flickflackmovietalk

A Safe, Not Totally Awesome Oscars Telecast Awoken by Surprise Wins (Flack’s Report)

Posted on | February 24, 2015 | Add Comments

Oscars 2015

Despite plenty of surprise Oscar winners, Neil Patrick Harris’ 87th Annual Academy Awards show often felt safe, sometimes sedate, and comfortable with being fine but forgettable. Sure, there were the inevitable offensive jokes (“American Sniper with Bradley Cooper. The most prolific sniper in history, with over 160 confirmed kills. Or, as Harvey Weinstein calls it, a slow morning.”) But for most of the show Harris settled for innocuous predictability.

That’s not, however, entirely a bad thing. The opening number, “Moving Pictures”, was an ode to the escapist and inspiring power of movies, with costumed extras, clips, and a cameo from Anna Kendrick. It was rather delightful and, after so much controversy, refreshingly uplifting. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this kind of thing (host appears inserted in movie scenes and tells us how great movies are) performed at countless other Oscar shows. And though this year’s crop of nominees would’ve provided plenty of joke material, Harris opted to honor classic films we’ve seen countless times. Where were the Boyhood jokes? The pre-recorded video where Neil Patrick Harris grows up over twelve years? Where he marches along side MLK? Fights alongside Bradley Cooper? Luckily, a crotchety Jack Black interrupted Harris midway through with a hilarious song about Hollywood’s superhero problem.

On the whole, it was an enjoyable opening number. But almost immediately, it became apparent the show had major script problems. Around half of Harris’ jokes fell flat. The back-and-forth quipping between presenters was often awkward and stiff (Kendrick and Kevin Hart seemed to barely acknowledge each other). Worst of all was a prolonged briefcase gag that didn’t reveal it’s unfunny punchline until the last minutes of the show. Why did Harris’ “predictions” turn out to be a recap of the show’s big moments? My guess is the producers wanted to catch up viewers who tuned in at the end on everything that already happened (isn’t that what Twitter is for?).

Oscars 2015To the producers’ credit, there were some truly winning moments. Lady Gaga toned down her antics but wowed with her astonishing voice during a 50th anniversary medley of The Sound of the Music, and Julie Andrews came out to congratulate her. Otherterrific musical performances included Tim McGraw’s tearjerking rendition of Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” and Adam Levine’s flawless falsetto on Begin Again‘s “Lost Stars”. (Jennifer Hudson’s sorta bland In Memoriam number and Tegan and Sara’s candy-colored “Everything Is Awesome” spectacle were less awesome). The night’s high point came, as I had expected, when John Legend and Common performed their Selma song “Glory”. With Legend’s impeccable voice, Common’s rhythmic rapping, a soulful chorus, and lyrics that mention Ferguson, it was a poignant and undeniably affecting highpoint.

Neil Patrick Harris’ highpoint, meanwhile, came around halfway through the show. In a live video clip, Harris was shown backstage, struggling with a bathrobe caught in the door. Reluctantly, he walked away, dropping the bathrobe and clad only in underwear. Within seconds, clued-in cinephiles got the reference: Michael Keaton’s near-naked Times Square walk in Birdman. It was totally hilarious, and it only got better when Harris pushed the face of an anxious reporter away and then told a drumming Miles Teller “Not my tempo”. This type of movie in-joke comedy was sorely missing from much of the rest of the broadcast, but triumphed here.

As for the actual awards, I didn’t totally triumph with my predictions; I correctly forecasted 15 out of 24 categories. For the first ten or so, I guessed every one right (surprisingly, I did best in the technical categories and even correctly guessed the Best Documentary Short category). Though many of the big categories turned out different than I’d expected, in many ways, I wasn’t surprised. I predicted voters would award Original Screenplay to Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, but they instead opted for Birdman (great dialogue, memorable characters). And I was wrong in thinking Whiplash‘s examinations of ambition and perfection would garner it the Adapted Screenplay prize; the award went to the tightly structured The Imitation Game. J.K. Simmons, Patricia Arquette, and Julianne Moore, respectively, all seemed to have won the Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Actress awards before the show began, and they all collected their trophies. Best Actor, meanwhile, didn’t go to Birdman‘s Michael Keaton (I thought that would be a sentimental career-achievement sign of respect) but to The Theory of Everything‘s Eddie Redmayne, who physically transformed himself for the role of ALS-suffering scientist Stephen Hawking.

