Gurus o’ Gold: Has Anything Changed This Week?

Last Week’s Best Picture ChartThe Last Vote On All Categories

Rank Last Chart Has Anything Changed In The Last Week? AppeloBreznicanEllwoodHammondHernandezHowellKargerLevyOlsenPolandPondStoneTapleyThompsonWloszczyna Votes Total
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One Vote Wonders
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Peter Howell – “Yes. The one thing I think has changed significantly is that everyone, apart from diehards who are yielding to emotion rather than logic, now concedes that The King’s Speech is a mortal lock for Best Picture. It’s a big change from the volatility of last year, when there was a tough two-way race between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Even last week, there were still people seriously talking of a Social Network upset. But it’s not in the cards. Too bad, because coronations are boring.”

Sasha Stone (No) – “The Best Picture race has not changed. What has changed is that the few of us who actually thought a film like The Social Network could ever win on merit and critical acclaim alone were forced to acknowledge what the Gurus of Gold knew all along: that The King’s Speech started the race as the frontrunner and it will end the race as the winner. It’s worth noting that there has never been such a divide between the film critics and the industry. True, there are more critics awards now, but there are also more guild awards than there were decades ago. The PGA and the SAG are relatively new compared to the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles and New York Film Critics and the Golden Globe.

Only three films since 1975 have won all four: Schindler’s List, Terms of Endearment and The Social Network. Needless to say, two out of three will have won Best Picture.

“Critics don’t vote for the Oscars.” No, they don’t. But one cannot help but be somewhat astonished nonetheless.

It wasn’t a misreading of the race to see The Social Network as a film that could win. Only a cynic imagines an Oscar race that is as by-the-numbers as this one turned out to be. An optimist can’t help but hope that the Academy would honor not just a good film, but a film that is better than the other nine. Better is a matter of opinion, of course, and therein the cynicism lies.

The only other thing that changed is that the question now becomes not “Will the King’s Speech win” but “just how many Oscars will the King’s Speech win?” Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter could both upset the favorites in those categories.”

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10 Responses to “Gurus o’ Gold: Has Anything Changed This Week?”

  1. Bob Burns says:

    Unearned Oscars are curses that outlive their recipients.

  2. movielocke says:

    The critical group think was never about SN being the end-all-be-all of movies and the epitome of modern filmmaking or even OMG-its-like-sooooo-arty-like. The critical group think supporting SN in unprecedented lockstep is because humans are by and large herd animals, who are comforted by herd behavior. Whether or not that herd is the critics or the industry doesn’t really matter, both are ruled by herd behaviors.

    Consensus is desired, consensus is comforting, and consensus is what people desperately want–other people agreeing with them–validation.

    My hope is that after this year, the disgusting lockstep herd behavior demonstrated by the critics (which is an anomaly, and something I consider due to the success of the Hurt Locker the year before) will vanish and we’ll have a less monolithic CAPSLOCK insistence from the critical block on pushing their Rocky into the race (only to see it lose, as Rocky does).

    Last year, the stars aligned and critics managed to get the industry to watch the unwatched Hurt Locker, and the industry voted for the critics choice when the industry herd accepted hook-line-and-sinker the Reagan-esque, simplistic David versus Goliath narrative to rationalize the Hurt Locker vote. And it helped to have James Cameron actively campaigning for The Hurt Locker as well for the entire season, along with a historic opportunity to validate female directors. Do you really think, Sasha, that if Peter Weir had directed the Hurt Locker it would have been nominated for as many awards, much less won them?

    Of course the Social Network is a film that can win, there is absolutely nothing intrinsic within the film that prevents it from winning, similar films have won and lost throughout the history of the awards, as in any year, it’s all about the competition. And this year there is stronger and more diverse competition than a film like Social Network can thrive against.

    Actually, that reminds me, one of the things I’ve found most mindboggling about the CAPSLOCK consensus of Social Network is the insistence that all the characters are unlikeable. Huh? I found Eisenberg, Garfield and their crew all quite likeable, I found the twins and their lawyers and Sean Parker all delightfully unlikeable. But the main characters? They were fun, engaging, thumbing their nose at authority, living the american dream and changing the way the world interacts online in the process of building an empire. The best part of the film was how enjoyable the characters were! So why the insistence that we must describe them as unlikeable? Does it make the film more palatable to critical taste if the critics put them in the unlikeable box, such that it implies that only critics are clever enough to like a film with such _difficult_ characters? Pathetic.

