Academy Awards winners, 2011

So this my usual post about Oscar winners this year. Be warned that this year’s results kind of pissed me off.  Last year’s post is here.

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

So yes, this was expected, The King’s Speech won this one, congrats. Except this really bothers me. To me, it was a really good film. But a great one? That’s bound to be remembered and discussed for hours and rediscovered with every viewing? I don’t think so.
I’ve long declared my love for the Social Network as the superior film, which it really is. The Academy’s made mistakes before, I still haven’t forgotten the 2006 Oscars and never will. Everyone knows the King’s Speech will not stand the test of time the way the Social Network will. It’s all very well to portray a man overcoming obstacles in order to fulfill his destiny -a beautiful and poignant theme for sure; but it’s a different thing to portray a whole generation’s hopes and ambitions and greed and hunger for something more. It’s also the whole creativity/creation aspect of it that makes the film so fascinating. It’s the idea that anything’s possible, one that’s only possible in our times. And how far can one go to protect that? It’s all these questions reflected against the backdrop of questionable ethics and eventually, the demise of that friendship that was ultimately sacrificed for a greater cause, or perhaps not. I read all that into the Social Network, and much, much more. The first time I saw it, I wasn’t all even that interested in it. The film was okay, if not a little bit cold, perhaps too detached. But then I saw it again, and that was that. The King’s Speech, for all its beautiful characterisation and clever banter, could never have achieved what the Social Network did with its characters, which was to infuse them with such layers that they would feel real, in their good but also uglier aspects.
Also, regarding the prizes the film has won this season compared to the ones won by the King’s Speech, it’s all pretty clear that it came down to critics v. industry; and the Academy being formed of several guilds which had favoured the King’s Speech, it made sense that it won the big prize tonight. And so this will go down Oscar history as yet another Harvey Weinstein victory (the subject of a fascinating Vanity Fair piece), and yet another Oscar campaign perfectly orchestrated… which is a real shame.
Update: according to Dana Brunetti (head producer of the Social Network) Harvey Weinstein himself admitted to the Social Network being the better movie, cf. this Twitter update. How does this make sense, I ask you.

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