Some movies are symphonies. The Godfather comes to mind. Some movies are jazz. John Coltrane or Miles Davis. Goodfellas and Taxi Driver. Sometimes a movie is so quiet and intense it brings no music to mind. The Coen’s No Country for Old Men. David Fincher’s The Social Network? It’s Stairway to Heaven. It’s a film mapped out perfectly, with layers of rhythm, each added onto until it builds to a climax like no other. Like the band Led Zeppelin when they recorded Stairway to Heaven, every element is operating at a perfect 10. Here, the music — Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross cradling the film throughout, ever present, never overbearing, never intrusive or manipulative – full collaborators. That’s John Bonham on drums. Next you have the actors — Jessie Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg as king asshole (“Because you go to BU.”), with his upright spine and his perpetual, “I’m smarter than you” sneer. Contrast that with the vulnerable, sensitive human that is Andrew Garfield (“Sean, how old are they?”), the ridiculous showman that is Justin Timberlake (“Drop the THE. Just Facebook. It’s cleaner.”) and the foppish old-money Winklevei played perfectly times two by Armie Hammer. The actors? They’re John Paul Jones.


Of the four Oscars the film won, Aaron Sorkin’s screen adaptation was one of them. His script is tight, flawless, funny, prophetic, sad. Who knew what would become of our culture in the grip of social networking, Facebook above all — it has changed our culture. It is a mutation in our evolution. We must address and confront this from now on. You never say goodbye to people, they hover in your Facebook feed — an amalgam of your memory of them and the persona they’ve decided to show the world. Sorkin turned Mark Zuckerberg into the Wizard of Oz, giving the friendless friends, making the ugly beautiful, making the unpopular popular, turning stalking into normal social behavior. And the dialogue? If people were really paying attention, this would be the most quotable movie of the last twenty years. Sorkin? He’s Robert Plant.

Finally, there is one overriding vision that holds Stairway to Heaven together and it’s the one thing that makes The Social Network, working with all of the other elements, the masterpiece that it is. Director David Fincher? He’s Jimmy Page. Of course, working closely with Fincher were Oscar winning editors, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter. Fincher insisting again and again that they pare down and reshape the film to make it as lean as possible.  Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth’s deep browns, shifting light, faces in shadow. The result there is a perfect film. You can watch it over and over again, as I have done, and you will not find a single mistake. But The Social Network would not be the masterpiece that it is if it was just a perfect film, which it is.


Stairway to Heaven would be a boring song if all it did was built momentum to a climax with flawless collaborative masterwork. But the thrill of Stairway to Heaven, and the thrill of The Social Network, is where it takes you while watching it. You might not notice Jimmy Page’s guitar until the big solo but it is there throughout, masterfully holding the film together while the drums and Plant get all of the attention in the beginning.

But when Page starts in your heart stops. How could anyone play that good? How could anyone master the form so completely as to deliver what has to be among the most memorable guitar solos in rock history? It’s an inexplicable thing. Fincher’s eye controls The Social Network in the same way. We watch him tell this story with rhythm. By the end of it, you remember where it started and where it ended. This film sends you away with a bittersweet smile on your face as Mark Zuckerberg hits refresh and refresh and refresh. The song starts, “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?”

The entire film flips back on itself and you realize what it’s about, what social networking is about, what illusion and pretense, what shyness and vulnerability are about. The Social Network soars in its exactness but it never loses sight of how this little pisher, and the tech industry run by guys just like him, carefully exacted his revenge on a culture that rejected him. Is it the real Mark Zuckerberg? Why would anyone ask that question. It’s a work of art not a documentary.


The Social Network dazzled the critics and became the film to beat. It wasn’t until after the Golden Globes that The King’s Speech moved ahead in the race by winning the PGA, the DGA, and the Oscar for Picture and Director. No one was ready to let go of David Fincher winning what he deserved to win. I remember my fellow gurus shaking their head, no way. I did the math, built the charts and there was no way, heading into the race that Tom Hooper was going to lose either the DGA or the Oscar. It didn’t happen that way then. You didn’t have an agreed-upon split like as we saw last year in the post-Argo Oscar world. Once Ben Affleck was left off the ticket altogether, only then have voters seen fit to split, as they did last year. Were these two films headed for Oscar now, I bet Fincher would take it.

Then again, the heart wants what it wants and SOME MOVIES YOU FEEL.

The Social Network vs. The King’s Speech showdown reveals what the Oscars are really about. They aren’t rewarding Miss Right, but Miss Right Now — and they are all about perception. “No, we don’t want to award The Social Network because we didn’t like that guy. He was an asshole.” It didn’t matter if the Fincher/Sorkin Zuckerberg wasn’t an asshole, but just “trying really hard to be one.” When you had a stuttering King George overcoming that stutter with the help of Geoffrey Rush? Forget about it. It made people cry. It made their heart sing. More importantly, it flew under the radar and didn’t make itself a target. The film was won not with bloggers and critics but with private parties and handshakes.

Even now, though, you can talk to just about anyone and ask them if they liked that movie and they will all say yes. Best Picture isn’t about cinematic greatness. If it were, Vertigo and Citizen Kane would have won Best Picture. So would Raging Bull, Goodfellas, All the Presidents Men — the list goes on and on. In some ways the Oscar race is a short step up from the People’s Choice Awards and believe me, likability goes farther than genius with voters. Always has, always will.

It was a heartbreaking year, to be sure. But there is really no point in trashing The King’s Speech. Winning an Oscar wasn’t going to make The Social Network a better film. Winning the Oscar for the King’s Speech does tell a story about a year in the Oscar race where industry voters turned away from the right now and nestled comfortably into the past, a time we understood so much better, a time that didn’t poke at our tender spots but rather soothed them. The King’s Speech was a drastic shift from 2009’s winner, The Hurt Locker. It would be followed by The Artist’s win, and then Argo — each a comfortable, comforting versions of our past, marinating in nostalgia. That’s the industry for you.

It is going to take a few years for the critics and bloggers to abandon what it felt like to put all of their might behind a film and that effort falter. Before the big guilds started to go the other way, The Social Network had received more awards heading into the race than literally any film in Oscar history.

