Remember back in September when I called “The King’s Speech” one of the Oscar frontrunners, suggesting it could even win Best Picture? Most of the “Gurus o’ Gold” have it pegged to win today, the day of its United States release.
But clearly no one in the blogosphere was too excited about it back in September. To be honest, I’m only tepidly excited now as I think this looks like typical Oscar bait with nothing very new on the table.
In September, I wrote about Tom Hooper’s movie:
After the win at Toronto, it’s riding a sort of front-runner status (although “The Social Network” managed to steal some thunder after many rave reviews popped up). The People’s Choice Award certainly correlates more to the Oscars than the Venetian Golden Lion. They have picked three Best Picture winners – “Slumdog Millionaire,” “American Beauty,” and “Chariots of Fire” – and plenty more nominees including “Precious,” “Life is Beautiful,” and “Shine.” The award hasn’t been entirely effective in predicting Academy tastes, but it’s been very close in recent years. ”The King’s Speech” has to be considered a big contender, though, by virtue of winning.
… there’s a chance that “The King’s Speech” has had its moment in the sun. But there’s certainly nothing wrong with being at the top of the list for the moment, and many have speculated that Best Picture may come down to “old school Academy play versus a Gen-Y instant classic.” I’d say given the fact that it’s a light drama with an acceptable amount of bait, it’s a pretty good bet for Best Picture and thus Best Director.
Two months later, not much has changed in the race, and not much will unless “True Grit” arrives in a blaze of thunder. The poll I placed at the end of the post asked if “The King’s Speech” would win Best Picture, and it only received one vote saying “no.” Until the critics chime in with their take in December, I’m remaining on the side of “The Social Network” simply because it seems like the Oscars are going more “movie of the moment” with Best Picture than “movie of a moment” like they traditionally did.
For an interesting take on this development, I recommend you check out Nathaniel Rogers’ full post at The Film Experience elaborating on the trend. Here’s an excerpt:
” … even if a shift has occurred daring voters could still go for ‘The King’s Speech’ simply because it is a fine piece of filmmaking. Let’s not forget that Oscar bait and quality often coincide (see: ‘Quiz Show,’ ‘Milk’ and many more). Still current trends favor a ‘Social Network’ or - gasp – ‘Inception’ grabbing the top prize. It could happen. Even if a good chunk of the Academy digs in their heels and votes the safe choice, with the nominee pool expanded to ten the need for consensus has been drastically reduced. If ‘King’s Speech’ ends up checking every box on the Oscar wish list and still loses then this will go from being a trend to being a new reality.”