Monday, February 28, 2011

King’s Speech Win Echoes Dances with Wolves

Throughout the past few weeks, several critics have been making a very drastic comparison between this year’s Best Picture race and one from years past.

Veteran Oscar handicappers said that when/if The King’s Speech bested The Social Network for Oscar’s biggest prize, it would be similar to when How Green Was My Valley, a very decent, very well-produced film, beat Citizen Kane, a very brilliant, wholly game changing film, in 1941.

Well, that’s a bit drastic.

Best Picture
It isn’t fair to say that when The King’s Speech won Best Picture yesterday evening, it beat out a film that will forever change the way most all other movies are made.  The Social Network is a great film, an ingenious one on many levels.  The King’s Speech simply catered to the majority of Oscar voters’ tastes, and it comes as no surprise that it won.

As much as I enjoyed The Social Network, with its caffeinated editing, red hot dialogue, revelatory music, fluid camera work and foreboding acting, it is not, in any way, Citizen Kane.

Instead, I believe a far more apt comparison to this year’s Best Picture race can be made to the 1990 Academy Awards, when Dances with Wolves, and its director Kevin Costner, beat Martin Scorsese and his film Goodfellas.

Again, Dances with Wolves, with its epic scope, sagging running time, and love-conquers-all mentality, was far more accessible to most voters than Scorsese’s ultra-violent, coke-infused Mafia madhouse.
But, as I posted on my Facebook wall mere seconds after Steven Spielberg announced The King’s Speech as the winner: be honest, when was the last time you actually watched Dances with Wolves?

I believe I’ve seen it all the way through one time… in high school, probably on one of those final days before winter break.  On the other end, I’ve probably seen Goodfellas 20 times (at least). 

Goodfellas is a masterpiece, one of the best films to be released in the past two decades.  Dances with Wolves is, well…who cares.

In short, I firmly believe that 20 years from now, film goers will still be quoting The Social Network, filmmakers will still be stealing from it, and Oscar watchers will still be scratching their heads going: The King’s Speech?  Really?

Best Director
I was actually genuinely surprised that Tom Hooper beat out David Fincher here.  My jaw wasn’t dropped or anything, but it just seems so grossly inadequate.  Oh well.

The Acting Awards
If you look at my previous posts, I predicted that Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo would all win, so, no big shockers here.

The best speech?  That’s two fold.  Leo dropping the F-bomb was great, but Bale making fun of himself for “dropping the F-bomb too much recently” was brilliant.

Everything Else
I love the Oscars, and I will watch every minute of every show every year.  And while I appreciated that the show was a tab bit shorter this year, the whole ceremony was kind of blah.  People have been giving Ricky Gervais so much shit for his Golden Globes hosting duties, but that was a month and a half ago.  I seriously doubt that anyone will still be talking about Anne Hathaway’s giddiness (or James Franco’s perpetually baked demeanor) two weeks from now.

On to next year.  The Tree of Life, for the win.

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