    Part of the problems for critics this year, is that they kept using Social Network as a measuring stick for how smart and relevant they (the critics) are for ‘getting’ the ‘importance’ of such a ‘difficult’ film. But the critics never managed to persuade any audiences to really care about the film and characters, they only persuaded the audience that the critics felt they were smarter and superior to the audience, and the only people who fell in line with the critics were those who cared about feeling smarter and superior as well, and thus wanted to join the herd that was projecting, “I’m smarter than you all, cuz I have good taste, ha ha ha.”

  3. Charles Brown says:

    I concur with movielocke. The critics are mostly big city, pompous, wanna be, pseudo academics. Yes David Denby I am talking about you among others. Remember a few years back when the concensus critical choice was Sideways, a boring movie about a mediocre pseudo academic “whine” and cheese afficianado. The critics, who want us to think they are smarter than us, identify with the arrogance of Aaron Sorkin (who compares himself to Shakespeare). Oh- he’s one of us, we have to line up behind this movie. Social Network was a nice made for TV movie. I can watch it on my iphone and miss nothing. By way of comparison, I happened to rewatch one of my favorites, Barry Lyndon, this weekend. Try watching that incomparable masterpiece on your iphone. A good movie should have something unique to offer, not just phony liberal criticism of the business ethic. I go to a movie to be moved or affected in some way, not to stimulate my intellect (which, by the way, is likely higher than any critic). My favorite movie of last year was Machete. Now that moved me. Besides having a much more valid political message than Social Network, how can you not be moved by the elegant grace of the great Danny Trejo and (pardon me while I catch me breath) the anything of Jessica Alba. Jack D. Ripper

  4. cadavra says:

    Just saw SPEECH again last night (in a much better theatre) and liked it even more; little details I’d missed the first time (particularly in Carter’s performance) now stood out and glowed. With all due respect to SOCIAL, a tremendous achievement in its own right, SPEECH is a truly timeless masterpiece that really does deserve to win.

    Let me put it this way: SOCIAL is about privileged people flaunting their status; SPEECH is about privileged people struggling to overcome it. SOCIAL is a film people admire; SPEECH is a film people love. SOCIAL holds you at arm’s length; SPEECH wraps you in a warming embrace. And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is why it will win.

  5. Jerry says:

    I guess Mark Zuckerberg will have to settle for helping to trigger two or more revolutions in 2011 and not for inspiring a best picture Oscar.

  6. jake says:

    i saw the social network for the second time and appreciated it a lot more and think if it is between the kings speech and the social network — no question it should be the social network. I think the academy just likes simplicity. because inception is truly the best picture of the year and if they wanted emotion, they should go with the fighter. the kings speech is nothing but a glorified play, a good play, but in light of the other nominees, does not deserve best picture.

  7. Sasquatch says:

    If The King’s Speech is a glorified stage play, The Social Network is a glorified radio play. The King’s Speech will be a worthy winner. Maybe no one will care about it years from now, but everyone except the critics stopped caring about The Social Network as soon as they finished watching it.

  8. moviegoer says:

    As someone said..The Social nothing more than an overwritten blah blah fest and since it is written by one of Hollywood most known liberal it is no surprise that like minded people are gaga over it. The rest of us are content to have what seem like a glorified stage play “The King’s Speech” as our favorite film without even thinking about political persuasion. As Roger L. Simon says…even liberals know a superb production when they see one.

  9. cadavra says:

    What makes you think SPEECH isn’t “liberal?” A movie that shows the royal class has problems just like everyone else and how they can struggle to relate to commoners and eventually welcome their help? Hardly the stuff of conservatism.

  10. Proman says:

    Please, the pro-royalty sentiment and the complete whitewash of any questionable aspects of the actual people’s personality traits is the stuff of small government conservative dreams.