Oscar Announcement Bring Flat-Out Shocks and Well-Deserved Nominations (Flack’s Analysis)

Posted on | January 15, 2015 | 3 Comments

Oscar nominations bring plenty of shocksWhen I first scrolled through the list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards, I reacted with a “Whaaaat?”. Boy, were there were surprises abound. In the hours after the big announcement, the film world has been buzzing most about what wasn’t nominated, not what was. But while there were some eye-brow raising, disappointing, maybe even crushing snubs, there were also plenty of predictable but well-deserved nominations. Of the 11 categories I predicted, I was right about 42 out of 58 nominees; a fine, if imperfect, number. As always, everyone was left with a lot to talk about, and debate, defend, critique, argue over, and theorize about. Below, five big takeaways.

1. The Best Picture Category May Be The Least Surprising

Of the eight films that garnered Best Picture nominations, I had forecasted all (BoyhoodBirdman, Selma, The Imitation Game, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash) but one (American Sniper). So, what happened with Sniper? Presumably, the older male demographic of the Academy (isn’t that everybody?) really loved the Clint Eastwood war drama, despite tepid critics reviews. Still, Foxcatcher‘s lack of a nomination was a surprise, especially since it fared well elsewhere. And Gone Girl seemed to have a pretty fair shot (alas, Unbroken couldn’t deliver on it’s early frontrunner status). But enough nitpicking. The rest of the bunch was a foreseeable but merited, fairly eclectic group. The Academy deserves at least one “Bravo!” right there.

2. It’s a Good Year You’re an Audacious Indie Auteur…

Despite the love for British biopics, The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game, the Academy reaffirmed it’s recently developed penchant for (relatively) low-budget feats of filmmaking artistry. Here’s proof: Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel scored nine nominations (largest tally for any film) while the current frontrunner, Boyhood, got six (in just every category it was expected to get nominated for). Budapest‘s beloved Wes Anderson scored his first Best Director nomination, while Foxcatcher’s Bennet Miller beat out Clint Eastwood in the same category (and Foxcatcher wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture!). Whiplash‘s five nominations, along with some esoteric surprises in other categories, were other examples of the Oscar’s newfound and refreshing indie sensibility.

3. But If You Made That Biopic That Wasn’t About a Brainy British Scientist…Sorry

SelmaSelmaSELMA!!!??? That was the general consensus from Twitter, which was set ablaze by Selma‘s surprising snubs. Though the MLK biopic did receive nominees for Best Picture and Song (no complaints there), director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo were missing in their categories. Why? Three possible answers. First and most importantly, yeah, there may be more than a little racism and sexism in the Academy, or at least some passé views on gender and race. Secondly, Paramount’s decision to only hand out screener copies to the Oscars coupled with the LBJ historical backlash may have had a negatively cumulative effect on the film, despite the trifling ridiculousness of both. And lastly, it is possible some voters liked other movies better (subjective taste is a thing). Unfortunately, we’re left with a great movie made by and about black people mysteriously passed over.

4. Snubs, Snubs, Everywhere!

Aside from Selma, there were some shocks in smaller categories, chiefly in the Best Animated and Documentary fields. In the former, unquestioned frontrunner The LEGO Movie was M.I.A., while Roger Ebert doc Life Itself was also left out. Both films were beloved by pretty much all who saw them, and got some of the more glowing reviews of the year. Little explanation there. French drama Force Majuere was left out of Best Foreign Film, while the acting categories included some unexpected nominees: Foxcatcher‘s Steve Carrell, American Sniper‘s Bradley Cooper, Two Days, One Night‘s Marion Cotillard, and Wild‘s Laura Dern. That said, I forecasted Inherent Vice‘s Adapted Screenplay nod when few others did.

5. And Take a Deep Breath Everybody

It’s hard not to be disappointed by some of the big snubs. But people laugh at the Oscars all year long…and then get upset when the nominees are as white and male as ever? Yes, Selma should’ve gotten more nominations. But the Oscars aren’t stopping anyone from seeing Ava DuVernay’s film. Go ahead, criticize the Oscars (and they do deserve criticism). But more importantly, go see Selma, and all the other films that were left out. Good movies are good movies, with or without awards recognition.