But once that blow fades away, the films remain. You will watch The King’s Speech and feel the same way you did when you saw it the first time. What a touching story of friendship from British filmmakers. But watching The Social Network is to see the kind of artistry that puts American cinema at the forefront. How an industry could give Aaron Sorkin, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter the Oscar and not reward Fincher — who made and went unrewarded for Fight Club, Benjamin Button and Zodiac, a pioneer of digital filmmaking who is the gold standard for the kind of great director America can still produce — can only really be chalked up to the old line from Postcards from the Edge. They want you to be good, just not better than they are.

See, I can forgive the actors — maybe even the producers — for not choosing The Social Network. But I’ll never understand the DGA choosing Tom Hooper over David Fincher. The directors are the ones we count on, the only branch other than editors, who really are supposed care about great cinema. But these days it seems like it doesn’t matter if you’re a producer or an actor or an Academy member. You are part of a consensus and that consensus decides.

So you heard a lot of “it was good but it wasn’t THAT good.” We call that frontrunner’s syndrome. Voters like to put their vote behind someone they think needs it. The poor children in India. The pretty tall female director making history. That nice and humble British dude who directed John Adams but more importantly, the stuttering king! It’s much harder to ask thousands of people to vote with any other organ, least of all their brains. So if you write about the Oscars, remember that. The vote always has to be FOR someone they pity. No one is ever going to pity the talented David Fincher. We will just stand back, breathless when he starts to play.

We will be recording our personal impressions of this thing some time over the weekend.

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  • John Rivera

    UGH in a year in which nine other films deserved the BP win they award a melodramatic film about King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. Despicable Academy, despicable

  • Al Robinson

    I think the best film of 2010 was The Social Network.

    How I would have voted for the ones nominated:
    Picture – The Social Network
    Director – David Fincher / The Social Network
    Actor – James Franco / 127 Hours
    Actress – Natalie Portman / Black Swan
    S. Actor – Christian Bale / The Fighter
    S. Actress – Melissa Leo / The Fighter

    Best of the Year:
    1. The Social Network
    2. Inception
    3. True Grit
    4. 127 Hours
    5. The Town
    6. Black Swan
    7. Shutter Island
    8. The Fighter
    9. Kick-Ass
    10. Salt

    I’m glad that 2 female directors got their films nominated for Best Picture.
    I think Christopher Nolan should’ve been nominated for Best Director.
    I want to point out an a truly great performance that was ignored, and that was Ryan Reynolds in Buried.
    I think most beloved film released in 2010 is pretty much already, but will continue to be Inception. I think it’ll enter the American Film Institute’s Top 50.

  • Al Robinson

    Also, I see that Francis Ford Coppola won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. What is that?

  • Alex

    I still wouldn’t call Argo a “comfortable” look at our past, or even a positive one, despite the superficial nostalgia

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Indeed it was a memorable year when considering the Best Picture line-up, but a good look at the larger-picture and I haven’t been able to keep that many films in this essential-only catalog. I easiliy axed a dozen posers and more than a couple who, on second viewing, fell flat on their asses. Strange because the closer we approach the present the more comprehensive my viewing of the year’s offerings is — but no, you can’t fool an objective examination of merit. I couldn’t even get to fifty features. In truly remarkable years, I struggle to keep it under sixty. Here’s the futile, meticulously-conceived ranking.

    1. I AM LOVE, Luca Guadagnino
    2. THE SOCIAL NETWORK, David Fincher
    3. NEVER LET ME GO, Mark Romanek
    4. TRON: LEGACY, Joseph Kosinski
    5. BLACK SWAN, Darren Aronofsky
    6. ANIMAL KINGDOM, David Michod
    7. ANOTHER YEAR, Mike Leigh
    8. I SAW THE DEVIL, Kim Jee-woon
    9. POETRY, Chang-dong Lee
    10. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, Edgar Wright
    11. PA NEGRE, Agusti Villaronga
    12. THE GHOST WRITER, Roman Polanski
    13. THE ILLUSIONIST, Sylvain Chomet
    14. CERTIFIED COPY, Abbas Kiarostami
    15. SHUTTER ISLAND, Martin Scorsese
    16. MYSTERIES OF LYSBON, Raul Ruiz
    17. TRUE GRIT, Joel & Ethan Coen
    18. INCENDIES, Denis Villeneuve
    19. SILENT SOULS, Aleksey Fedorchenko
    20. UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
    21. KICK-ASS, Matthew Vaughn
    22. BLUE VALENTINE, Derek Cianfrance
    23. WINTER’S BONE, Debra Granik
    24. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
    25. POST MORTEM, Pablo Larrain
    26. THE AMERICAN, Anton Corbijn
    27. MONSTERS, Gareth Edwards
    28. CONFESSIONS, Tetsuya Nakashima
    29. ALL GOOD THINGS, Andrew Jarecki
    30. THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, Lee Jeong-beom
    31. ROAD TO NOWHERE, Monte Hellman
    32. TOY STORY 3, Lee Unkrich
    34. THE TOWN, Ben Affleck
    35. THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETY, Hiromasa Yonebayashi
    36. TINY FURNITURE, Lena Dunham
    38. LET ME IN, Matt Reeves
    39. THE FIGHTER, David O. Russell
    40. PREDATORS, Nimrod Antal
    41. THE KING’S SPEECH, Tom Hooper
    43. BURIED, Rodrigo Cortez
    44. BIUTIFUL, Alejandro González Iñárritu
    45. MACHETE, Robert Rodriguez
    46. ENTER THE VOID, Gaspar Noe
    47. INCEPTION, Christopher Nolan

    And, I admit, as a mere curiosity: 127 HOURS, Danny Boyle

  • m1

    I’ll agree with the sentiment that The Social Network should have won, but I’ll also say this: if you can take a story about a British guy with a stutter and turn it into 2 hours of universal and relatable human drama, then I can’t really begrudge your movie a Best Picture win. And The King’s Speech does exactly that. It’s an exceptional film, one that takes rather niche subject matter and uses it to say something, and say it beautifully. It avoids the typical cliche happy ending while still being uplifting and sweet itself. The beautifully restrained direction and screenplay are certainly two of its merits. And let’s not forget the performances, all fantastic. Colin Firth manages to blow me away every time I see the film. There’s is no doubt in my mind that he deserved that Oscar. Easily one of the best performances of the decade in one of the best movies of the decade (so far).

