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Box Office Predictions for Summer 2012 Movie Review

Now that it's officially the Summer Movie Season and that "The Avengers" has broken the "Highest Grossing Opening Weekend Record" with $200.3M in its first 3 days, here are my predictions for the 10 movies that will top the box office this summer (many of them likely for the year):

1. "Marvel's The Avengers" - $475M

2. "The Dark Knight Rises" - $460M

3. "The Amazing Spider-Man" - $250M

4. "Men in Black 3" - $225M

5. "Brave" - $215M

6. "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" - $200M

7. "Snow White and the Huntsman" - $180M

8. "Ice Age: Continental Drift" - $175M

9. "Prometheus" - $165M

10. "G.I. Joe: Retaliaton" - $150M

New Name, Same Home Movie Review

The Academy Awards are staying in Hollywood! In fact they're going to be held in the same building, with a new name. The Kodak Theatre is now The Dolby Theatre and the Academy has signed a 20-year deal to keep The Oscars right where they are. The Dolby company outbid 10 others for the naming rights to the theater, where the show has been held since 2002. President Tom Sherak is glad that they're staying "where the Academy and motion picture industry are rooted."

Personally, I'm also happy that the Oscars will remain in Hollywood. Having been there the last two years for Oscar Week and experiencing just how incredible the atmosphere is I wasn't happy about the talk that there might be a change. H-wood is where the movie magic is made (at least most of it). A move to LA would have taken away a lot of what makes The Oscars a worldwide phenomenon.

Dolby is famous for their audio, so I would except that the sound in the auditorium next Feb. will be better than ever.

I'm Ready...Already! Movie Review

A few months ago Paramount and Nick announced that there will be a "SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2", but it won't be released until late 2014. Well, even though we have to wait two and a half years for SpongeBob's return to the big screen, a teaser poster has already been released for the film.

The movie will be released in both 2D and 3D. The poster's only clue to the plot is that there will be "a new adventure". The studio logos are Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures' 100th Anniversary logo, but there isn't one for Paramount Animation. Since this is Paramount Animation's first project, maybe they're don't have a logo yet. Here's a link for a closer look at "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2" teaser poster.

Another new teaser poster just out (and it seems legit) is for "The Muppets 2". This sequel to the 2011 Disney comedy that under-performed domestically at the box office has a 2013 release date. Jason Segal has said no to both starring and making a cameo appearance in "The Muppets 2", but that could change. Here's "The Muppets 2" teaser poster.

Weinstein Co. Getting Animated in a Big Way Movie Review

It's considered a busy year when a movie studio is able to release two animated movies. So what are we going to call 2013 for the Weinstein Company now that it's been announced that the studio will be releasing four, yes FOUR animated films next year.

We already knew about "Escape From Planet Earth", a CGI comedy due out next February, which includes the voice work of Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Park and Jessica Alba. It's about an astronaut (Scorch Supernova) who gets into trouble when he responds to an SOS call from a mysterious planet.

But we can now add to that list:

- "Leo the Lion" - Aug. 30 - about a young vegetarian lion

- "The Trick or Treaters" - Oct. 25 - a Halloween tale about a young orphan girl

- "Santapprentice" - Dec. 6 - a Christmas story about a young orphan boy who is chosen to replace Santa

How is TWC putting-out so many animated films in such a short period of time? Empireonline.com reminds us:

Way back in the summer of 2007, The Weinstein Company announced a new deal between itself, The Gotham Group ("The Spiderwick Chronicles") and the Chungcheongnam-do Government of South Korea, to develop a new slate of animated movies. These would appear to be the result.

Four animated films from the same studio in one year will be amazing, as long as they're good. Let's hope this isn't a case of quantity over quality.

Earth Day Franchise Continues to Grow Movie Review

"Chimpanzee", the newest Disneynature documentary,  has made over $10-million it's opening weekend.  That's a new record for the franchise.

For the makers of "Chimpanzee" this was the toughest project they ever worked on. To find out why, and much more about the film, listen to my interview with co-director Alastair Fothergill.

Why the early success at the box office? Certainly the marketing of the film as been solid. It doesn't hurt when your star is a cute, little chimp named Oscar. Using Tim Allen as narrator let's people know that this is going to be more fun than your typical nature documentary. And having chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall helping to promote the movie is also a bonus.

The Disney Movie Studio may be having problems finding blockbuster hits (which forced chairman Rich Ross to resign), but there's no denying that their Earth Day nature film division is alive and well.

