Hello g33ks and m33ks, and the members of the Academy. Tonight the stars will come out and grace us with their presence on a major television network. We’ll watch them walk down the red carpet and ask them all, “who are you wearing”. Then we’ll sit with fevered anticipation to watch this group of people give themselves awards. With little exception the night will be predictable and the audience at home is likely to have seen less than four of the films that will win “Major” awards.
If I decide to watch tonight’s show live instead of on my DVR its probably for hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco. I expect there to be much singing and dancing, with Anne perhaps pulling Hugh Jackman on stage at some point to pay him back for pulling her on stage when he hosted. I also expect that two films will be in a tight dogfight all evening and while the Academy probably is looking to landslide The King’s Speech its possible in their fervor to all get behind one film some voters may have strayed off script and snuck in a vote or two for The Social Network.
I have watched and read about the inevitability of The King’s Speech winning Best Picture. Its so certain that industry pundits are already talking about its legacy, and how it came to win the award in a walk. Its being lauded as proof that the Academy only needed 5 nominees this year, an argument to which I wholeheartedly disagree, since nothing else really had a chance to defeat it anyway. The thought must be then that this runaway winner somehow won over the voters by bringing something new to the table but alas… The fact is it just fits the type of film the Academy feels should win, better than the other options.
Lets discuss the field of Best Picture nominees:
The Fighter – boxing film directed by supertool David O Russell and starring Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams and Christian Bale. Word is Bale will win best supporting in a surprise over Geoffrey Rush. This will be only one of two possible ‘Major Award’ losses for The King’s Speech.
Toy Story 3 – Pixar’s third film in the series that proves you can can outgrow toys but not your love for them. One of the most critically acclaimed films not only of this year, but all times. Should win Best Animated Feature but forget about the big award for the night.
The Kids Are Alright – Annette Benning, Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore in a film about two women who have been in a long term relationship dealing with their children’s previously unknown donor father coming into their lives. Benning is getting Best Actress buzz here but that’s more of a ‘Career Oscar’ better known as an ‘it was her time to win’ award. Portman should still win for Black Swan but Benning is a possibility.
Winter’s Bone – A story of a young girl trying to find her father to save her destitute family’s home. Taking place in the Ozark mountains this young woman faces down meth dealers and even her own family to try and bring her father home. This is a classic “honor to be nominated”.
127 Hours – A film by Danny Boyle. That should be enough for you right there. Every movie he makes is brilliant. Also, starring James Franco in the performance of his career. In another year this could be the winner and Franco may squeak the Best Actor prize but that’s highly doubtful.
True Grit – A remake of the classic western by The Coen Brothers with Jeff Bridges taking on the role of Rooster Cogburn made iconic by John Wayne. Haylee Steinfeld and Barry Pepper are the best part of this film. Haylee was an early Best Supporting Actress leader but word is she may lose to Melissa Leo in The Fighter.
The King’s Speech – Starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush and directed by Tom Hooper, this film is a bonafide Oscar monster. It is the defacto Best Picture winner. Any award nomination could become a win. Writing, Acting, Director; basically if you were a part of this film you should have your thank you list ready.
Black Swan – Starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel this twisted and beautiful decent into madness was directed by Darren Aronofsky. It has no chance of winning Best Picture and Mila Kunis was snubbed in Best Supporting Actress but Portman should have comfortable shoes because she’ll be walking to that podium pregnant. The only possible reason she’d lose is to Annette Benning.
Inception – Starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Marion Cottiard, Cillian Murphy and directed by Christopher Nolan. Unfortunately, this film is sci-fi and directed by a man who makes “comic book movies”. Even though this film is wholly original, features some of the best acting and directing all year and was a bonafide critical and commercial hit… I expect it to reel in empty in the “Major Awards”. Fans of this film are supposed to be happy its nominated and that’s all. If it’ll win anything, possible writing award but Technical Awards are all it can really hope for. “Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, etc.”
The Social Network – Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield with a script written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher. I heard someone say that the reason this film won’t win is the Academy votes with its heart and The Social Network has no heart. The idea that this movie about a man with no social skills creating the method through which most of the world interacts socially is brilliant. The dialogue, casting, direction and acting are of the highest caliber. Trent Reznor’s soundtrack is possibly only second to Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy score (huge Oscar snub) or Inception’s by Hans Zimmer. Fincher might win best director, but that’s unlikely as Hooper seems to be the predetermined winner here.
Of these films my top 3 were Inception, The Social Network and Black Swan. Swan is too focused on Portman’s performance for it to be Best Picture even though I wouldn’t argue if it won. This year’s Best Picture award should be a fight between Inception and The Social Network just like last year’s fight between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. (Do not take this as me suggesting that Avatar is in any way worthwhile as a best picture nominee… The Hurt Locker was the best film of the year by miles. Avatar was a visually stunning bad film.) If the Academy had given The Dark Knight a chance to fight it out with Slumdog Millionaire we wouldn’t have 10 best picture nominees, now either.
My biggest issue with The King’s Speech winning tonight is why it will win. It will win because its designed like a Best Picture. It has period costuming, its got accents, it takes place in a palace, someone overcomes a disability, its based on a well known public figure and a lesser known person who helped them, its a feel good drama, its funny without being a comedy. The idea that it features two excellent performers who carried a movie that could have been a total bore on their shoulders should be its main argument. Firth and Rush are AMAZING in this film but that’s just the acting. Tom Hooper did a decent job directing but not better than Aronofsky, Nolan, or Fincher. You want to tell me this script beats one written by Aaron Sorkin or Christopher Nolan?
Most g33ks in the world have given up on the Academy awards because of the predictability and self-serving nature of the show. I love films so much that I can’t let it go. I want the films of my time that define my time to win. The King’s Speech is going to get lost in all the other films just like it in 50 years. When my grandchildren are watching these awards I want them to know The Social Network, The Dark Knight and Inception, are some of the greatest films ever made. No one is asking the Academy to recognize Tron: Legacy or Iron Man 2; we understand that blockbusters aren’t always the best films. But just because he made 2 billion dollars of box office in the last 3 years is no reason to spite Nolan and Inception. Having no, “heart” is no reason to spite The Social Network and Fincher. Being too dark or focused on a singular performance is no reason to deny Aronofsky and Black Swan. I am not going to just be happy because they got nominated. I want to see the best work win the prize. Oh and ten guys in monkey masks accept Banksy’s award for Exit Through the Gift Shop.
– Mr. Khon