Flack’s 2015 Oscar Nominations Predictions: Best Picture Question Marks and Actor Locks

Posted on | January 8, 2015 | 1 Comment

Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke in BoyhoodAs soon as the bloggers and journalists of awards-season finished analyzing (and retweeting) the 2014 Oscar broadcast, they began speculating about next year’s potential nominees (Jersey BoysBig Eyes?). A lot has changed since then, with the aforementioned films falling short of expectations and some smaller films stealthily sneaking to the front of the pack. There’s been an excess of who-cares mini-controversies (op-eds bemoaning historical inaccuracies, category-placement confusions, straight-up obnoxious Twitter outbursts), while journalists squeeze out every headline they can. Film writers have called this year’s crop of contenders smaller than usual, but they’re far from correct. Sure, some categories are easy to call, but the Best Picture race still leaves plenty of opportunities for snubs and shocks. Unlike profesional Oscar pundits, I haven’t seen every film, overheard industry whispering, or attended any cast-and-crew luncheons. But after much copying-and-pasting, fact-checking, and second-guessing, I’ve come up with my predictions for the major categories, with the nominees ranked in order of likeliness.

Best Picture

A Note: During the past three years, the Academy has allowed five to ten films to be nominated, and nine has been the magic number each time. Deciding how many films will snag noms this time is sheer speculation, so I’ve listed ten.

1. Boyhood

2. Birdman

3. Selma

4. The Imitation Game

5. Whiplash

6. The Theory of Everything

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel

8. Gone Girl

9. Foxcatcher

10. Unbroken


Drawing on the consensus of critics, box-office data, other Oscar experts’ picks, nominations from other awards-groups with overlapping voter-bodies, and my own forecasting, these are the ten films that have the best shot at a nom. Looking closely, my picks can be divided into debatably hyper-specific groups. At the front of the race are three films: coming-of-age journey Boyhood, showy show-business dramedy Birdman, and M.L.K. drama Selma. There’s no chance those films won’t get nominated. To a lesser extent, the same can be said about a duo of beloved indies (Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel) and two period biopics (The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything). It’s the last three remaining spots spots that get tricky. Gone Girl (a populist pick voters can feel good about) and Foxcatcher, two relatively divisive early-fall psychological thrillers, should get in there.

Unbroken and American Sniper, two true-stories of war bravery released on Christmas, will be duking it out for the tenth spot. Many critics have been calling Bradley Cooper’s lead performance the best thing about Sniper, but it’s difficult to imagine him getting nominated in that busy field. That, coupled with liberal voters wary of director Clint “Empty Chair” Eastwood, will weaken the film’s chances. That gives the edge to Unbroken, which despite negative reviews, can be called two of the Academy’s favorite adjectives: “tough-to-watch” and “crowd-pleasing”. If one of those two doesn’t make it, an under-the-radar arthouse pic (Nightcrawler or Mr. Turner) or a Hollywood epic (Interstellar or Into The Woods) could sneak in. But don’t count on it. I’ll stand by my ten picks.

Best Director:

1. Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

2. Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman)

3. Ava DuVernay (Selma)

4. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)

5. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Michael Keaton in BirdmanBest Actor:

1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)

2. Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

3. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)

4. David Oyelowo (Selma)

5. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)

Best Actress:

1. Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

2. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

3. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

4. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)

5. Jennifer Aniston (Cake)

Best Supporting Actor:

1. J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

2. Edward Norton (Birdman)

3. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)

4. Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)

5. Miyavi (Unbroken)

Best Supporting Actress:

1. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

2. Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

3. Emma Stone (Birdman)

4. Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)

5. Jessica Chaistain (A Most Violent Year)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

1. The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)

2. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

3. Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

4. The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)

5. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Best Original Screenplay:

1. Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

2. Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo)

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness)

4. Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

5. Selma (Paul Webb)

Emmett and friends in The LEGO MovieBest Animated Feature:

1. The LEGO Movie

2. Big Hero 6

3. How To Train Your Dragon 2

4. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

5. Song of the Sea 

Best Foreign Language Film:

1. Ida (Poland)

2. Leviathan (Russia)

3. Force Majure (Sweeden)

4. Wild Tales (Argentina)

5. Tangerines (Georgia)

Best Documentary Feature:

1. Citizenfour

2. Life Itself

3. Keep On Keeping’ On

4. The Overnighters

5. Last Days in Vietnam

And those are my choices for eleven of the twenty-four Oscar categories. Tune in on January 15 for the announcement. One week to go…

Flick’s 2014 Oscar Speech

Posted on | March 2, 2014 | 1 Comment

For the fifth annual time, Flack and I hosted an Oscar Party. Two films, endless trivia, good food, and speeches. That’s right, Flack and I both read our speeches to add some excitement and opinion to the night. Below, you can read my speech.


The unlikely friendship of a bear and mouse. A woman surviving alone in space. The untold story of backup singers. A dysfunctional father-son duo road trip. All of these stories and more were watched on screens big and small and all of them are up for an Oscar.

This year was an interesting year for film, with directors like Alfonso Cuaron taking bold chances with breakthrough special effects and Morgan Neville taking bold chances in different ways by telling an unknown story with true drama.

