HOLLYWOOD – The word spread quickly: first a murmur, then a whisper, evolving to muted conversation, then louder talking and now shouting from the roof tops, the Kevin James ‘comedy’ Here Comes the Boom is a shoe-in for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor nominations at the Academy Awards – or ‘Oscars’ as they prefer to be known – early next year.

Director Frank Coraci is a name listed alongside Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin as the kind of visionary maverick yet to be recognised by the Academy. Coraci first made a splash with The Wedding Singer  in 1998, a film which led Roger Ebert to dub Coraci the ‘American Tarkovsky’. It came as a huge shock when The Wedding Singer didn’t receive a single nomination and James Cameron’s Titanic  went on to win. Many believed a conspiracy might be afoot, when The Waterboy – unbelievably made the same year and also starring Adam Sandler – also drew blanks. Almost a decade later, Frank again working with Sandler – ‘my DeNiro’ – on Click a film the New York Times said ‘rivalled Fellini at his best’ would only get a nod for Best Achievement in Make Up, which roughly translates as: Fuck You, Frank. Coraci changed tack, employing Kevin James in Zookeeper but alas with no luck on the awards front.

Things however are about to change with Here Comes the Boom, a film about a slob of a teacher who tries to raise money for his school by participating in Mixed Martial Arts fighting competitions. The buzz is that Coraci and James have created something ‘which is light years away from anything being done right now in American cinema’, Anthony Lane The New Yorker. Talk is that not only will statuettes be assured for Kevin James and Frank Coraci, but also Salma Hayek has pulled off a career best performance as a woman.