Crossposted at Film.com
If one more person types to me with a straight face that The King's Speech has the potential to upset The Social Network, I will scream and/or hit my coffee table with mild force. Because this is not going to happen. There is not the remotest chance of chances that this will happen.
And my opinion isn't totally worthless.
Last year, I said the same thing about Avatar when people started to say it was going to win. I said it pre nominations, I said it post nominations, I said STFU everyone, The Academy may be dumb sometimes, but not Avatar-is-Best-Picture dumb. And I maintain that now, here, in this Awards season, the Academy is still not that dumb. The Academy is not The-King's-Speech-Is-Best-Picture dumb. Or in a more accurate statement The Academy Is not The-Kings-Speech-Is-Best-Picture-Old Fashioned. Maybe in 1954. Maybe even in 2004. But not in 2011.
Now, don't get angry. If you loved The King's Speech, I am not aiming to insult you, it is definitely a good movie and has Emmy written all over it's delightful Masterpiece Theater-esque script, cinematography & direction. But the only, and I mean ONLY thing that elevates The King's Speech from good ol' PBS quality (other than the film grain...) are the performances, most specifically Colin Firth's, and he will be rewarded for it.
The idea that BRITISH AS HELL movie The King's Speech is poised to clean up at the BRITISH FILM AWARDS shouldn't surprise anyone or in any universe be considered as dictating the way the Oscars will go down. Does anyone understand how rare and beautiful a thing it is when an AMERICAN studio movie is as good, relevant, successful & well received on all levels as The Social Network is? Cinematical writer & film buff David Ehrlich will rarely consider an American studio picture as worthy of his top five, but The Social Network is his #2 (behind Certified Copy, technically a 2011 release.) I've heard arguments that the "people who overlap the voting bodies for the BAFTAs and the Oscars overlap more than the Globes and the Oscars, therefore..." But, ummm...was anyone arguing against that fact? Did anyone ever offer the argument that the Globes influence the Oscars because they share voting members? Didn't think so. My hair is SUCH a bird.
Not to mention, once you remove the BAFTA overlap, there are still thousands, yes THOUSANDS of AMPAS members remaining. The closest number anyone has been able to estimate in terms of overlap is roughly 1000. There are just under 6000 members of AMPAS. Plus, the BAFTAs are notorious for having an obvious and acceptable bias towards British film. Most importantly, in the past 11 years, the BAFTAs and the Oscars have only agreed on Best Picture four times. That's not even half. NOT EVEN HALF. OF THE TIME. LESS than HALF. You with me?
A conventional, safe British film about a 20th century king, consisting mostly of close-ups and sentiment is not going to win Best Picture in a year where its competition involves an astonishingly original science fiction movie, the return of the Western, a new & unconventional story about a new & unconventional family dynamic, a hallucinatory extravaganza set in the world of ballet - even The Fighter isn't the typical schmaltz-fest the trailers made us think it was. The best movies in 2010 were not Oscar bait bullshit, they've been original, innovative, creative, often times genre-bending, and in the case of The Social Network, perfectly scripted, acted, directed, edited and relevant. And in case you aren't convinced yet, I'll have an article up on this site few days explaining exactly why The Social Network deserves the win.
One thing I'll grant you - in such a predictable year, having something to root against is fun, it at least allows for a tiny bit of suspense come February 27th. But don't kid yourselves. The King's Speech doesn't ACTUALLY have a chance. And can we please take a moment to appreciate that fact? This is a good thing, guys. The Academy is getting a clue. The Social Network FTW!
Editor's Note: The King's Speech has since won the PGA, but the PGA only has a 65% overlap rate with the Oscars, and that is in years when its winner has won *other* awards. In this season, the PGA is the *only* award The King's Speech has received in the Best Picture category