Going into this year, critics, industry know-it-alls, and audiences alike were predicting movie theaters to decline and while, yes, Netflix is growing bigger by the second and at home movie-watching technology is also growing at a surprising rate, there were a number of films that were undeniably great “movie theater experiences”. Take “Nebraska” for example, a film that is by no means a 3-D action spectacle, but is, by all means, a great “movie theater experience”. The B&W cinematography showing beatiful vistas was perfect viewing for the theater. Meanwhile, “Gravity” used IMAX and 3-D technology that felt uniquely new and different. After spending 16 minutes watching the camera slowly pan over Earth in one continuous opening shot, you are hurdled into a frightening crash sequence, one that uses sound, visuals, and storytelling to a combined effect of pure horror.

Music was also used to interesting effect this year, with more and more directors opting for pre-existing, well known music, rather than a score of their own. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” did this well, using songs like David Bowie’s Major Tom prominently. But, orchestra scores were also used well. Mark Orton used strings to interesting effect in “Nebraska” and Randy Newman used horns and drums to create a foot-stompingly energetic score for “Monsters University”. One more notable soundtrack mention would be “Inside Llewyn Davis” in which Oscar Issac and more sang folk ballads with minimal guitar strumming and maximum vocal chords.

With such a diverse year for films, there’s a lot to celebrate, which is what tonight’s all about. In just a few minutes we’ll be treating you to two screenings of Oscar nominated films. In the den: “Frozen”, nominated for Best Animated Film, a chilly musical comedy. And in the living room: “20 Feet From Stardom”, a documentary following multiple backup singers.

So without further ado…The films!


Who Will Win? Flack’s 2014 Oscar Analysis

Posted on | March 1, 2014 | 3 Comments

Chiwetel Efijior and Lupita Nyong'o star in Oscar frontrunner 12 Years a Slave (2013)They’re almost here.

After 6 months of obsessive predictions, studio scheming, marketing madness, Red Carpet overload, and one awards show after another, the Oscars (and the end of the awards season) are just a little more than 24 hours away.

Every year, the September-February thrill ride starts with Telluride and Toronto and just keeps on going. From Golden Globes fun and the Oscar nominations, to non-stop campaigns and Academy Q&A’s; through gossipy controversy and endless critique, past last-minute releases and release-date changes, over Oscar bets, shocking interviews, a nominee change (!), and… When does it stop?

Every year Awards Season feels a little bit…predictable. Yes, there’s the acting category surprises and the films that came out of nowhere to be claimed as “frontrunners” and the ballyhoo-causing cast and crew disputes that threaten to change everything (and normally change nothing). But, through all the nonsense, there’s always one film that gets called a Best Picture lock, gets called an “also-ran”, has a surprise comeback, gets rejected again, and ends up winning.

That’s exactly why this year’s Oscar race feels genuinely refreshing. When was the last time a nerve-wracking three-way-race for Best Picture had everyone biting their nails off? That’s certainly the case this year, with 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle all vying for the big win. But enough with all this talk…who’s going to win?

Well, I’ll cut to the chase: 12 Years a Slave. Sure, Gravity is as suspenseful and groundbreaking as movies get and American Hustle is the type of crowd-pleasing ensemble period-piece dramedy that seems like a shoo-in. But 50 years from now, voters will want people to look back at 2014 as the year the “Important Movie” won and12 Years a Slave fits that bill. Of course, they’ll also want to recognize a fine cast, careful direction, and a resonant script. But Oscar voters aren’t always known for picking Best Picture based on which is their favorite. Though it sounds (and is) silly, voters sometimes have other agendas. By selecting 12 Years a Slave, voters will be selecting the the indie studio flick, the critical favorite, the hard-to-watch controversy, the predictable-ish frontrunner, and the historical drama. Honestly, none of those descriptions will make the Academy look bad. So when everything boils down, there’s no real suspense for me. Based on everything I know about the Oscars, 12 Years a Slave will win Best picture. Now we just have to see if the Academy agrees with itself.

Here’s my other predictions…

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Best Actor: Mathew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay: American Hustle

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave

Best Animated Feature: Frozen

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet From Stardom

Best Foreign-Language Film: The Great Beauty

Best Cinematography: Gravity

Best Costume Design: American Hustle

Best Film Editing: Gravity

Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score: Gravity

Best Original Song: “Let It Go” from Frozen

Best Production Design: Gravity

Best Sound Editing: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity

Best Visual Effects: Gravity

Best Animated Short: Get a Horse!

Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Best Live Action Short: Just Before Losing Everything

Alright, alright, alright. On with the show…

2013 Oscar Predictions (Flick and Flack’s Video)

Posted on | February 21, 2013 | 1 Comment

All the categories. All the predictions. All the runner ups. It’s Oscar time…and Flick and Flack are here to cover it all in a 20 minute special. Watch as they dissect each and every category. And of course, tune into the Seth MacFarlane hosted show on Sunday, February 24th. More info here.

Flack Oscar Predictions for Other Categories (Flack’s Predictions)

Posted on | January 9, 2013 | 1 Comment

Steven Spielberg, the director of Lincoln (2012)

Here are my predictions for the 2012/13 Oscars for the big, most important categories only. Watch the nominations being unveiled, tomorrow morning (more details at the end of the article).

Best Director

1. Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

2. Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)

3. Ben Affleck (Argo)

4. Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)

5. Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

Thoughts: Either Michael Haneke (Amour) and, less likely, Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) could push out Hooper. Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) could make the cut for his brilliant debut/festival favorite. The Andersons, Wes (Moonrise Kingdom) and Paul Thomas (PTA, as he is known, for The Master), both got rave reviews for their indie flicks… But in a tight year, they don’t have enough pull to amass a nomination!

Best Actor

1. Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

2. Denzel Washington (Flight)

3. Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)

4. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)

5. John Hawkes (The Sessions)

Thoughts: Come Oscar Night, it’s going to be Daniel’s Day (or should I say night, even though it doesn’t sound as good!). But as for the other 4 guys… They’re gonna’ have a tough time… Richard Gere (Arbitrage), Jack Black (Bernie), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Tom Holland (The Impossible), or, most likely of all, Ben Affleck (Argo) could replace the 4. Washington seems an almost definite lock but Hawkes seems almost definitely iffy.

Best Actress

1. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)

2. Emanuelle Riva (Amour)

3. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

4. Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

5. Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

Thoughts: The previous five seem pretty definitive, in my mind. Some say Helen Mirren (Hitchcock) is a possibility but I don’t think so, based on the overall negative reaction to Hitchcock. Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) could take out Watts or Wallis but that’s slightly unlikely.

Best Supporting Actor

1. Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

2. Alan Arkin (Argo)

3. Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)

4. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)

5. Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)

Thoughts: The first four, I mentioned are frontrunners. Then there’s the question of “Who gets a nom from Django Unchained” While that answer could be Christoph Waltz or Samuel L. Jackson, I’m thinking DiCaprio. He played strongly against type and has already picked up some awards from early critics circles, always a good sign. Other than that there’s not too many possibles, except for the entire cast of Cloud Atlas which I think is out. However, if Skyfall gets a Best Picture nomination then count DiCaprio out and Javier Bardem in for his menacing turn as a Bond “baddie to boo for”.

Anne Hathaway as Fantine gets an excruciating haircut in Les Miserables (2012)Best Supporting Actress

1. Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

2. Sally Field (Lincoln)

3. Helen Hunt (The Sessions)

4. Amy Adams (The Master)

5. Judi Dench (Skyfall)

Thoughts: Hathaway has got a Day-Lewis lock on this one. Field and (less likely) Hunt will definitely get noms. But as for the last two spots…it’s murky territory!!! I’m going for Adams and Dench… Though either probably Ann Dowd (Compliance) and possibly Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) could take one of those two out.

Best Original Screenplay

1. Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)

2. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)

3. Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

4. Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)

5. Rian Johnson (Looper)

Thoughts: Boal will unquestionably win it. Anderson and Coppola, Tarantino, and Anderson, again, are fairly certain. But it’s the fifth spot that I’m still debating about with myself. Johnson (Looper), Michael Haneke (Amour), or John Gatins (Flight) could snag the final nom. I’m thinking the Academy will take the category literally by picking the most original screenplay for the fifth spot: Rian Johnson (Looper)!

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. Tony Kushner (Lincoln)

2. Chris Terrio (Argo)

3. Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

4. David O. Russel (Silver Linings Playbook)

5. Stephen Chobsky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Thoughts: Kushner’s got a lock for a win. Meanwhile, Terrio’s blend of comedy and seat-gripping set pieces, Alibar and Zeitlin’s exploding creativity, and O. Russel’s hilarious yet tragic tale should definitely grab noms. And for the fifth spot, I’m saying the Academy will honor Chobsky for adapting and directing his own novel. If they’re truly against the film, though, David Magee (Life of Pi) or William Nicholoson (Les Miserables) should be able to sneak up and…in! If those (this is an albeit unlikely situation) don’t get nominated then Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan (Skyfall) and possibly Ben Levin (The Sessions) should creep into the category.