    My top 20 of that year goes like this:
    1. The Social Network
    2. The King’s Speech
    3. Inside Job
    4. The Kids Are All Right
    5. Animal Kingdom
    6. Toy Story 3
    7. Winter’s Bone
    8. Blue Valentine
    9. 127 Hours
    10. The Illusionist
    11. Let Me In
    12. The Fighter
    13. The Town
    14. Another Year
    15. Rabbit Hole
    16. Black Swan
    17. True Grit
    18. Inception
    19. Tangled
    20. Easy A

    My ranking of the Best Picture nominees:
    1. The Social Network
    2. The King’s Speech
    3. The Kids Are All Right
    4. Toy Story 3
    5. Winter’s Bone
    6. 127 Hours
    7. The Fighter
    8. Black Swan
    9. True Grit
    10. Inception

    Overall, a very satisfying Oscar year. I wish there were more like it.

  • m1

    I also looked at my top ten worst films of 2010 and here’s what came up. Some of these films have been mostly forgotten but some of them (surprisingly) I remember quite easily.
    1. The Last Airbender
    2. The Bounty Hunter
    3. How Do You Know
    4. The Last Song
    5. Valentine’s Day
    6. Clash of the Titans
    7. Devil
    8. Knight & Day
    9. Robin Hood
    10. Shutter Island

  • m1

    My Oscar picks would go like this:
    Best Picture-The Social Network (Runner-Up: The King’s Speech)
    Best Actor-Colin Firth, The King’s Speech (Runner-Up: Javier Bardem, Biutiful)
    Best Actress-Natalie Portman, Black Swan (Runner-Up: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right)
    Best Supporting Actor-Christian Bale, The Fighter (Runner-Up: John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone)
    Best Supporting Actress-Melissa Leo, The Fighter (Runner-Up: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom)
    Best Director-David Fincher, The Social Network (Runner-Up: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan)
    Best Original Screenplay-The King’s Speech (Runner-Up: The Kids Are All Right)
    Best Adapted Screenplay-The Social Network (Runner-Up: Winter’s Bone)
    Best Ensemble Cast-The King’s Speech (Runner-Up: The Kids Are All Right)
    Best Film Editing-The Social Network (Runner-Up: 127 Hours)
    Best Original Score-127 Hours (Runner-Up: The Social Network)
    Best Cinematography-True Grit (Runner-Up: Inception)

  • Aditya B

    This was the first year I had really followed all of the critic’s awards and the guilds, and I was really hoping TSN would pull through and that Fincher would FINALLY get his long overdue Oscar. Alas, but I will be rooting for Gone Girl until I see it. Here’s my own personal best of the year:

    Best Picture:
    1. The Social Network
    2. Toy Story 3
    3. Black Swan
    4. Somewhere
    5. Another Year
    6. The Kids Are All Right
    7. Inception
    7. True Grit
    9. How to Train Your Dragon
    10. Winter’s Bone

    Best Director:
    1. David Fincher, The Social Network
    2. Christopher Nolan, Inception
    3. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
    4. Sofia Coppola, Somewhere
    5. The Coen Brothers, True Grit

    Best Actor-
    1. Stephen Dorff, Somewhere
    2. Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
    3. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
    4. Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
    5. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

    Best Actress-
    1. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
    2. Tilda Swinton, I Am Love
    3. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
    4. Annette Bening & Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
    5. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

    Best Supporting Actor-
    1. Christian Bale, The Fighter
    2. John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
    3. Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
    4. Ben Menelsohn, Animal Kingdom
    5. Nigel Lindsay, Four Lions

    Best Supporting Actress-
    1. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
    2. Lesley Manville, Another Year
    3. Elle Fanning, Somewhere
    4. Kirsten Dunst, All Good Things
    5. Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer

  • Casey

    Here would be my end of year lists:

    1. Animal Kingdom
    2. Black Swan
    3. Dogtooth
    4. I am Love
    5. Fish Tank
    6. Catfish
    7. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
    8. Blue Valentine
    9. The Crazies
    10. The Kids are Alright

    1. Giorgous Lanthimos – Dogtooth
    2. David Michod – Animal Kingdom
    3. Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
    4. Andrea Arnold – Fish Tank
    5. Luca Guadagnino – I am Love

    1. Ryan Gosling – Blue Valentine
    2. Casey Affleck – The Killer Inside
    3. James Frencheville – Animal Kingdom
    4. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Jack Goes Boating
    5. James Franco – 127 Hours

    1. Natalie Portman – Black Swan
    2. Tilda Swinton – I am Love
    3. Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole
    4. Katie Jarvis – Fish Tank
    5. Jennifer Lawrence – Winters Bone

    1. Christian Bale – The Fighter
    2. Joel Edgerton – Animal Kingdom
    3. Michael Fassbender – Fish Tank
    4. Andrew Garfield – Never Let me Go
    5. Armie Hammer – The Social Network

    1. Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom
    2. Melissa Leo – The Fighter
    3. Barbara Hershey – Black Swan
    4. Juliette Lewis – Conviction
    5. Amy Adams – The Fighter

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Awards Ballot (ranked in order of preference)

    I couldn’t avoid the dreaded “split”. If there was ever a year.

    Best Picture

    1. I AM LOVE (w)

    Best Director

    1. David Fincher – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (w)
    2. Luca Guadagnino – I AM LOVE
    3. Mark Romanek – NEVER LET ME GO
    4. Joseph Kosinski – TRON: LEGACY
    5. Darren Aronofsky – BLACK SWAN

    Best Actor

    1. Jesse Eisenberg – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (w)
    2. Ryan Gosling – BLUE VALENTINE
    3. Francesc Colomer – PA NEGRE
    4. Jeff Bridges – TRUE GRIT
    5. Byung-hun Lee – I SAW THE DEVIL

    Runners-up: 6. Jim Broadbent – ANOTHER YEAR; 7. Ewan MacGregor – THE GHOST WRITER; 8. Ryan Gosling – ALL GOOD THINGS; 9. Leonardo DiCaprio – SHUTTER ISLAND; 10. Ryan Reynolds – BURIED

    Best Actress (such a powerful year that even Oscar got a couple right!)