Oscars 2015And then there were the two biggies: Best Director and Best Picture. I predicted Boyhood would win both, or perhaps Birdman would nab one of the two. Wrong. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s dazzling dramedy walked away with both, again proving the Academy’s love for showbusiness stories (Shakespeare in Love, ChicagoThe Artist, Argo etc.). As Oscar writer Mark Harris mentioned in an article, the Academy undoubtedly connected to the film’s story of a faded blockbuster star trying to prove his artistic integrity with a daring new project Hey, we can do more than superheroes, was the message conveyed by the win.

Boyhood‘s story (kid grows up) seems more universally relatable, since everyone was once a kid growing up and not everyone was once a very unstable movie star. But the Academy chose to go with a story personal to them. Boyhood may have been too slow, uneventful, artsy, maybe too good for the Oscars. Make no mistake, I thought Birdman was brilliant, but it just wasn’t Boyhood. No movie is, and that’s not only because of the filming-for-12-years thing. It’s the kind of film you feel genuinely lucky to have seen and truly grateful that someone thought to make it. Ultimately, Linklater’s movie walked home with a single Oscar (for Arquette). The one-time frontrunner lost a few key prizes and was left with as many prizes as…How to Train Your Dragon 2!? Birdman‘s final tally was a respectable four wins, tying with The Grand Budapest Hotel (which swept many technical categories) for the most. Whiplash also was next, with three wins; Boyhood and the other four Best Picture nominees each won a single award.

Finally, I want to discuss up the Academy’s struggle with race, which has been a topic of discussion since Selma was largely shut out of the nominations. How did the show handle it? Much the way the largely white SNL did, during their 40th anniversary special: a few mildly awkward, pretty funny jokes and then quickly sidestep the issue.  “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest…I mean brightest” Harris joked during his opening line. Pretty daring first joke, sure, but that doesn’t solve any diversity issues among the nominees. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs (herself an African-American woman) would’ve been wise to discuss the problem during her speech. She could’ve talked about how the problem exists not just in the Academy, but in the actors Hollywood casts. David Oyelowo wasn’t nominated and that was unfortunate, but not many other non-white actors were major contenders. That said, many Oscar winners chose to address important issues during their acceptance speeches. Imitation Game screenwriter Graham Moore talked about attempting suiccide at 16, then encouraged viewers to “stay weird”. During his Best Picture speech, Iñárritu asked for better treatment of Mexican immigrants in America. And Patricia Arquette called out unequal pay among men and women (Meryl Streep liked that).

Overall, this was a pretty average Oscar telecast. It wasn’t a straight-up disaster in the vein of Hathway/Franco or McFarlane. At the same time, it’ll be forgotten quicker than both those shows. Like Ellen DeGenres, Harris appealed to all demographics and pleased everyone…but ended up wowing nobody. And did I mention Boyhood should’ve won? Anyway, this particularly insane awards season is over…which means it’s time to through out some 2016 predictions. Here are a few: The Hateful Eight. The Revenant. Steve Jobs. Joy. Miles Ahead. The End of the Tour. Spielberg’s latest. And…Episode VII?

Flack’s Last-Minute Best Picture Oscar Analysis

Posted on | February 22, 2015 | Add Comments

Oscars 2015If you’ve read anything about the Oscars, you’ve heard about the neck-in-neck Best Picture race between Boyhood and Birdman, one of the closest in years. Since its summer release, Richard Linklater’s 12-year coming of age drama Boyhood has been racking up critics raves, which were followed by critics awards and then big wins from the Golden Globes and BAFTAS. Those two ceremonies, however, don’t have a lot of overlap in their voter-body with the Oscars. Meanwhile, the Producer’s Guild, Director’s Guild, and Screen Actor’s Guild share many of the same members with the Academy, and in theory are more helpful tell-tale signs. So when Alejandro González Iñárritu’s dazzling backstage dramedy Birdman swept all three ceremonies, the tides began to turn.