 

Dick Clark - 1929-2012 Movie Review

I looked forward to watching Dick Clark every New Year's Eve. In fact I can't remember a Dec. 31 (except for the year of his stroke when Regis Philbin filled-in) that I wasn't in front of the TV, along with millions of others, watching him introduce the acts and countdown the minutes to the new year. And it was encouraging to see Clark looking and talking better during this last show, less than 4 months ago.

Obviously I don't remember the "American Bandstand" years, so my best memories of Clark, besides the New Year's Eve appearances, are of his work as host of the many versions of the "Pyramid" game show. Lately I've been watching those episodes again on Friday nights on GSN, after I get done writing my latest movie review. Clark was the perfect game show host - engaging, personable, fun, knowledgeable and involved. You believed that he cared about every contestant and wanted every one of them to win the big money. And I'm sure he did. Clark won 3 Daytime Emmys as Best Gaem Show Host during his time on "Pyramid". He deserves to be on the list of all-time great hosts, along with Regis, Bob Barker, Richard Dawson, Alex Trebek, Chuck Woolery and a few others.

Ryan Seacrest, who worked with Clark on "New Year's Rockin' Eve" since 2005, mentioned on "American Idol" Wednesday night that that show would not exist without "American Bandstand". And you could say the same thing about a lot of other shows. The music industry would not be the same and the overall world of TV would look a lot different without Dick Clark.

Clark only appeared in a few movies in his long entertainment career, the last being 2001's "Spy Kids", in which he played a small role as a nameless financier. But his Dick Clark Productions produced the Golden Globes for many years and Clark, himself often handled the backstage interviews with the winner.

He was a true broadcasting legend and will surely be missed, especially when Dec. 31 comes round again.

LCJ's 2012 Summer Movie Preview Pt. 1 Movie Review

The Summer Movie Season seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year. The first weekend in May is the kickoff this year with the highly-anticipated superhero action film "The Avengers". But Summer doesn't truly begin until June 20. So for the first part of this "Summer Movie Preview", I'm spotlighting the "Summer Blockbusters" that are opening in Spring, along with some predictions and analysis.

MAY

4 - "The Avengers" Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth. Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America and others come together to try to save the day. Looks like a good ol' fashioned fun action film. Preview Grade: B+; Opening Weekend Prediction: $145M; Total Gross Prediction: $330M

11 - "Dark Shadows" Starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Phfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter. Based on the 60's Soap Opera about a vampire; Depp and director Tim Burton's 8th collaboration. Hopefully funnier than the trailer, which is weak in story and laughs. PG: C; OWP: $45M; TGP: $120M

18 - "Battleship" Starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Rihanna. An adaptation of the Hasbro board game (in name only). Has a "Transformers" look. PG: C-; OWP: $70M; TGP: $190M

25 - "Men in Black 3" Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin. J goes back in time to 1969 where he meets a younger K (Brolin), and guess what? - There's another alien invasion! PG: C; OWP: $80M; TGP: $220M

25 - "Moonrise Kingdom" Starring Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton. Director Wes Anderson ("Fantastic Mr. Fox") presents his latest dramedy with an A-list cast. PG: B; OWP: $1-$2M; TGP: $20M

JUNE

1 - "Snow White and the Huntsman" Starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth. The much darker "Snow White" film. PG: C+; OWP: $65M; TGP: $175M

8 - "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" Starring the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer. The zoo animals are still trying to get back home and this time end up in a travelling circus. PG: B; OWP: $75M; TGP: $205M

15 - "Rock of Ages" Starring Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Jullianne Hough. The adaptation of the broadway musical featuring classic heavy medal songs and an all-star cast. PG: C+; OWP: $50M; TGP: $150M

Simpsons in Oregon & Hanks as Disney Movie Review

The creator of "The Simpsons" Matt Groening has finally revealed (to Smithsonian Magazine), after 25 years of keeping it a secret, that The Simpsons live in Springfield...Oregon.

He says "Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show “Father Knows Best” took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown."

When later asked about never admitting this to anyone before he said "I don’t want to ruin it for people, you know? Whenever people say it’s Springfield, Ohio, or Springfield, Massachusetts, or Springfield, wherever, I always go, “Yup, that’s right.”