    1. Tilda Swinton – I AM LOVE (w)
    2. Jeong-hie Yun – POETRY
    3. Lesley Manville – ANOTHER YEAR
    4. Natalie Portman – BLACK SWAN
    5. Juliette Binoche – CERTIFIED COPY

    Runners-up: 6. Carey Mulligan – NEVER LET ME GO; 7. Lubna Azabal – INCENDIES; Michelle Williams – BLUE VALENTINE; 9. Takako Matsu – CONFESSIONS; 10. Jennifer Lawrence – WINTER’S BONE

    Best Supporting Actor

    1. Andrew Garfield – NEVER LET ME GO (w)
    2. Min-sik Choi – I SAW THE DEVIL
    3. Matt Damon – TRUE GRIT
    4. Andrew Garfield – THE SOCIAL NETWORK
    5. John Hawkes – WINTER’S BONE

    Runners-up: 6. Ben Mendelsohn – ANIMAL KINGDOM; 7. Vincent Cassell – BLACK SWAN; 8. Masaki Okada – CONFESSIONS; 9. Kieran Culkin – SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD; 10. Maxim Gaudette – INCENDIES

    Best Supporting Actress

    1. Jacki Weaver – ANIMAL KINGDOM (w)
    2. Nora Navas – PA NEGRE
    3. Olivia Wilde – TRON: LEGACY
    4. Olivia Williams – THE GHOST WRITER
    5. Kiera Knightley – NEVER LET ME GO

    Runners-up: 6. Mila Kunis – BLACK SWAN; 7. Jenjira Pongpas – UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES; 8. Kirsten Dunst – ALL GOOD THINGS; 9. Laurie Simmons – TINY FURNITURE; 10. Chloe Moretz – KICK-ASS

    Best Film Editing

    1. Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (w)
    2. Nam Na-young – I SAW THE DEVIL
    3. Luke Doolan – ANIMAL KINGDOM
    4. Herve de Luze – THE GHOST WRITER
    5. Andrew Weisblum – BLACK SWAN

    Best Original Screenplay

    1. Luca Guadagnino, Barbara Alberti – I AM LOVE (w)
    2. David Michod – ANIMAL KINGDOM
    3. Mike Leigh – ANOTHER YEAR
    4. Abbas Kiarostami – CERTIFED COPY
    5. Chang-dong Lee – POETRY

    Best Adapted Screenplay

    1. Aaron Sorkin – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (w)
    2. Edgar Wright – SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
    3. Agusti Villaronga – PA NEGRE
    4. Carlos Saboga – MYSTERIES OF LISBON
    5. Denis Villeneuve – INCENDIES

    Best Cinematography

    1. Bill Pope – SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (w)
    2. Adam Kimmel – NEVER LET ME GO
    3. Antonio Riestra – PA NEGRE
    4. Andre Szankowski – MYSTERIES OF LISBON
    ———-Criminal Not To Mention———-
    6. Mikhail Krichman – SILENT SOULS
    7. Yorick Le Saux – I AM LOVE
    8. Jeff Cronenweth – THE SOCIAL NETWORK
    9. Sergio Amstrong – POST MORTEM
    10. Robert Richardson – SHUTTER ISLAND

    Best Original Score

    1. Daft Punk – TRON: LEGACY (w)
    2. Trent Resnor, Atticus Ross – THE SOCIAL NETWORK
    3. Antony Partos – ANIMAL KINGDOM
    4. Mowg – I SAW THE DEVIL
    5. Sylvain Chomet – THE ILLUSIONIST

    Runners-up: 6. Alexandre Desplat – THE GHOST WRITER; 7. Gary Yershon – ANOTHER YEAR

    Best Animated Feature

    1. Sylvain Chomet – THE ILLUSIONIST (w)
    2. Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders – HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
    3. Lee Unkrich – TOY STORY 3
    4. Hiromasa Yonebayashi – THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETY

    Best Production Design

    1. TRON: LEGACY (w)
    4. PA NEGRE

    Best Visual Effects

    1. TRON: LEGACY (w)

    Best Costume Design

    1. I AM LOVE (w)
    4. PA NEGRE

    Best Sound Mixing: I SAW THE DEVIL
    Best Sound Editing: SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
    Best Makeup: SHUTTER ISLAND

    Best Foreign Language Film

    1. Kim Jee-woon – North Korea – I SAW THE DEVIL (w)
    2. Lee Chang-dong – North Korea – POETRY
    3. Agusti Villaronga – Spain – PA NEGRE
    4. Raul Ruiz – Portugal – MYSTERIES OF LISBON
    5. Denis Villeneuve – Canada – INCENDIES

    Best Documentary Feature

    1. Casey Affleck – I’M STILL HERE (w)
    2. Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher – OCTOBER COUNTRY
    4. Asif Kapadia – SENNA
    5. Patricio Guzman – NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT

  • robertL.

    Dear Ms. Stone – Please get over this loss. You are running into the ground. I am much older than you. I had to deal with An American In Paris, The Greatest Show On Earth, along with that wonderment called Around the World In 80 Days. I had to get over their wins. Maybe therapy would help. You are hanging on to this for far to long

  • Al, Irving Thalberg was a genius kid who took charge of productions at Universal when he was only 20 years old. Louis B Mayer met him at 22 and hired him at the age of 26 to take over as head of production of MGM.

    From 1925 to 1936, Thalberg was responsible for turning MGM into a first-class studio.

    Thalberg was physically frail, had heart trouble, died young of pneumonia at the age of 37. The following year the Academy created a special award in his name. It’s almost always given to a producer: “Creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”

    The Thalberg Building at MGM (now Sony) was built in 1938 named after him.

    (I’m lucky enough to have been inside the Thalberg Building many many times, because for two summers I roomed with a guy who was Freddie Fields personal assistant. Freddie Fields was president of MGM up until the time Sony bought the studio. Even after the Sony takeover, Freddie Fields’ team maintained a suite of offices on the north-east wing of the top floor of the Thalberg Building and had the entire corridor of offices redecorated in vintage 1930s Art Deco chic. It was lavish. I was just a kid, a teenager, breezing up the elevator past the front desk like I was some kind of big deal.)

  • Al Robinson

    Ryan, thanks for that explanation. 🙂

    I can only then imagine how honored Francis Ford Coppola must’ve been to receive that prestigious award.