For months, Boyhood seemed like the little movie that could go all the way from a small indie release to the Oscar podium. But Birdman, a more conventionally showy Oscar favorite, has gained enough traction to make a win seem unsurprising. Besides, it’s a movie commenting on movies, which the Academy clearly loves (think The Artist and Argo).

So…why am I predicting Boyhood for the big win? The film has a timely yet timeless quality that feels perfect for a Best Picture winner; it also encapsulates 12 years of culture into one moving film. And, in a year that has seen the Academy nominate a large number of independent films, it seems like the right time for an indie champion. I’m also predicting Richard Linklater for Best Director. Sure, Iñárritu’s direction is more in-your-face dazzling (one-take camerawork, drum soundtrack, breathless dialogue) but Linklater’s long-term hard-work will likely be rewarded. All that said, I’m anything but sure about my picks. Birdman certainly could take Best Picture, or Iñárritu could win Director and split the big two with Boyhood (assuming it wins Best Picture).

Personally, I’m rooting for (and predicting) Boyhood for both awards…and, in such a close race, perhaps we should listen to our hearts.

Flack’s 2015 Oscar Speech

Posted on | February 22, 2015 | Add Comments

Oscars 2015Confused by all the excitement and outrage surrounding this year’s Oscars? Do your homework before the show today, and read my Oscar essay about SelmaAmerican SniperBoyhood, and more. Predictions are included at the end. Here’s the speech/essay:

The awards season hoopla that surrounds the Oscars repeats itself each and every year and, to some extent, with little difference. Months of movie-geek forecasting, last-minute controversy, and other, lesser awards shows lead up to the big night, the Super Bowl of Hollywood, the Oscars. Actually, the show shares a few traits with that football spectacle, though it takes place not at a crowded fields and a packed arena but a Hollywood auditorium and at a podium. Yet like the Super Bowl, the Oscars are the outcome of tireless hype, careful marketing, and a whole lot of preparation; likewise, they inspire obsessively geeky debating, cheers of joy, some unsullied loser faces, and post-event speculation. And then, after a couple of weeks, the dust cloud of glitz and glamour fades away. Remaining hints of Oscar excitement are buried in awards blogs where anxious film-nerds are already predicting next year’s winners. By the time fall comes around, the film world is already revving its engine up again, preparing for another tough battle for gold.

This year’s “battle for gold” has been a little different, and I’m not just saying that to get your attention. Larger debates about race and politics have been at play, lending the event an unexpected touch of “importance”. It’s common for a few films to have their awards standings lightly, slightly tarnished by historical inaccuracy or a celebrity dispute or something else no one could’ve expected. But this year, two films, Selma and American Sniper, didn’t just have to politely sidestep a minor dispute; they had to face industry-wide discord head-on.

Selma, once considered a possible front-runner, was only nominated for two awards: Best Picture and Best Song. Why? The Selma filmmakers opted only to send screeners to the Academy, not other award-show voters, which meant the film was largely shut out of vital pre-Oscar award-show signifiers. There was also an inordinate amount of press lathered on the LBJ-Civil Rights kerfuffle, which involved historians chastizing the film for it’s less-than-squeaky-clean depiction of our 36th President . Both those factors certainly had something to do with the less-than-expected show of love for the film. But it’s hard not to look at the Academy-voting demographic (94% white, 76% male, average age of 63) and think some outmoded views on gender and race may have gotten in the way of nominations for lead actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay (who would’ve been the first black woman to get a Best Director nomination).