Isabelle Huppert as Eva and Jean-Lois Trintignant as Georges share a tense moment in Amour (2012)Best Foreign Film

1. Amour (Austria)

2. The Intouchables (France)

3. A Royal Affair (Denmark)

4. War Witch (Chile)

5. No (Canada)

Thoughts: I completely agree with Flick in this category. Amour will totally win and The Intouchables got lots of Oscar buzz back in May which should carry over to this category (though not Best Picture, as I previously predicted!!!). From there on, I don’t have much insight but A Royal Affair, War Witch, and No are being widely said to be the three other nominees.

Animated Feature

1. Wreck-It Ralph

2. Brave

3. Frankenweenie

4. ParaNorman

5. Le Tableau (The Painting)

Thoughts: A tricky category to predict. I’ve seen all 5 films (except Wreck-It Ralph). The order of the first four is hard to predict but the fifth spot is a real toughie. Most people think Rise of the Guardians. But how about The Pirates: Band of Misfits? Or possibly Hotel Transylvania? Or Madagscar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted? Or possibly maybe even The Rabbi’s Cat? But no, no, no!!! I’m thinking the 3-D French flick Le Tableau (The Painting) will snag the fifth spot.

Best Documentary

1. Searching For Sugar Man

2. The Gatekeepers

3. The Invisible War

4. The Imposter

5. How To Survive A Plague

Thoughts: A fairly certain bunch, though Bully or Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry could get noms. I predict Searching For Sugar Man will win, but I’m no expert at this one.

Best Picture

1. Lincoln

2. Zero Dark Thirty

3. Argo

4. Les Miserables

5. Silver Linings Playbook

6. Beasts of the Southern Wild

7. Life of Pi

8. Moonrise Kingdom

9. Amour

I’m guessing there will be ten nominees here. So below are my six possibilities for the 10th spot (in order of likeliness):

10. Skyfall

11. Django Unchained

12. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

13. The Master

14. The Impossible

15. The Sessions

Sorry Bilbo and Batman… Maybe next year!!!???

Don’t forget to turn on your TV and tune into ABC at 5:30AM PST and 8:30AM EST to watch Emma Stone, an actress from The Help and 2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man, and Seth McFarlane (this year’s Oscar host!!!) announce the nominations on Januray 10th.

Predictions For the 85th Annual Academy Awards Best Picture Category (Flack’s Predictions)

Posted on | January 5, 2013 | Add Comments

Daniel-Day Lewis riding a horse in Lincoln (2012)This year’s Oscars are getting particularly heated. While last year (and the one before, and the one before, and the one before, and so on and so on) there was a clear front runner, this year seems to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. I’ll admit the Oscars are, to varying degrees, filled with suspense each and every year. But this time there are more question marks in the air than before. So now, until the Oscar ceremony is over, join Flick and Flack as they bring you on a journey through this year’s awards season.

One more note… The voters, who determine the Oscar nominees and then winners, are made up of critics and moviemakers!

Here are my predictions for the Best Picture category:

Best Picture:

Just like last year, the 2013 Oscars will allow for 5-10 movies to be nominated for Best Picture. Voters will fill out ballots with their 10 favorite movies of the year. Movies with at least 5% of the number one votes (last year the number of ballots was projected to be around 240) to get a Best Picture nomination.

I’m guessing the following 9 films will get Best Picture nominations:

1. Lincoln Steven Spielberg’s historical epic is talky, intimate, bold, and ambitious. Impressing in all categories, this phenomenal crowd pleaser is also a critic’s darling. The Academy loves to award films that are old fashioned, feature historical true stories, are surprise box office smashes, and are loved by all kinds of audiences. Believe it or not, this is all of these. Hello, podium!

2. Zero Dark Thirty The academy generally doesn’t give awards to people who won recently, with a few exceptions. But nominations for recent award receivers is normal. Kathryn Bigelow directs this true tale thriller about researching, searching, and killing Osama Bin Laden. It’s been making headlines for it’s contreversial ideas but critics call it pulse pounding, well done, and fascinating. Expect strong w support from women voters (And voters in general), thanks to Bigelow and Jessica Chastain in the lead role. Plus being a modern story may give the film a needed little boost (though if the film does better at the box office it’ll have a better chance because the Academy tends to skew towards succesful films, though The Hurt Locker was the lowest grossing Best Picture winner ever).

3. Argo Ben Affleck emerged as a world class director, and to a lesser extent, actor when his third film behind the camera was released three months ago. It’s another real life story of excitment, sadness, and, in this case, odd heroics. Affleck has said “I had very low expectations for Argo’s performance“. But the film shockingly became a box office hit, reeling in $164 million worldwide (doubling it’s $44.5 million budget, and then some!). To top it off audiences and critics can’t stop buzzing, though thanks to realeasing the film in mid October the positive talk has slowed down a bit.

