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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Today would have been Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday, and Google is honoring the Queen frontman with an animated Doodle tribute that took them nearly three months to create. [via Gawker]

2. It looks like The Help — which is sitting pretty at number one for the third week in a row now — will top this weekend’s holiday box office, with newcomer The Debt (that Helen Mirren thriller) trailing not too far behind. Less popular than predicted: Apollo 18 and Shark Night 3D. We’re proud of you, America. [via THR]

3. Sorry, Billy Crystal. According to Deadline, Eddie Murphy is producer Brett Ratner’s top choice to host this year’s Academy Awards. Given the fact that Murphy stars in Ratner’s fall release, Tower Heist, this news isn’t all that surprising, but it could result in a more interesting show than we’ve seen in recent years — especially if he channels ’80s Eddie.

4. Update: Steven Soderbergh’s much-discussed impending retirement (which is to coincide with his new career as a painter) has actually been blown way out of proportion. “It’s less dramatic that it sounds; it’s just a sabbatical,” he told the Observer. “I feel I need to recalibrate, so I can discover something new. I’m out of ways of telling art.” [via Vulture]

5. How old would you say is too old to be kicked off a plane for refusing to pull your pants up? Let’s ask Billie Joe Armstrong, shall we?

Bonus Buzz: 10 Great Things Courtesy of Labor Unions

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