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>Oscars 2011: King Firth, politics and playing it safe

28 Feb

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As expected, Colin Firth was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for his commendable portrayal of King George in The King’s Speech. The movie itself won Best Picture, despite competition from such films as Black Swan, Inception and The Social Network (which had been hotly tipped to pip them to the post).

Natalie Portman lived up to expectation by winning Best Actress. For the best supporting statuettes the lucky ones were Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. No real surprises there, eh?

The Oscars is at times more politics than common sense. Inception, one of the most innovative films in recent cinema history, was probably released too soon to be a serious contender. Black Swan and The King’s Speech by comparison were released months later. Perfect for Oscar season. It gave them more time to build a proper hype and as the Oscars rarely take a chance (and let’s face it, Inception and Black Swan are too unusual and original to appeal to the old-fashioned Oscar voters), The King’s Speech was the obvious choice.

It ticked many of their popular boxes. Historical drama. Check. Biography. Check. Royalty. Check. Physical obstacle. Check. Best Actor starring in the film. Check.

It has become a bit of a tradition to have an overall favourite – a film they award the most Oscars. They never have a tie. That’d be like saying: ”We don’t know which movie was the best this year.” And we can’t have that, can we?

But I’m not complaining. I much preferred The King’s Speech to The Social Network. Upon watching a few interviews with its star, Jesse Eisenberg and the man on which his performance was based, I came to the conclusion that he did not portray Mark Zuckerberg. No, not at all. I saw not one similarity in their speech patterns or mannerisms. Jesse Eisenberg played a more clever, highly-quotable version of himself. And considering his performance was the most appealing thing about the whole movie, I’m glad it did not win Best Picture.

That being said, I wish the Academy would’ve surprised us by naming Inception best picture. It would’ve been most deserving but that has never been at the top of their list.