Well, the secret's out now. Interestingly in "The Simpsons Movie", Ned Flanders shows Bart the four states that border Springfield: Ohio, Nevada, Maine and Kentucky. Yet the real inspirational location is in fact "outside" that border. You can read the entire interview at smithsonianmag.com and in May's Smithsonian Mag. issue.

In movie news: Tom Hanks is in talks to play Walt Disney himself in "Saving Mr. Banks". This upcoming Disney film will tell the story of how Walt struggled to get the rights to "Mary Poppins" back in the 1950's and 60's from author P.L. Travers. According to Variety, Disney hopes Emma Thompson will play Travers. Ironically, she played a similar character to Mary Poppins - Nanny McPhee - in two movies.

This movie should appeal to Disney fans, older audiences (and critics) if it's done well, but I'm not sure if the story will appeal to a younger audience. Nothing,s been confirmed, but it looks like the project will happen since a screenwriter and director have been named.

 A

So a compromise has been reached between The Weinstein Company and the MPAA. "Bully"'s rating has officially been changed to PG-13, meaning teenagers will be able to see the movie in theaters without an adult and schools will be able to show it to students.

Obviously I am happy that this very important documentary will now be seen by the people (kids) who need to see it the most. However I am not happy that the filmmakers had to edit the film to get the rating changed. When I spoke to director Lee Hirsch a few weeks ago in the middle of the ratings controversy, he told me he hoped he wouldn't have to cut anything from the film. But Hirsch seems o.k. with having to take out three uses of the "F-word" in order to get the 'PG-13' the studio and hundreds of thousands of supporters of "Bully" were looking for.

Personally, I wish the words stayed in. It's feels like the MPAA won. And they won by bullying everyone involved with the film until they gave in. I'm sure that's not the example the filmmakers wanted to send, but since the result is that millions more will now get to see the movie, and this could help end the serious problem of bullying in schools, then I guess there are no losers in this fight.

But I hope all of this attention on the MPAA during this "Bully" battle will force people to look at the ratings association and force it to make some changes on the way it does things.

 

More Envelopes than a Hallmark Store Movie Review

Awards season is supposed to be over, but you wouldn't know it from this past weekend. The 25th Kids Chioice Awards were "slime-tacular" on Saturday night, the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Razzie Awards were presented on Sunday and, personally, I attended (and presented) at the 55th annual NY Emmy Award Sunday night. Here are some thoughts on all four:

- Not shocked by "Puss in Boots" win (for Favorite Animated Film), disappointed by "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" win for Favorite Movie and pleasantly surprised by Katy Perry's win for Best Voice in an Animated Film ("Smurfette" in "The Smurfs"). I really must be getting old because I used to be able to nail most of the picks every year. Silly me for picking "Harry Potter 7.2" over the worst (and hopefully last) Chipmunk movie.

And I don't even want to discuss the winners for TV. Who are these people?

- As for The Razzies - yes it was a record-setting night for Adam Sandler and "Jack and Jill". And yes, I enjoyed the movie and still stand by that. After attending The Razzies last year (the night before the Oscars), the folks behind the mock-award show need to come-up with some new ideas to get it back in the spotlight. April 1st is simply too late to be talking about 2011 movies - even if you're just making fun of them.

- Finally, the NY Emmys were outstanding. I got to be a presenter for the first time which was an honor (and very exciting) and I was nominated again (but didn't win). Plenty of celebrities on hand and colleagues from all over metro NY and throughout the state. And the goodie bags are tremendous!

(Oh, and Taylor Swift is the Entertainer of the Year again in country music. Get used to that).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's rare that a relatively small film makes the kind of headlines that "Bully" has - well before the movie's officially release date. The combination of a very important subject and the rating controversy has made Director Lee Hirsch's documentary on the problem of bullying in Amercian school a hot topic for weeks.

I recently spoke with Hirsch about the movie - "Bully" Director Lee Hirsch Interview - the decisions he made, the surprises he experienced and what he'd like people to take away from the film.

The movie will finally be released on March 30 (in five theaters) and then go wide around the country throughout April, even with the decision by the Weinstein Company to release "Bully" without a rating, rejecting the R-rating it was given by the MPAA.

