Friday, February 25, 2011

What Would It Mean If _____ Won Best Picture?

At this point the race has really come down to The King's Speech vs The Social Network to walk away with Best Picture come Oscar night. Or if you like to believe almost every prognosticator ever, just The King's Speech. But I refuse. REFUSE. Because at the end of the day, we don't really know what the Academy is going to do. Sure, they more often than not follow a particular formula, but they've also gone completely out of the box from time to time (Marcia Gay Harden, anyone?) so we decided to take a look at what it would mean should something more unexpected take the win Sunday night. A breakdown of what would it mean if each nominated picture won, in order of most likely to least likely.

The King's Speech - Same old same old. Traditional wins out over exciting or new. What I think this practically means is Academy members saw The Social Network months ago and saw The King's Speech most recently out of the nominated 10, as The Weinstein Company sent it well after every other screener had arrived. It warmed members' hearts, so they marked it on their ballot and sent it on its way. Timing is often everything when it comes to the Oscars. Also possible that The Social Network simply didn't hit them the way The King's Speech did and with the academy members' ages generally skewing older, it could be that TSN just didn't read to them, though I'm kind of offended by the idea that "age" = "unable to understand anything new," Andy Rooney. Mostly, should this happen, it means everyone sucks.

The Social Network - Ten nominees is working out! It means the riskier, more passionate choices actually have a shot winning over more old fashioned options. This may mean members took the time to re-watch The Social Network, re-fall in love with in and re-appreciate everything that's brilliant about it. Could also mean many voters decided to go with the objectively better film over the one that may have given them stomach fuzzies, but would be forgotten in years to come.  Most likely, this means anyone who *didn't* vote for The King's Speech or The Social Network for #1, ranked The Social Network higher than The King's Speech in their preferential ballot. Also, this means everyone rules.

The Fighter - Ah the beauty of low expectations! Here we have a movie very much marketed as one thing while it was in fact another. The anti-schmaltz sports story, it was dark, funny, brilliantly acted. It could have been such a delightful surprise to Academy members, that it ended up staying in the highest of regard come ballot time.

True Grit - Ah the beauty of beauty! Plus the Coen Brothers! The most gorgeously shot of the bunch, True Grit was quite the feat in that it was a classic Western in every way while simultaneously being distinctively Coen Brothers. And it is a legitimate star maker, introducing us to Hailee Steinfeld. A nice combination of beauty, heartfeltness, great filmmaking and humor, if True Grit wins, it means Academy members ignored what they were being told was the "old school favorite" and *actually* voted with their hearts. Because if we ARE taking age into consideration here, wouldn't members more likely be fans of the WESTERN, a classic AMERICAN genre, over a period piece like The King's Speech, when 3 Westerns have won Best Picture but a film centered around a British monarch never has? So if we're talking nostalgia/old fashioned, shouldn't that lie with the Western for the American voter?

Black Swan - Don't underestimate the power of the cray-cray . Only one horror film has ever won Best Picture, but it has happened. When executed well enough, it stands a chance, and Black Swan certainly fits that bill. If it wins, it means members decided to go with the movie that stuck with them the most, that got under their skin and affected them beyond the experience of just sitting & watching a movie. Or they just want to support lurid fantastical lesbian sex scenes. Which is just as valid a reason.

Inception - Similar to Black Swan in motivation, it would mean Inception stuck with members, changed the way they dreamed, was a source of discussion for weeks, and when it came time to mark the ballot, was the film that jumped out as having most transcended the common movie going experience. Inception winning over Black Swan means that science fiction has become a truly legitimate genre when it comes to Oscar films, it's what Silence of the Lambs did for Horror and Return of the King did for Fantasy. Will be really nice when this finally happens for Sci-Fi. Which, by the way, will not be this year. Just. You know. FYI. Sigh.

The Kids Are All Right - Everyone finally realized their political fallacy by choosing Crash over Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and decided to make up for it by selecting The Kids Are All Right for the win, which happens to be a much superior film to Brokeback anyway. Said it. Or, the real reason, since, believe it or not, personal beliefs actually *don't* play a role when selecting the best movie of the year, members think fondly on the warmth, originality, careful direction and stellar performances that came from such a small film that really says something about the here and now, and ultimately thought to let a true underdog upset.

Winter's Bone - There just aren't enough movies about backwoods meth addicts. Academy members want more. MOAR SQUIRREL GUTTING PLZ. OH AND METH, MOAR METH TOO K THX. Or members ended up going for the quiet, underdog nature of the truest indie of the bunch. Note: They didn't.

Toy Story 3 - Disney called in all of their favors and had too much hanging over too many people's heads for anyone to say no.

127 Hours - We've entered into an alternate universe where Fincher's Benjamin Button swept two years ago for and now it's Danny Boyle's "turn". Because that is the only possible explanation for 127 Hours winning Best Picture.