Clint Eastwood’s Iraq-war thriller American Sniper, another late entry into the race, got six nominations (Best Picture, Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, and Sound Editing and Mixing). How did Sniper, which received a fair share of tepid reviews, manage to get so much attention, while Selma, easily one of the best-reviewed films of the year, got sidelined? For one thing, critics don’t vote for Oscars. That demographic I previously mentioned (white, male, and old) may be the type of group that could get behind a film critic David Edelstein called a “Republican platform movie”, despite criticisms of glorified combat sequences and disparaging depictions of the Iraqi people. The Academy also loves a populist favorite and, perhaps perplexingly, Sniper may fill that spot: despite an R rating, the film has made 250 million dollars. Selma, meanwhile, has made 31 million, a third of what Sniper made in it’s first weekend.

So what do all these statistics mean? Are Oscar voters really racists who just love a good, old-fashioned war movie? No (actually, most of them are probably very nice people). But things need to change. I haven’t seen Sniper, but I did love Selma, a terrific film, made by a thoughtful director and starring one incredible actor. Aside from diversity, it was a great movie, and I’m not alone in wishing it had gotten more nominations. So, how will things change? On the bright side, this year’s controversy (which sparked a hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite) may influence voters to diversify future nominees. Yet the problem really lies in the heart of Hollywood. Many reporters have pointed out that all twenty acting nominees this year are white. A disheartening statistic, sure, but even if, say, David Oyelowo had gotten nominated there would still be more white nominees than those of other ethnicities because Hollywood is a largely white industry.

Now let’s look up on the upside. Take a good, hard look at the nominees for Best Picture. Yes, Oscar-baiting Weinstein-approved period pieces The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are on the list. But you’ll also notice the Oscars really love independent movies, the kind that might not have gotten nominated twenty years ago. We can partly thank the new Best Picture rules. In 2010, ten, not five, films were allowed nominations and in 2012, the limit changed again: five to ten is the magic number(s?). I for one, like those rules (though ten would make more sense). But while many predicted the change would allow more big-budget crowd-pleasers to sneak in, the opposite has happened. At the 2010 show, a Hollywood epic (Avatar) lost to a small-scale war-drama (The Hurt Locker). While the Academy next chose a period-piece (The King’s Speech) over a zeitgeist-capturing tech-tale (The Social Network), they’ve since given the big prize to a silent French comedy (The Artist), a quirky thriller (Argo), and a slavery epic (12 Years a Slave), while nominating a diverse range of films (The Tree of Life, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Her, to name the most esoteric).

This year continues that trend, with four of the eight Best Picture nominees being either independent or artsy or both. Those four films are Wes Anderson’s decades-spanning comic-caper The Grand Budapest Hotel, 30-year old Damien Chazelle’s drumming-drama Whiplash, Alejandro Iñáritu’s sorta-one-take showbiz dramedy Birdman, and Richard Linklater’s 12-year coming-of-age epic Boyhood. While acknowledging and bemoaning the Oscar’s lack of diversity, the Academy deserves at least a little credit for recognizing films both big and small. Some writers have complained that 2014 was a weaker-than-usual year for movies, but I was exhilarated, moved, surprised, and wowed by many films, particularly Whiplash, Selma, Birdman, The Wind Rises, We Are the Best!, Ida, Life Itself, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, and two big-budget surprises, The LEGO Movie and Edge of Tomorrow. My favorite, however, is Boyhood, a film that evoked feelings of poignancy, honesty, beauty, and the thrill of cinema in ways I’ve never experienced at another movie. For my money, it’s going to walk away with Best Picture (though look, up in the sky and watch out for Birdman) and the 12-years-in-the-making win will be well-deserved.

Predictions

Best Picture:
Boyhood

Best Director:
Richard Linklater

Best Actor:
Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Best Actress:
Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Best Supporting Actor:
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

Best Supporting Actress:
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Whiplash

Best Original Screenplay:
Birdman

Best Animated Feature:
How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Foreign Language Film:
Ida

Best Documentary Feature:
Citizenfour

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

Analysis:

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…

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.

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

***UPDATE*** A CHANGE HAS BEEN MADE FOR PLACE NUMBER THREE IN THE BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR PREDICTIONS.

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)