Saturday, February 26, 2011

The King's Speech: Momentum is Everything

Leaving Las Vegas yesterday, on a bright sunny day, I was happy, because I had enjoyed three days of pure restorativesunshine - and sunshine is what I went to Las Vegas for in the first place.

The weather forecast had been ominous for days: it would be cloudy, cold, rainy or even snow on our chosen dates.

Luckily bad weather held off. The gray stuff has arrived in time for this weekend. LA is predicted to get record cold, rain and maybe snow?? just in time for the Oscars.

I caught a bug on the plane or in the casino, so I'm in bed reading the Oscar (ah, Academy Awards, copyright :) articles, especially in the Guardian that are going berzerker over the King's Speech.

That 'little' British movie may take the prize of best picture over Social Network. Many are predicting this anyway. The movie has momentum. The Social Network, released aeons ago, does not.

Many reviewers think that this is something of a travesty. Most tend to believe Colin Firth deserves best actor (and since he missed out last year for a Single Man which hardly anyone watched but 'everyone' admired) and since he's hit the jackpot in the awards season leading up to the 2011 Oscars, is there any doubt he'll climb the stairs to the dais (employing his trademark elegant gait) to pick up his first best actor award? I mean if he doesn't slip in the snow and conk his head earlier on Sunday.

But these critics I'm talking about claim the Social Network is better cinema and more likely to go down in film history as the more memorable and meaningful film.

Both the King's Speech and The Social Network, these critics say, are examples of marvelous storytelling, which is what movies are meant to be about, but the King's Speech is old-fashioned cinema.

The Social Network, they believe, is a story for our time. (And they point to the big mess in the Middle East as proof.)

And I can see their point. Very clearly. But being older I prefer that the King's Speech win best picture.

I would have gone to see that movie even if it had spent 2 days in the cinema. My great aunts, born in 1880s and coming of age in the Nickelodeon era, would have liked this movie, too, and just the way it is. (No sex, no violence and frankly, they had first hand experience of the abdication and cut out newspaper stories which they left behind in a trunk.)

But that's not why I think the film The King's Speech deserves Best Picture. Because it's accessible...

And it's not for the superb acting, either. What British film or BBC afternoon play for that matter DOESN'T have good acting? And Colin Firth is expert at playing decent men struggling with a problem. Darcy...George Falconer..etc...

The King's Speech deserves the Oscar because the movie was made on a shoestring. 15 million if we are being told the truth.

The reason why there aren't many great movies this year (and attendance is at a record low) is because many movie projects, including some of Colin Firth's, were cancelled with the last economic downturn. That's what I assume, anyway, when they disappeared from IMDB.

Now, the movie money people tend to believe what gamblers believe, that you have to gamble a lot to make a lot. So we have Cameron's Avatar and plenty of high tech movies that lost a lot of money and a few, like the incomprehensible (to old-fashioned old female fart me) Inception that made a tonne.

Special effect movies like the Tourist, with AAAA list stars can tank, as we all know,not that we feel too sorry for the A list stars.

I want the King's Speech to be crowned best film of 2011 (despite the unabashed promotion and unfettered attempt to wine and dine the Academy voters. I mean, Weinstein admitted it!) because I feel this might inspire mainstream filmmakers to get down to basics and make good simple watchable movies to entertain me. I'm selfish. The young can have their video games.

This King's Speech proves that you don't have to sacrifice production values when making a 'little' film. And you may make money too.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to see all the svelte/emaciated/anorexic starlets and stars on the red carpet, sashaying around in silks and chiffons, covered in goosebumps or wearing, oops, dare I say it FUR, which is good for the environment and the financial health of empoverished aboriginals, but don't tell them.