    You should write a memoir of your 2 years in Los Angles. I bet a lot of people here at Awards Daily would want to read it, including myself of course. 🙂

  • You should write a memoir of your 2 years in Los Angles.

    The Hollywood gay mafia would have me murdered.

  • Al Robinson

    Oh Ryan! Hahahahaha!! 🙂

    I wonder what it’s like to upset people so bad they would have you murdered… on second thought, I think I’ll try to stay out of trouble. 🙂

  • “You will watch The King’s Speech and feel the same way you did when you saw it the first time.”

    True. I couldn’t sit through it then and can’t sit through it now.

  • Al Robinson

    Ryan, the ending of The King’s Speech ruined it for me. I was enjoying it until he had to give the speech. Then I saw he only had to stand alone in a room talking into a microphone. I was expecting a speech like at the end of Lincoln. But I guess that’s how it really happened, so I can’t complain too much.

  • The real 2010 race should have been between ANOTHER YEAR & THE FIGHTER *ducks*

    SHUTTER ISLAND also got the shaft with awards and critics, which is interesting because I wouldn’t expect such a depressing film with conscious nods to the tense thrillers of yesteryear to do better with general audiences…SOCIAL NETWORK’S a terrific flick, though. The three films I mention above knocked me on my ass from an emotional standpoint but the craft of TSN is astounding. Plus, it thrust Roooneeeey upon the world.

  • Brian Susbielles

    Social Network is the best movie of the 2010s so far and reminds me of Citizen Kane who was also passed over for BP. It will be another 20+ years before TSN is given its due as among the best 100 movies in American cinema. I won’t trash Kings Speech because it was a great movie and Colin Firth deserved to win, but there was no way I could put it above TSN overall. Also was the start of David O Russell’s comeback with The Fighter and his actors winning Oscars.

  • S

    “The King’s Speech” gets undue hatred in the same way “How Green Was My Valley” (1941) does. Both are films that deal with emotional realities in a manner that is sensitive and inspiring without being sentimental. They tell wonderful stories that deserve to be told, stories that will be cherished for years. The only reason the movies are hated is because the Oscars were stupid choosing them over “The Social Network” and Citizen Kane.” Surely this shouldn’t have happened, but why do people turn on the winning film just because the Oscars made horrible mistakes? These 2 situations may have been the worst, but they make mistakes pretty often, so shouldn’t we just be used to them and respect all the worthy movies involved for what they are? It’s almost like a situation of infidelity; the person cheated on almost always runs first to take blame out on the other person, not the partner who cheated. It’s not the fault of “The King Speech” that some people voted for it over “The Social Network.” It’s still a wonderful movie that could have deserved its win in another year when the competition didn’t include “The Social Network,” “Black Swan,” and “127 Hours.”

  • Al Robinson

    Throw The King’s Speech into the:

    2011 race:
    Which movie would have won? The Artist or The King’s Speech. Maybe they would have split, and The Descendants or Hugo would have won.

    2012 race:
    Would Argo still have won? Probably not, since Tom Hooper might have had the following he didn’t receive from Les Miserables. I think 2012 would have come down to The King’s Speech winning.

    2013 race:
    I don’t see a scenario where The King’s Speech would have gotten more 1s 2s or 3s than 12 Years a Slave or Gravity.

    BUT, if The King’s Speech had lost in 2011 or 2013, would we be saying “I hate such and such since it beat The King’s Speech”? I doubt it.

  • m1

    I find it mystifying that people complain about The King’s Speech’s Best Picture win as if it is the worst Academy mistake ever. It is nowhere near as egregious as Crash beating Brokeback Mountain, Gladiator beating Traffic and Crouching Tiger, and Forrest Gump beating Pulp Fiction.

  • Al Robinson

    m1, exactly. Spot on. Crash?… Gladiator?… Forrest Gump?…

    But I still wonder how many said that, or are at least now saying that for Ordinary People? Chariots of Fire? Gandhi? Driving Miss Daisy? and of course Dances with Wolves?

  • Jesus Alonso

    I never shy off, on this “battle”… Love “The Social Network” but “The King Speech” was the better masterpiece. I don’t have ANY doubt, and have seen both several times (own them both).

    What I find ridiculous is how some people seem to have the need to diminish TKS’s quality as much as even labelling as a “bad” film or merely mediocre. TKS is, in my book, one of the few times Oscar and I agreed on “Best Picture”, in all Oscar History. Being “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Return of the King” and “Gone with the Wind” probably the only two other times.

    I still think “Cabaret” is better than “The Godfather”, to my test. On close calls, “The Godfather II” and “No Country for All Men”, and even “Schindler’s List”…

  • “The King’s Speech” gets undue hatred in the same way “How Green Was My Valley” (1941) does. Both are films that deal with emotional realities in a manner that is sensitive and inspiring without being sentimental.

    I didn’t like The King’s Speech because I don’t like the genre: Let’s feel Sad for the Royalty and Their Terribly Sad Life of Unearned Pampered Luxury. It’s my least favorite genre next to Let’s Feel Bad for the Guy Who Chose to Get Punched in the Face as a Career.

    Great idea for a movie: On the eve of the most deadly war in human history, when 60,000,000 lives will be completely destroyed, let’s zoom in on the dude who was born into wealth stolen by his family from his country for the past 700 years and watch him cry about being embarrassed to talk into a mic for 5 minutes once a week.

    Of all the inspiring events of WWII, a spoiled brat with a stammer whose jacket is adorned with fake medals is the least interesting person and least interesting story to me.

    Oh look! See what a wonderful person that king is for allowing somebody to call him by his first name!

  • UBourgeois

    I’m in the camp who thinks The Social Network was definitely the more worthy winner of Best Picture, but The King’s Speech is also a fine film – on my personal list, they were the best and third-best films of 2010, with Winter’s Bone in between them. I can’t get mad about it winning, truly.

    The only necessary changes to that awards ceremony, in my mind, would have been to cede TKS’s Directing and Writing Oscars to David Fincher and Mike Leigh, respectively. I would have also given Best Actress to JLaw instead of Natalie, but I suppose that’s not a big deal.