4. Les Miserables The musical sensation came to the big screen on Christmas Day, featuring a boatload of big talent. While reviews have been notoriously iffy on it, audiences seem to be going mad for the film. So combine succesful box office results and great work from cast and crew members that will win over reluctant voters, because they poured their hearts out and into the production, then the movie may become a force to be reckoned with.

5. Silver Linings Playbook The romantic dramedy stars Bradely Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in sure to be nominated performances. David O. Russel has also been getting raves for his direction, and Robert DeNiro has been getting acclaimed for his best performance in years. Still despite positive reviews, the movies has been doing pretty poorly at the box office. Luckily an upcoming expansion should help it.

6. Beasts of the Southern Wild Few people who have seen the indie favorite dislike it. That said, few Oscar predicters think it’s a top contender. But I’m taking a risk by saying it is a top contender. A favorite at both Sundance and Cannes, (two of the most prestigous film fests in the world) the movie is miraculously directed by first timer Benh Zeitlin and stars breakout wonder Quvenzhane Wallis (a 6 year old while filming, now 9!). So-so box office numbers don’t matter when a movie this powerful comes around though it’s not without it’s flaws.

Suraj Sharma as Pi, by himself out at sea in Life of Pi (2012)7. Life of Pi Ang Lee. Based on a bestselling novel. Visually astonishing. A peeing 3-D tiger. What speaks Oscar more than that (okay, maybe not that last one…). But this terrifically sentimental, totally gorgeous epic (based on Yann Martel’s fine yet problematic book) is not a 5 star film. And yet at one point Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar expert Anthony Brenzican called the number one best picture frontrunner of the year. And Roger Ebert called it his third favorite 2012 movie. And British magazines Empire and Total Film both gave it 5 stars. And it was the opening night movie at the New York Film Festival (which just celebrated it’s 50th birthday this year). And that festival called it a ”classic”. But despite this praise, there have been mixed review and mediocre box office numbers. Still it’s a lock for a nomination, but not a win.

8. Moonrise Kingdom Wes Anderson’s delightfully funny, dramitically moving teenage romance is another indie favorite. It was the opening night movie at Cannes and it was a big moneymaker, for an indie movie. Critics and audiences were also huge fans. While it might not have the weight of a winner, it’s got the fun of a breakout summer indie. That is one that’s soon to be nominated for Best Picture.

9. Amour Michael Haneke’s old age romance tragedy won Best Film at this year’s Cannes fest. It got amazing reviews and audiences will likely be captivated, too, when it opens into more areas this month. The big problem is the Academy only nominates foreign films for Best Picture if they’re really, really good. But since most people (who’ve seen it) are saying this one is… Well then I’ll say it has a pretty good shot.
While the following movie could get nominated, I’m predicting there will be only 9 nominees this year:

10. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel This retiree rom-com has been picking up some nominations (most notably Best Musical or Comedy, from the Golden Globes, and Best Performance by a Cast, from the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards). But I’m thinking it’s too lighthearted for a nomination.

The next 5 movies are, to varying degrees, possibilities for a nomination:

11. Django Unchained Quentin Tarantino’s bloody revenge Western was a box office hit when it opened on Christmas Day and got an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes (though it’s one of those cases where the reviews were more mixed than the RT percentage might suggest…). But the contreversial action drama maybe a bit overlong and over bloody for the Oscars.

12. Skyfall After recently sneaking into the Producers Guild version of Best Picture, the 23rd James Bond flick has been having it’s Oscar chances rethought. Since it is the 50th anniversary of the franchise the Academy might give the movie some leeway, but don’t count on it!

13. The Impossible The tsunami thriller has gotten rave reviews and the performances seem great. But in a year of soooo many great movies, it’s often the ones the ones that do something altogether original that make the cut. So a tragic, terrific disaster drama might not make the cut because, as amazing as it may be, it’s been seen before in one way or another.

14. The Master One of the most critically adored movies of the 2012, this Paul Thomas Anderson drama wasn’t a smash with audiences. Also, in every article I’ve read about it’s Oscar chances it’s been called too confusing, weird, and original for the Academy. Still it’s highly praised actor’s should give it a big boost (though it should be noted that, in a recent interview, the movie’s star Joaquin Phoenix talked about his strong disliking of the awards season)

15. Flight Denzel Washington starred in this mystery thriller, directed by Robert Zemeckis. Audiences and reviewers, overall, loved it… But Washington could be the film’s only shot at a nomination (let alone a win!). Still it’s unconventional plot mechanics and fantastic buzz might win over voters. Nonetheless other awards have not been doing many favors to the film, so a total Oscar takeoff seems unlikely.

A Flick and Flack Oscar central will soon be on the website, where you’ll find more articles by us and others! So check back soon. And tune in to find out the real nominations, not my silly guesses on January 10th, this coming Thursday.

