby gone," both set there. So, he had kind a hometown advantage.

With this movie, he didn`t have that and absolutely knocks it out of the park. I love this film. It`s a period piece. It`s a true -- based on a true story. And even though, somewhat know the ending, you are on the edge of the seat throughout the movie, particularly at the big climax at the end.

So, I`m with you 100 percent. I think Affleck is a force to be reckoned with who reminds me of Clint Eastwood, going from acting to Academy award winning director as his career path and pretty amazing.

HAMMER: Wow. I`m betting he`s enjoying that comparison. Yes, he did really stretch the talents and really showed that he has only great places to go from here not only directing the film, starring in it, as well.

So, Grae, let`s step back for a second and think about this. What are the chances that Affleck could actually take home the gold for best picture and best actor?

DRAKE: Man, I think he`s an underdog. He`s up against really stiff competition. This is a great year for movies and there is just so many to pick from, but he has a couple of important things on his side. He like we mentioned, he is an actor turned director. The academy loves it. And already loves him. He`s already got one. And so, I think it`s time for everybody to reward him because I, too, am totally on board with "Argo" train. This movie had so much tension. I can`t help but think the time with J.Lo is well spent in that regard.

HAMMER: Yes, exactly. That`s why we named it number one.

Paul Dergarabedian and Grae Drake, thank you both. Stay right there because now that we chosen our number one Oscar contender, time to relax a little bit. If you could see only one movie, what movie should you go to see. We have the industry`s top movie experts. They are sharing their picks for the holiday season. You definitely don`t want to miss this.

This SBT, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BEAK)

HAMMER: There are so many great movies to see this holiday season but if you can only see within of them, which one should you choose? It`s so difficult to pick. That`s why I`m bringing back the fantastic movie panel. Entertainment Weekly`s Jessica Shaw, Paul Dergarabedian of Hollywood.com and Grae Drake from rottentomatoes.com.

All right. Jessica, off to you first. I want to start with your pick of the must see. Go.

SHAW: I`m going "les Miserables." I love it period, costume, musical.

HAMMER: Simple as that.

SHAW: Simple as that.

HAMMER: And Anne Hathaway makes an incredible transformation. I know that is going to continue to get lots and lots of buzz.

Pauly D., you get to see these films. But you need to help people out tell them the one that tops the list of the one if you can only see a single film.

DERGARABEDIAN: Well, if you can only see one single film I say "Django Unchained." I got a go with my man, Quentin Tarantino on this. It`s a spaghetti western filtered through Tarantino`s weird sensibility. I can`t wait.

HAMMER: Weird, indeed, but spectacular. And as I said earlier, I really hope he doesn`t take a leave of absence of Hollywood.

All right. Grae, off to you. Your number one pick?

DRAKE: Attention must be paid to Judd Apatow`s latest film, "This is 40." I`m going to take my whole family and we are going to watch a movie about people who love each other but also want to kill each other just like my family.

HAMMER: Yes. I think everybody kind of can feel that way sometimes. I`m actually going to throw in a honoree mention. Because I want an animated family that the whole family as long as they are above the age of six can see "Rise of the Guardians." I love this film. It`s a holiday film. That`s going to be my choice if you`re going the see an animated holiday flick.

But for now, Jessica Shaw, Pauly D, Grae Drake, I want to thank you all and wish you all a very, very happy holiday.

SHAW: You, too.

HAMMER: Thank you for watching this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: HOLIDAY MOVIE MANIA. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. You can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

HLN continue right now.

END