  • Jesus Alonso

    You did not understand the movie at all… Ryan, the movie decides to focus on a character trapped by the who is he supposed to be, just because of heritage and being unable to avoid the responsability it takes, but taking the chance to trascend his natural limitations. There’s no way of condemning a film that, for once, distract the focus from the big scope to try analyze a society and a system (monarchy itself) from the inside, with its strenghts and its flaws. As geographer and historian, I found it daring, and extremely deep and complex, in ways way more sutile than anything Fincher did on TSN. How Hooper delliberately used composition and point of view, and let his actors breath and shine without ever going over the top… I was really, really caught by surprise. I was waiting big things from Fincher (and I still think TSN isn’t on par with Fight Club or Se7en, or even Zodiac and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or even Benjamin Buttom, his most underrated film), while Hooper delivered an instant classic.

    But hey, what do I know?

  • zazou

    This post reads as ,”sour grapes,” because , well let’s see, Fincher didn’t win for BD, SN didn’t win for BP, gee what a tragedy for the film business. As I recall the Fincher picture was a chilly storytelling,and the acting overall was okay, not spectacular,not compelling. The Sorkin script was the star of that film,not the actors,nor the director. The King’s Speech on the other hand drew in the movie watchers with solid acting and solid story telling ,which was Hooper’s job. The KS is a small budget movie but has a big picture presence,audiences are appreciative and this film was a world wide success financially. Good work Mr. Hooper. But wait that never should have happened…what about Hooper’s pedigree? Well Hooper got hammered over Les Miserables,which was miserable behavior coming from many pundits, critics and assorted others. This business isn’t for the faint of heart.

  • S

    My ratings for 2010 Best Picture nominees (out of 5):
    Black Swan*****
    The Fighter**1/2
    The Kids Are All Right****
    The King’s Speech****1/2
    127 Hours*****
    The Social Network*****
    Toy Story 3***
    True Grit****1/2
    Winter’s Bone****1/2

    Best Picture:
    1. The Social Network
    2. 127 Hours
    3. Black Swan
    4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    5. Winter’s Bone
    6. True Grit
    7. The King’s Speech
    8. Despicable Me
    9. The Kids Are All Right
    10. The Town

    Best Director:
    1. David Fincher, The Social Network
    2. Darren Aronofski, Black Swan
    3. Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
    4. Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
    5. Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone

    Best Lead Actor:
    1. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
    2. Collin Firth, The King’s Speech
    3. James Franco, 127 Hours
    4. Steve Carell, Despicable Me
    5. Jim Broadbent, Another Year

    Best Lead Actress:
    1. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
    2. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
    3. Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    4. Anette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
    5. Haley Steinfeld, True Grit

    Best Supporting Actress:
    1. Dale Dickey, WInter’s Bone
    2. Mila Kuniz, Black Swan
    3. Mia Wazikowska, The Kids Are All Right
    4. Rebecca Hall, The Town
    5. Lesley Manville, Another Year

    Best Supporting Actor:
    1. Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
    2. John Hawkes, WInter’s Bone
    3. Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
    4. Vincent Cassel, Black Swan
    5. Josh Brolin, True Grit

    Best Original Screenplay:
    1. The King’s Speech
    2. Another Year
    3. Despicable Me
    4. The Kids Are All Right
    5. Black Swan

    Best Adapted Screenplay:
    1. The Social Network
    2. True Grit
    3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    4. Winter’s Bone
    5. 127 Hours

    Best Original Song:
    1. “Despicable Me” Despicable Me
    2. “Dear Laughing Doubters” Dinner for Schmucks
    3. “I’ve Got a Dream” Tangled
    4. “Mother Knows Best” Tangled
    5. “When Will My Life Begin?” Tangled

    Best Original Film Score:
    1. A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
    2. Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
    3. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network
    4. John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon
    5. Hans Zimmer, Despicable Me

    Best Film Editing:
    1. The Social Network
    2. 127 Hours
    3. Black Swan
    4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    5. The Town

    Best Cinematography:
    1. 127 Hours
    2. True Grit
    3. Black Swan
    4. Winter’s Bone
    5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Best Production Design:
    1. Black Swan
    2. Alice in Wonderland
    3. True Grit
    4. How to Train Your Dragon
    5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Best Sound Mixing:
    1. Black Swan
    2. 127 Hours
    3. How to Train Your Dragon
    4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    5. True Grit

    Best Sound Editing:
    1. Black Swan
    2. 127 Hours
    3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    4. Inception
    5. The Town

    Best Visual Effects:
    1. 127 Hours
    2. Alice in Wonderland
    3. Hereafter
    4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
    5. Inception

    Best Costume Design:
    1. Alice in Wonderland
    2. Black Swan
    3. True Grit
    4. The Tempest
    5. I Am Love

    Best Makeup & Hair Styling:
    1. Black Swan
    2. Alice in Wonderland
    3. Barney’s Version
    4. The Kids Are All Right
    5. True Grit

    Best Animated Feature:
    1. Despicable Me
    2. Tangled
    3. My Dog Tulip
    4. The Illusionist
    5. Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic

    Best Foreign Language Feature:
    1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Norway)
    2. I Am Love (France)
    3. Incendies (Canada)
    4. The Princess of Montpensier (France
    5. Outside the Law (Algeria)

    Best Documentary Feature:
    1. Exit through the Gift Shop
    2. Waiting for Superman
    3. Restrepo
    4. Inside Job
    5. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

    Best Ensemble Cast (hoping this becomes real Oscar category soon):
    1. The Social Network
    2. Winter’s Bone
    3. True Grit
    4. The King’s Speech
    5. The Kids Are All Right

  • Al Robinson

    “Best Ensemble Cast (hoping this becomes real Oscar category soon):
    1. The Social Network
    2. Winter’s Bone
    3. True Grit
    4. The King’s Speech
    5. The Kids Are All Right”

    That would be really cool. The question is, who would get to go onstage, and more importantly, who takes the statue home?