85th Annual 2013 Oscar Predictions (Flick’s Predictions)

Posted on | January 3, 2013 | 4 Comments


This year’s 85th Annual Academy Award (better known as the Oscars) nominations will be announced on January 10th. The actual show will take place on Febuary 24th. What does that mean? It means that Flick and Flack will be posting a bunch in the following months. The show will be hosted by Seth McFarlane, director of last summer’s Ted and TV’s Family Guy.

I’ll start off by listing what I think are the ten films that have the best chance at snagging a Best Picture nom. The smallest amount of Best Picture nominees is five and the highest is ten, so, to hope for the most, I’m listing a full ten. I’ll also list my ideas on the other main categories. Read on.

Best Picture

1. Lincoln

2. Argo

3. Zero Dark Thirty

4. Life of Pi

5. Les Miserables

6. Silver Linings Playbook

7. Django Unchained

8. Beasts of the Southern Wild

9. The Impossible

10. The Sessions


Best Director

I. Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

2. Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)

3. Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

4. Ben Affleck (Argo)

5. Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)


Best Actor

1. Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

2. Denzel Washington (Flight)

3. Ben Affleck (Argo)

4. John Hawkes (The Sessions)

5. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)


Best Actress

1. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)

2. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

3. Naiomi Watts (The Impossible)

4. Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)

5. Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)


Best Supporting Actor

1. Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

2. Alan Arkin (Argo)

3. Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)

4. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)

5. Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)


Best Supporting Actress

1. Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

2. Sally Field (Lincoln)

3. Helen Hunt (The Sessions)

4. Amy Adams (The Master)

5. Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)


Best Foreign Film

1. Amour (Austria)

2. The Intouchables (France)

3. A Royal Affair (Denmark)

4. War Witch (Chile)

5. No (Canada)

Moonrise KingdomBest Original Screenplay

1. Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)

2. Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)

3. Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

4. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)

5. John Gatnis (Flight)


Best Adapted Screenplay

1. Tony Kushner (Lincoln)

2. Chris Terrio (Argo)

3. David Magee (Life of Pi)

4. David O. Russel (Silver Linings Playbook)

5. Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Box Office Battle Brews (Flack’s Report)

Posted on | March 14, 2012 | Add Comments

When 2011′s total box office total grosses were announced to be the lowest since 1995, high expectations were already being set for 2012.  I was personally surprised about 2011, considering that the last Harry Potter installment, not one but four super hero films, Transformers 3, and two Steven Spielberg films were all released.  But with Batman 3, a Spider-Man movie, the Avengers, and another Steven Spielberg movie all being released in 2012, excitement is starting to brew.

So far the box office is 24% higher at this than point last year.  But not quite as high as 2009 and 2010 at this point.  Coraline and Pink Panther 2 were released in early 2009 and Avatar was released in December 2009 and obviously carried over into early 2010.  This year 3 movies have already passed the 100 million dollar mark.  In order from least to greatest, they are:  the action movie, Safe House ($116 million), the romance, The Vow ($118 million), and the family film, The Lorax ($129 million).  Those movies also have the highest opening weekends, with $40 million, $41 million and $70 million.  Also twenty movies have passed the 30 million mark.  Still there have been a large number of commercial flops, such as, This Means War, The Woman in Black, The Grey, Red Tails, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and so far John Carter.

Now let’s take a look at what other March blockbusters are coming up.

21 jump street movie

March 16, 2012: The Big Opening: 21 Jump Street.  Why it will be big?  Starring comedian and Oscar nominee, Jonah Hill.  And with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 85%, it’s likely to become a semi-big commercial, crowd pleaser. Why it will not be big: It’s rated R, which means that younger audiences won’t go.  Also others might not be old enough to remember the TV show.  My box office predictions:  Opening Weekend: $35 million, Domestic Total: $155 million, and International Total: $255 million.  Other movies opening that week:  Seeking Justice staring Nicolas Cage, Jeff who Lives at Home staring Jason Segel, and the Spanish film Casa de mi Padre starring Will Ferrel.

The Hunger Games

March 23, 2012: The Big Opening: The Hunger Games. Why: This is the biggest non-summer, non-holiday movie of the year.  Comparisons to Twilight could give it a push…. or not.  The first Twilight opened to 69 million dollars in it’s opening weekend, but this is likely to do better.  It has a massive, massive, massive fan base and could get great reviews.  Why not: It’s possible because not everyone is familiar with it, it might not do well.  My box office predictions: Opening Weekend: $80 million, Domestic Total: $350 million, and International Total: $400 million. Other movies opening that week:  The Raid: The Redemption, and Brake.

