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In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, actress Emily Blunt, poses for a portrait at the Montage Beverly Hills, in Beverly Hills, Calif., to promote her film "Mary Poppins Returns." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Emily Blunt on the ‘daunting’ task of playing Mary Poppins

- Associated Press

Emily Blunt loves a challenge, and in the world of movie musicals there’s no greater trial than following in the footsteps of Julie Andrews to bring one of her most iconic, and beloved, roles to the screen for the first time in over half a century.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga in a scene from "A Star is Born." The cast was nominated for a SAG Award for best ensemble. The SAG Awards will be held Jan. 27 and broadcast live by TNT and TBS. This year's show will honor Alan Alda with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

‘A Star Is Born’ tops SAG Awards nominations, snubs abound

- Associated Press

“A Star Is Born” led nominations for the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards with four nods including best ensemble on Wednesday, firmly establishing Bradley Cooper’s romantic revival as this year’s Academy Awards front runner.

Xu-Li after 30. Qh3.

Chess world kept busy during Carlsen-Caruana clash

- The Washington Times

The chess world — and this column — have been understandably consumed for the past month with the drama in London, where American challenger Fabiano Caruana came up just short in his world title fight with Norwegian champ Magnus Carlsen, losing the rapid playoff after their 6-6 standoff (all draws) in the classical portion of the match.

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Yanks try to keep Happ, a 'Death Star' ready to pivot

- Associated Press

As Brian Cashman tried to close a deal to keep left-hander J.A. Happ, the New York Yankees general manager made clear Wednesday he could shift his focus from pitching to high-priced free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado at any moment.

Ex-Sacramento Kings executive admits to defrauding team

- Associated Press

A former Sacramento Kings top executive agreed Wednesday to plead guilty to siphoning $13.4 million from the team to buy Southern California beachfront properties, court records showed.

5 charged with running massive movie piracy ring

Associated Press

A Los Angeles federal grand jury has indicted five men who allegedly ran an international piracy ring that offered hundreds of stolen movies and TV shows online, including "Fifty Shades of Grey," ''Godzilla" and "The Walking Dead."

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Alison Eastwood, left, and Clint Eastwood in a scene from "The Mule." (Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

Review: In 'The Mule,' Clint reflects on a life on the road

- Associated Press

Both tender apologia and vigorous justification, Clint Eastwood's "The Mule" is a deeply, fascinatingly personal meditation from the 88-year-old director who, like his aged drug mule protagonist, has spent a long time on the road.

This image released by Disney shows Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins in "Mary Poppins Returns." (Disney via AP)

Review: Spit spot! Blunt's a practically perfect Poppins

- Associated Press

In the half-century since the original "Mary Poppins" debuted, we've learned a lot about refined sugar, frankly none of it good. Doctors tell us it can lead to obesity, heart disease and all sorts of other detriments to our health.