DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: Assessing the Social Network/King's Speech Battle

Saturday 19 February 2011

Assessing the Social Network/King's Speech Battle

So you have your Oscar pool voting sheet in front you and can't decide between The King's Speech and The Social Network? I've been thinking about it too.

After the string of Critics’s Awards at the end of 2010, The Social Network was the clear runaway leader in the Best Picture/Best Director race. Other categories such as actor, actress, supporting and all that jazz were still close, but the Fincher/Rudin/Sorkin dream team were flexing their muscle.

Now with Tom Hooper's rather surprising victory over David Fincher at the DGA Awards for Best Director, suddenly The King’s Speech has gained significant ground, and in some opinions might be the odds leader.

This opinion is not unfounded. I think we all know the track record of how the DGA Award has aligned with the Best Director and thus Best Picture Oscars in previous years. The 2000 Gladiator/Traffic year and the 2002 Chicago/Pianist year were the recent anomalies. As well, the Academy has had a history of chosing prestige older-skewing films over younger/edgier material. The 1990 Dances With Wolves triumph of Goodfellas for instance, the 1989 Driving Miss Daisy victory of Born on the Fourth of July, and the 1980 Ordinary People victory over Raging Bull.

These are travesties of justice, which cinephiles still take to heart. Dances With Wolves, Ordinary People and Driving Miss Daisy are all good movies, and maybe back in the day, seemed better movies that those others. But over the course of time their competitors have risen in prestige and timelessness, arguably above and beyond the Oscar victors.

I wholehearted believe this is such a case this year. I can see it now. The King’s Speech is a great movie, right? So is The Social Network? Doesn’t matter which wins right, because both are terrific films? But think 20 years from now, which film will we still be talking about? Which film will represent the zeitgeist of the times? I think this is painfully clear, and yet there may not be anything to do about it.

That said, in recent years, the tastes of Academy have skewed considerably more to the edge than ever before. Victories of the nihlistic No Country For Old Men and The Departed are two of the toughest films the Academy has ever voted as the top dog. So maybe the Academy will swing back to youthful The Social Network.

If Academy wants to even things out, Original Screenplay and Best Actor wins are assured for The King’s Speech, same with Sorkin’s screenplay for The Social Network. Other than the cinematography, music, editing type of awards, the only other high profile categories it has are Best Director and Best Picture.

My office pool vote is still undecided.. and what it will likely come down to, as it does every year, is who I think will win versus who I want to win. While it’s not Sophie’s Choice, it’s heartbreaking still the same.


Blair Stewart said...

Should be "The Social Network" for the Best Picture win, while "127 Hours", "Black Swan", "The Kids Are Alright" and "True Grit" (which I enjoyed) all don't belong in this category, minor works at best.
Oh, and "Inception" sucked.

*blows kisses at "Winter's Bone*

Anonymous said...

I would have voted for "INCEPTION", with "THE SOCIAL NETWORK" a close second.