Wrath of the Titans

March 30, 2012: The Big Openings:  Wrath of the Titans, and Mirror Mirror. Why? The first Titans movies was released to a $61 million weekend, suggesting this could very well possibly follow in its footsteps.  The first Titans movie was badly reviewed, and got a 28% splat on Rotten Tomatoes.  The 2 worst reviewed elements, however, are back: Sam Worthington and 3-D, but the first earned $300 million overseas, making this one a potential blockbuster. Also people now know that they didn’t like the first one so they might not return for a sequel.  Meanwhile Mirror Mirror is the more family-friendly of the two Snow White movies, opening in 2012.  It also stars Julia Roberts.  But it’s not a summer movie, an action movie, or a Kristen Stewart movie, or even a movie with Thor in it, which the other one is all of those. My box office predictions for Wrath of the Titans:  Opening Weekend: $40 million, Domestic Total: $200 million, International Total: $300 million.  My Mirror Mirror box office predictions: Opening Weekend: $25 million, Domestic Total: $115 million, International Total: $170 million.

Mirror Mirror

One last note, I wanted to point out is that all top 1o movies at the box office right now have a SPLAT on Rotten Tomatoes, which means they are badly reviewed.  However I expect that to change for new movies coming out, particularly the first two ones I was just talking about  Many people are saying that all this good box office will lead people into the Summer, however I hope that some of the Summer movies get good reviews.  In December, I’m expecting The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to be the big holiday movie and Lincoln (directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis) to be the big Oscar movie and a potential blockbuster. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will probably be first or second place along with The Dark Knight Rises for the whole, entire year. The Amazing Spider-Man, Skyfall, and The Avengers will round out the top 5 for the year (not in order).  More Summer movies preview for 2012 are coming soon.

The Hobbit

2012 Pre-Oscar Speech (Flack’s Speech)

Posted on | March 11, 2012 | Add Comments

The 2012 Oscars

NOTE: I read this at my pre-Oscar party and although it is pretty out of date by now, I thought you might enjoy reading it.

At one time the 2011 Oscar race was extremely exciting and incredibly close.  But once “The Artist” became popular it seemed as if nothing could stop it.  The film started out at Cannes and then got picked up by The Weinstein Co.  As of now with only one day till Hollywood’s biggest night it’s biggest competitor seems to be another movie about movies: “Hugo,” Martin Scorsese’s big-budget-based on a book, family friendly 3-D epic drama, which with 11 total nominations is the most nominated film of the year.

“The Descendants” and “The Help” are the other two most likely competitors.  Why?  Because “The Descendants” has been nominated for Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Leading Actor.  “The Help,” meanwhile swept the SAGs and has a lot of overall acting sweep.

George Clooney (for The Descendants) will probably beat both Brad Pitt (for Moneyball) and Jean Dujardin (for The Artist).  Viola Davis (for The Help) will likely beat Meryl Streep (for The Iron Lady) and Michelle Williams (for My Week with Marilyn).  The Supporting Actor categories are way easier to predict.  Octavia Spencer (for The Help, once again) will definitely win Best Supporting Actress.  Meanwhile Christopher Plummer (for Beginners’  only nomination) will absolutely win Best Supporting Actor.

I think “The Artist” will beat “Midnight in Paris” for Best Original Screenplay and that “Hugo” will definitely beat “The Descendants” and “Moneyball” for Best Adapted Screenplay. Martin Scorsese (for “Hugo”) will definitely but still surprisingly beat Michael Hazanavicius (for “The Artist”).

Here are three fun facts about the three possible winners:

1. If “The Artist” wins Best Picture it will be the first silent film to win since “Wings” in 1927 at the first Oscars.

2. If Viola Davis wins Best Actress for “The Help,” she’ll be the first Rhode Islander to win an Oscar because she grew up in Central Falls.

3. If 82-year-old Christopher Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor for “Beginners” he’ll be the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar.  The second oldest would be 79-year-old Jessica Tandy for “Driving Miss Daisy”.

Finally, here’s the order of my least favorite to most favorite of the Best Picture nominees. (By the way the only one I haven’t seen is “The Descendants.”)

8. Midnight in Paris

7.  The Artist

6. The Tree of Live

5. Moneyball

4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

3. Hugo

2. The Help

1. War Horse

Here’s the order of what I think will win, from most likely to win to least likely to win.

9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

8. The Tree of Life

7. War Horse

6. Moneyball

5. Midnight in Paris

4. The Descendants

3. The Help

2. Hugo

1. The Artist

And now we must wait till Hollywood’s biggest night.  When Billy Crystal makes jokes and Martin Scorsese wins Best Director against Michael Hazanavicius, and The Artist beats Hugo for the big prize Best Picture.

keep looking »

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