 

 

 

 

 

"The Hunger Games" huge $155 million opening weekend is the third-highest opening of all-time, right behind "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" ($169.2M) and "The Dark Knight" ($158.4M). The movie shattered expectations and predictions (including mine). Here are some other accomplishemnts and records it has broken:

 - Highest opening weekend for a non-WB film

 - Highest opening weekend for a Lionsgate film

 - Highest opening weekend for a non-sequel

 - Top Spring opening

 - Biggest March opening (beating "Alice in Wonderland")

 - Already the highest grossing Lionsgate movie of all-time (beating "Farenheit 9/11")

 - Second biggest Saturday of all-time (barely behind "Spider-Man 3")

Will "The Hunger Games" have the legs to beat "Wrath of the Titans" next weekend? Absolutely. Even though "Clash of the Titans" opened with $60M+ two years ago, I'm saying "Hunger" will still win next weekend - $65M to $48M.

It's pretty amazing to have these box office battles in March. After a down 2011, Hollywood is off to a flying start this year, with several more HUGE blockbusters right around the corner.

 

 

Hungry, Hungry Weekend Movie Review

Let "The Games" begin!

"The Hunger Games" is set to open on Friday - but already the film is setting box office records:

- 15th largest # of theaters (over 4,000) for an opening.

- Largest pre-sale for a non-sequel in movie history

With over 2000 screening already sold out (as of Wednesday night), estimates have the film making $140M for the weekend, which will begin with midnight showings all over the country. But not only that, most IMAX theaters are following their 12AM shows with 3AM shows. Yes, 3AM! And the movie is 2:20 long, meaning a lot of Denny's restaurants will be serving a lot of early breakfasts to a lot of "hungry Hunger" moviegoers Friday morning.

My Box Office prediction for "The Hunger Games": $135M, which would be twice what the original "Twilight" made in it's opening weekend. That's an amazing number. I haven't read the book and am trying to avoid all the coverage of the build-up so that I can go into the theater knowing as little about the story as possible. It's going to be very tough for the film to live-up to the hype.

I Ask Again - Where's the Originality? Movie Review

I've been writing this for years, (so you can accuse me of not being original) but the problem isn't getting any better: Where are all the original ideas among Hollywood movie studios? Just look at this past year's Best Picture Oscar nominees: 6 of them were based on novels (including "War Horse", which is also a play). Only three were based on original stories.

The Top 9 Movies of 2011 at the box office were all sequels, and #10 ("Thor") was an adaptation of a comic book. The highest-grossing legitimate "original" movie from 2011 was "Bridesmaids", which finished at #14.

And 2012 is shaping-up as more of the same: "21 Jump Street" is in theaters now and "The Hunger Games" will dominate starting next Friday. Still to come in the next few months are "Wrath of the Titans", "Titanic 3D" another "American Pie" movie and "The Three Stooges". There are only a few films I'm actually looking forward to this Summer that are based on new ideas. They include the animated "Brave", the Will Ferrell/Zach Galifinakis political-satire comedy "The Campaign", and Disney's "The Odd Life of Timothy Green".

The rest include "The Avengers", "The Expendables 2", a "Bourne" without Bourne, a "Men in Black" without a script, another "Wimpy Kid", a fourth "Step Up", a much bigger version of "Battleship", and the end of Batman (yeah, right) .

As for the immediate future - sadly it also looks grim. Recently, Universal has announced a 3D re-release of "Jurassic Park" and (because of the success of "The Lorax") a CGI animated version of "The Cat in the Hat" (the Mike Myers live-action film is only 9 years old).

Why are the studio relying on sequels, re-releases, remakes, reboots, adaptations of books, comic books, TV shows, Broadway shows, Snow White, and board games? MONEY, of course. Fresh content and critical acclaim don't matter to studio execs. All they care about is the opening weekend box office totals. If a movie makes a lot of money, they have a "hit". And the easiest way for that to happen (they believe) is to give the public a new version of an old, familiar product. And come Monday or Tuesday morning following that first big weekend they're ready to greenlight a sequel.

But animation could come to the rescue this year with a good group of original projects. Yes, there are "Madagascar" and "Ice Age" sequels coming-out, but there's also Aardman's "The Pirates! Band of Misfits", Pixar's "Brave", Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph", DreamWorks' "Rise of the Guardians", and a trio of Horror-themed films (Focus Feature's "ParaNorman", Sony's "Hotel Transylvania" and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie", which is a remake, but of his own movie).

And when I think of the some of the best animated films of recent years, movies such as "Despicable Me" and "Arthur Christmas" immediately come to mind. And what do they all have in common? Originality! 

Will this copycat trend ever come to an end? Not completely. But it would be great if studio, writers and director of live-action films need to start delivering some new, original content...and fast, because frankly, it's getting boring.