  • Bryce, interesting you found this year to be weak. I find it to be one of the strongest years ever. I’ve only seen half your list, but some of those you mentioned were among the worst films I saw that year (Tron: Legacy? Predators? Really??) Clearly we’re at a divide on 2010. In any case, here’s my list:

    1. Black Swan
    2. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
    3. The Social Network
    4. Inception
    5. Toy Story 3
    6. Animal Kingdom
    7. Mother
    8. True Grit
    9. The Fighter
    10. Exit Through The Gift Shop
    11. The Town
    12. Please Give
    13. I Love You Philip Morris
    14. 127 Hours
    15. Winter’s Bone
    16. Dogtooth
    17. The Ghost Writer
    18. Kick-Ass
    19. Cyrus
    20. How To Train Your Dragon
    21. The Illusionist
    22. The King’s Speech
    23. Machete
    24. Inside Job
    25. Hot Tub Time Machine
    26. The Square
    27. Mesrine: Killer Instinct/Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1
    28. Let Me In
    29. Blue Valentine
    30. The Kids Are All Right
    31. Biutiful
    32. Shutter Island
    33. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows 1
    34. Four Lions
    35. Unstoppable
    36. Youth In Revolt
    37. Never Let Me Go
    38. Cemetery Junction
    39. Harry Brown
    40. Leaves Of Grass

  • Richard B

    Can we stop constantly come up with explanations of why the Academy won’t reward Fincher? They just liked TKS better, period. I don’t agree, but Social Network walked away with 4.

  • My Awards:

    Best Film – BLACK SWAN

    Best Director – Darren Aronofsky, BLACK SWAN

    Best Actor – Jesse Eisenberg, THE SOCIAL NETWORK

    Best Actress – Natalie Portman, BLACK SWAN

    Best Supporting Actor – Christian Bale, THE FIGHTER

    Best Supporting Actress – Hailee Steinfeld, TRUE GRIT

    Best Original Screenplay – INCEPTION by Christopher Nolan

    Best Adapted Screenplay – THE SOCIAL NETWORK by Aaron Sorkin

    Best Cinematography – Matthew Libatique, BLACK SWAN

    Best Editing – Lee Smith, INCEPTION

    Best Art Direction/Set Decoration – David Stein & Tora Peterson, BLACK SWAN

    Best Costume Design – Amy Westcott, BLACK SWAN

    Best Original Score – Hans Zimmer, INCEPTION

    Best Original Song – Ramona from SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD

    Best Foreign Language Film – MOTHER

    Best Animated Film – TOY STORY 3

    Best Documentary – EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP

    Best Makeup – BLACK SWAN

    Best Visual Effects – INCEPTION

  • steve50

    Oh, gawd, here we go.

    The Social Network was a perfect film, from the directing, writing, acting, cinematography and score right down to the Citizen Kane-like structure and theme. Nobody involved with that film has done anything better since. That is what I saw when I first watched it and continue to see when I rewatch it, which I do regularly.

    The King’s Peach, on the other hand, I have not watched since the first time, which was more than enough. Not going into a rant, though there’s certainly enough material for one. I have an entire file on Hooper and his cinematic hj’s.

    Other faves that year:
    Incendies (should have won FLF – don;t remember whether or not it did because it doesn’t matter)
    The Ghost Writer (Desplat’s best score)
    Fish Tank (Fassie should have take best supporting actor)
    Animal Kingdom (Weaver was the best supporting actress that year)
    I Am Love (Tilda, Tilda, Tilda)
    Carlos (Edgar Ramirez did the best job by an actor)

    Carlos was a miniseries in Europe and showed in a long version here in limited release. It was the canary in the coal mine in that it better than any other film (save one) that was intended for the big screen. Television got it’s first leg up on cinema and has been jumping up and down on it ever since.

  • John

    PLEASE discuss Shutter Island, the most underappreciated film of 2010. Leo deserved a nod, if not the win. It should have received nods for Director, Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound Mixing, if not more.

  • Kai Lor

    Trashing a film won’t lessen the quality of the said film and it certainly won’t make the awards they won mean less nor would it as a result make your preferential film superior as it all just an opinion of an artform that we all love. I think the saddest part about this year is that the conversation instead of celebrating a great year in film would dead set focused on the war between two films. Granted both Social Network and King’s Speech are both great films in their own right, but it was a great year for films not to mention a great year for female filmmakers and actresses.

  • m1

    As someone who thinks the film is terrible from start to finish, I would also like to hear a case for Shutter Island. Please discuss it.

  • I agree with John that Leo deserved a nod for Shutter Island, but not the win. Here are my ranked performances from 2010. Top 5 for each category would be my nominees and the number 1 is obviously the winner:

    1. Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
    2. Jim Carrey – I Love You Philip Morris
    3. Leonardo Dicaprio – Shutter Island
    4. Ryan Gosling – Blue Valentine
    5. Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
    6. Leonardo Dicaprio – Inception
    7. Javier Bardem – Biutiful
    8. James Franco – 127 Hours
    9. Jeff Bridges – True Grit
    10. Vincent Cassel – Mesrine 1&2

    1. Natalie Portman – Black Swan
    2. Kim Hye-Ja – Mother
    3. Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
    4. Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine
    5. Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
    6. Catherine Keener – Please Give
    7. Carey Mulligan – Never Let Me Go
    8. Emma Stone – Easy A
    9. Naomi Watts – Fair Game
    10. Sarah Polley – Splice

    1. Christian Bale – The Fighter
    2. Ewan McGregor – I Love You Philip Morris
    3. Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
    4. Ben Mendelsohn – Animal Kingdom
    5. Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech
    6. Vincent Cassel – Black Swan
    7. Jeremy Renner – The Town
    8. Nicolas Cage – Kick-Ass
    9. Bill Murray – Get Low
    10. Michael Shannon – The Runaways

    1. Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit
    2. Jackie Weaver – Animal Kingdom
    3. Melissa Leo – The Fighter
    4. Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right
    5. Keira Knightley – Never Let Me Go
    6. Chloe Grace Moretz – Let Me In
    7. Olivia Williams – The Ghost Writer
    8. Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
    9. Elle Fanning – Somewhere
    10. Chloe Grace Moretz – Kick-Ass

  • Supporting Actor was particularly stacked that year, and I would’ve loved to include Timberlake for TSN and Matt Damon for True Grit, but its perhaps better to spread the wealth anyways.

  • Shit, I forgot about John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone also!

