Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Christoph Waltz

Award Season has come to an end, and now that the cream of last year’s crop have been rightfully celebrated- depending on who you ask-  it’s time to focus on the best and brightest in pop culture right now. From spring movies to the ever-present joy of television, here’s five things that should provide the perfect antidote to red carpet fatigue.

 

1.) John Hawkes
MV5BNDQxNzk1NjUyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODI0NTA1OA@@._V1._SX640_SY360_Ben Affleck wasn’t this years only glaring snub at the Oscars. With two fantastic films up for major awards, including one in which he gave a soul-bearing performance that should have been at the top of the list for a Best Actor nomination, this guy continues to astound. Like this year’s brilliant Best Actor, Hawkes possesses an uncanny ability to burrow deep inside his diverse characters, not to mention an authentic screen presence so primal it can sometimes be terrifying (Martha Marcy May Marlene anyone?). We love you Danny Day, but rent The Sessions and give Lincoln another gander to see why this character actor is one of the most talented of his generation!
2.) SNL

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How does this show do it? After last season’s brilliant send off of the talented and indispensible Kristen Wiig, not to mention mainstay Andy Samberg, it appeared that SNL might have finally milked the last of it’s creative juices. Think again! Just like the shake-up in the mid 90’s that led to a new golden age of Ferrell, Oteri. Shannon, and Hammond, the show’s managed to reinvigorate itself once again.

Featured players, Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant have each proved to be super rookies. Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharaoh and Kate Mckinnon are doing Emmy-worthy work, while Bill Hader, who combines Jim Carrey’s charmingly quirky rubber-ness with John Stewart’s sardonic wit, routinely knocks em out of the park. Plus, with news that Melissa McCarthy and Justin Timberlake are yet to host this season, Saturday Night Live is officially appointment television once again!
 3.) Travel Channel’s Armed and Ready

Kevin Michael Connolly, "Armed & Ready"

Host Kevin Michael Connolly might have been born without legs, but that doesn’t stop this warm folky teddy bear (think one of the Mumford and Sons) from taking on some of the most extreme adventures in the world. We’re talking skiing, hiking, bungee jumping, there’s nothing this adrenaline junkie won’t do as he travels the globe searching for adventure. And to think, you couldn’t make it to work because you had a cold! In this reality TV age of graceless megalomaniacs, this guy’s a welcome change.
4.) Oz, The Great and Powerful 

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Fingers crossed that this one ends up being as good as it looks. But with Sam Raimi, the mad genious behind the Evil Dead and Spiderman Trilogies at the helm, expect the unexpected. We of course love Mila and Rachel, but it’s particularly nice to see Michelle Williams finally looking glamorous in a film that doesn’t involve heartbreak, betrayal, or some seriously f-ed up shit. Plus, Franco even seems likeable!
5.)    The Wendy Williams Show
urlLove daytime tv but upset about the dirge of blandness that seems to have infected it since Oprah left. Try out Ms. Wendy Williams. Sure she could afford to do a little pre-interview research and she’s hardly what you’d call polished, but this girl‘s got enough personality to make up for a million Anderson Cooper’s and Jeff Probst’s.  And unlike Ellen’s, her show doesn’t exist as a companion piece to the movie studios, so you’re guaranteed good celebrity dish!