I've gotten to see the new documentary, "Bully" (opening March 30th). The film is getting a lot of attention for two reasons:

1) It focuses on the important topic of bullying in schools and communities around the country.

2) It's been given an 'R' rating by the MPAA for "some language", and the 'R' rating will limit the chance of those under 17, the main group of people who should see the movie, to see the movie.

The filmmakers, those who funded and participated in the movie and The Weimstein Company, the studio behind the film, are all fighting to get the MPAA to change it's rating of "Bully" to PG-13. And some individuals are doing their part as well:

17-year-old Katy Butler, a Michigan high school student and victim of bullying, collected over 200,000 signatures on as petition and brought the forms to MPAA headquarters in LA. Officials welcomed her and her mother and spoke with them about the movie, but still haven't changed the rating. The MPAA is also holding a special screening of "Bully" and will discuss the issue with the public afterwards, but there are no promises that anything will change.

The reason for the 'R' is a few adult words, mostly at the beginning of the film. And the MPAA has told writer/director Lee Hirsch that if those word are taken out, the rating would be switch to 'PG-13'. Hirsch is refusing to change his film and he's making the right decision. No filmmaker should ever be forced to edit/make changes to get a rating for a film, especially a documentary.

But that's a separate issue. The main problem her is that the MPAA is over-reacting to these words and, because of that, preventing "Bully" from being able to make a difference in the on-going fight to end bullying and prevent the tragedies that we see in the film.

The reasoning of the MPAA officials is foolish. Every kid around who's older than 8 and had attended school has heard these few "swear words". And hearing them being used by bullies against their victims in the film only strengthens the point of the movie even more. It shows the verbal violence that bullies often use along with physical violence. And how the combination can be devastating to innocent kids.

Censoring is not the answer, as it would lessen the impact of the film. And preventing kids from seeing this important movie also is not the answer.

I've disagreed with some MPAA decisions in the past. It seems if there's a little nudity or sex, the film will almost certainly get an R, but if there's tons of violence, a film can still be rated PG-13. It's frustrating that the MPAA doesn't understand the context or reasoning behind why the language used in "Bully" has to stay in the final product.

It would be great if parents everywhere took their kids to see "Bully", even if it remains 'R', but we know that's not going to happen. I'd like to see the film screened in schools around the country, but the 'R' rating will make that very difficult.

I applaud everyone who's fighting the MPAA and will be happy to lend whatever support I can to the cause. But no matter what happens, plan to see "Bully" when it comes to theaters on March 30th. And bring your children. It could be the most important movie you see all year.

A Sequels Update. A Sequels Update. Movie Review

News of the sequel front:

- "Journey 3" is already in the works. New Line Cinema announcing that the third installment in the series will come-out in 2014. The story will center around the Jules Verne book From the Earth to the Moon, which appears in the final scene of "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island." Both Josh Hutcherson and Dwayne Johnson are "absolutely" returning for the film, according to Producer Beau Flynn. "Journey 2" has already outgrossed the original - "Journey to the Center of the Earth" - worldwide, and will pass the $275M mark this week.

- However, the next Muppets movie will apparently not have Jason Segal attached to it. The actor, who starred and co-wrote "The Muppets", says he's turning down the opportunity to work on the sequel.

"My goal was to bring 'The Muppets' back and I feel like we did it. I just felt that I did what I set out to do", Segal told The Hollywood Reporter.

"The Muppets" made a somewhat disappointing $88M at the box office but should do very well on Blu-ray/DVD.

March DVD Guide Movie Review

The two busiest times for DVD releases are the holidays and...March. You may think that's a little strange, but this is the month that the studios release all their big holiday movies, the Oscar eligibles and with a few others on DVD. That is the case again this year. Here are all your options for at-home viewing in March (the funny, the fantastic and the flat-out awful) along with my full reviews:

6 - Jack and Jill (PG) B

      Footloose (PG-13) C+

13 - The Descendants (R) B+

         My Week with Marilyn (R) B

         The Adventures of Tintin (PG) C+

         Happy Feet Two (PG) D

         The Three Musketeers (PG-13) F

20 - The Muppets (PG) B+

23 - Hop (PG) C

27 - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (PG-13) B+

        Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G) D

 

I'm Ready...I'm Ready...for

Last summer, when I interviewed him before the release of "Winnie the Pooh", Tom Kenny mentioned that there were discussions underway about the making of another SpongeBob SquarePants movie. Happily those discussions have turned into plans, with the announcement that there will be a "SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2", scheduled to be released in late 2014.

The original "SBSP" film made over $85 million dollars in the U.S. and is considered a classic among fans of the Nick cartoon, including yours truly. The new movie will be the first made by Paramount Pictures new animation division. Paramount is breaking ties with DreamWorks Animation, who they worked with for the first SpongeBob movie. Paramount just won an Oscar for "Rango", their first fully-owned CGI film.

No word yet on a plot for "The SBSP Movie 2" and it really doesn't matter. As long as the same writers and voice actors that work on the TV show (and did the first film) are on board the movie will be fantastic and should gross well-over $100-million, since SpongeBob and the show are so much more popular now than they were back in 2004.

It will be tough to top the first film, including the memorable David Hasselhoff cameo ("HORRAY!"), but I'm sure they will.

An Academy Awards to Remember Movie Review

What a Night! The 84th annual Academy Awards were full of laughs and surprises:

- Billy Crystal was great with hilarious one-liners, including re-naming the Kodak Theatre the "Chapter 11 Theatre" and the "Your Name Here" theatre; His musical number was good but the music overpowered him; He will return next year

- "The Artist" is the first film to win Best Picture that was also my favorite film of the year ("Toy Story 3" had a shot last year); the film's director - Michel Hazanavicius takes home Best Director

- Jean Dujardin beats George Clooney for Best Actor - not a huge surprise, and the vote had to be close

- The Biggest surprise (but maybe the win I'm most happy about) - Meryl Streep for Best Actress for her fantastic performance in "The Iron Lady"; this is her first win in 30 years, and is definitely well-deserved

- The speeches were rather short, and so was the telecast, at just over 3 hours

- Fred Willard was very funny in the "Wizard of Oz" test screening bit from director Christopher Guest

- "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" wins for Best Editing, but wasn't one of the NINE Best Picture nominees. Rather odd.

- Kermit and Miss Piggy didn't present an actual award; instead they introduced the Cirque show; Glad "The Muppets" song won.

- The Best Presenter award goes to Chris Rock for his hysterical comments on voicing an animated character; He'll be back in his role as Marty the Zebra in June's "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"

- "Hugo" over "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" for Visual Effects?!

On a side note, I want to thank a fellow critic of mine for giving me the exact pronounciations for the stars and director of "The Artist".  And I need to congratulate my cousin for predicting the Animated Short film winner for the second year in a row ("The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"). I've gotten this category wrong the past two years. That was my mini-acceptance speech, even though I didn't win anything. I got 12 of the 24 categories right this year - a little less than usual. But there's always next year!

LCJ's Oscar Predictions Movie Review

Here are my predictions for this Sunday's Academy Awards. All 24. "The Artist" will win the night with 6 statues, while "Hugo" will win only 2.

Best Picture - "The Artist"
Best Actor - George Clooney - "The Descendants"
Best Actress - Viola Davis - "The Help"
Best Supporting Actor - Christopher Plummer - "Beginners"
Best Supporting Actress - Octavia Spencer - "The Help"
Best Director - Michel Hazanavicius - "The Artist"
Best Animated Feature - "Rango"
Best Documentary Feature - "Pina"
Best Foreign Language Film - "A Separation"
Best Original Screenplay - Woody Allen - "Midnight in Paris"
Best Adapted Screenplay - Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; story by Stan Chervin - "Moneyball"
Best Animated Short Film - "La Luna"
Best Live-Action Short Film - "Time Freak"
Best Documentary Short Film - "God is the Bigger Elvis"
Best Visual Effects - "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Best Cinematography - "The Artist"
Best Art Direction - "The Artist"
Best Makeup - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2"
Best Costume Design - "The Artist"
Best Film Editing - "The Descendants"
Best Sound Editing - "Hugo"
Best Sound Mixing - "Hugo"
Best Original Score - "The Artist”
Best Original Song - "Man or Muppet" - Music and Lyrics by Bret McKenzie - "The Muppets"

Billy Crystal will be fantastic, and the show will end at approx. 11:53 pm ET


BONUS BLOG:

Best Picture Nominees A-F

The Artist - A

The Descendants - B+

The Help - B+

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - B+

Midnight in Paris - B

War Horse - B-

Moneyball - C+

The Tree of Life - C+

Hugo - C


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