    1. Christian Bale – The Fighter
    2. Ewan McGregor – I Love You Philip Morris
    3. Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
    4. Ben Mendelsohn – Animal Kingdom
    5. Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech
    6. John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone
    7. Vincent Cassel – Black Swan
    8. Jeremy Renner – The Town
    9. Nicolas Cage – Kick-Ass
    10. Bill Murray – Get Low

  • Might as well make it 15:

    1. Christian Bale – The Fighter
    2. Ewan McGregor – I Love You Philip Morris
    3. Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
    4. Ben Mendelsohn – Animal Kingdom
    5. Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech
    6. John Hawkes – Winter’s Bone
    7. Vincent Cassel – Black Swan
    8. Jeremy Renner – The Town
    9. Nicolas Cage – Kick-Ass
    10. Bill Murray – Get Low
    11. Michael Shannon – The Runaways
    12. Matt Damon – True Grit
    13. Justin Timberlake – The Social Network
    14. Kieran Culkin – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
    15. Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right

    1. Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit
    2. Jackie Weaver – Animal Kingdom
    3. Melissa Leo – The Fighter
    4. Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right
    5. Keira Knightley – Never Let Me Go
    6. Chloe Grace Moretz – Let Me In
    7. Olivia Williams – The Ghost Writer
    8. Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
    9. Elle Fanning – Somewhere
    10. Chloe Grace Moretz – Kick-Ass
    11. Mila Kunis – Black Swan
    12. Rooney Mara – The Social Network
    13. Marion Cotillard – Inception
    14. Amy Adams – The Fighter
    15. Amanda Peet – Please Give

  • S

    Al Robinson: You asked “That would be really cool. The question is, who would get to go onstage, and more importantly, who takes the statue home?” Probably the casting director. That would probably mean the Ellen Chenoweth would be on stage most years, someone most people have probably have never heard of but her name seems to appear on every other movie as its casting director

  • Al Robinson

    S, that makes sense that the casting director would get the credit. If best cast was same of the best pictures, the past winners would have been:

    2010 – Nina Gold / The King’s Speech
    2011 – Heidi Levitt / The Artist
    2012 – Lora Kennedy / Argo
    2013 – Francine Maisler / 12 Years a Slave

  • You did not understand the movie at all…

    Jesus Alonso, I’m glad you got something out of it. I only know that I didn’t. I know the reason I find The King’s Speech meaningless is not because I “did not understand the movie.”

    Analyze the monarchy from the inside? By showing us that British royalty and their weaknesses need to be propped up at any cost in order to maintain the illusion that they’re wise and important?

    Because god know it would be impossible for the UK to help win WWII unless they had a king in a king costume who could be coached and trained like an organ grinder’s monkey. Basically give him acting lessons so he can pretend his upper lip is stiff for a few minutes whenever he’s in public. To make that point even sharper, the movie is careful to portray Churchill as no more than some sort of buttkissing gossipy toady.

    It’s amazing America has been able to find its way in the world without a king to give us pep talks.

    I’m glad you liked it. I would never say that you “don’t understand” what movies written by royalists mean to do. I know you’re a smart guy so there’s no need to insult you.

  • UBourgeois

    Ryan – I’m not sure that “Monarchy is bad” is a valid criticism of a film about monarchs. Like, I reject the myth of Southern antebellum romanticism out of hand, but I can still appreciate Gone With the Wind as a film that accepts that view. Hell, I know homophobic people who enjoyed Brokeback Mountain.

  • Ryan – I’m not sure that “Monarchy is bad” is a valid criticism of a film about monarchs.

    ‘Monarcy is useless’ is the reason I can’t make myself care about the normal everyday problems of the monarchy. Problems that millions of people deal with do not take on some fancy importance for me just because the problem-sufferer lives in a castle.

    My problem with movies about the royalty is that I don’t care about royalty.

    This is the same problem lots of people with movies about superheroes.

    I can easily understand how people think superheroes are a bit silly. What I don’t get is how nobody seems to mind that royalty are the ‘superheroes’ of the Middle Ages.

    Except, for me, royalty are more boring than superheroes. Royalty endows itself with the same sort of inborn “special traits of the ruling class” as the special traits genetically-blessed superheroes are born with — except at least when the culture invents a mythical superhero we have the imagination to give that superhero some actual special superpowers.

    The only noteworthy superpower the British royalty have is the power to decapitate wives they get tired of looking at, rob national treasuries through generations of greed and violent oppression, and live a life of luxury from their family’s centuries-old heritage of arbitrary cruelties — and never suffer any consequences.

    Because they “never suffer any consequences” they bore me. Let’s say Bertie just said “fuck it, I’m not going to take any anti-stammering lessons. I just won’t try to give a speech. And nobody can make me, because I’m the king.”

    — what would have been the consequences for the king, the royal family, Buckingham Palace, London, and the whole realm of Great Britain if Bertie had told everybody to go fuck themselves? No consequences at all. Nothing about WWII would have changed one ioto.

    The only real superpower a crown bestows is the power to win Oscars for anyone clever enough to trick people into thinking kings and queens are anything more than inbred empty shells.

    If I name a couple of dozen movies about royalty that I admire, you’d see that they all have one thing in common: the movies about royalty I admire reveal royalty to be scheming psychopaths.

  • ScottD

    I loved the Best Actress race that year.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the conversation surrounding how Portman didn’t do her own dancing and the backlash over that. When it comes to technical skills like that, how much can actors get away with before we take points away from the “Oscar worthiness” of their performance.

    Personally speaking, the dancing didn’t win her the award, the emotional scenes did.

  • Kai Lor

    It just doesn’t seem right nor fair for the conversation to be so focused on just two films when looking the film year of 2009 was just so much more than just a two horse race. In a year where you had The Fighter, Black Swan, Another Year, Blue Valentine, How To Train A Dragon, just to name a few, to have 2 films completely dominating the conversation doesn’t really reflect how the year of 2009 in film really was.
    Of all the years of film in recent memory this year seems to channel the most irrational anger and fury in people as much as I can remember. Instead of talking about The King’s Speech’s actual merits in quality, too often the take down on the film tends to be towards the side of I am trashing this film because my favorite lost to it. Aren’t accolades in the end superficial anyways? Everyone at one point or another myself included are guilty disliking a film due to our insecurity of another film’s being favored over our preferred film. It’s times like these where instead of going for the jugular that we take a step back and put our blinders on to filter out the madness and truly judge each film based on their quality and not on the politics.
    What good does it do to simply marginalize a film or brush it off if it never had a chance to be seen in a good light with you in the first place? If it is the politics that reigns supreme with you over the quality then aren’t you watching films for the wrong reasons and really missing the point of cinema then?
    Apologies for the rant but judging by the majority of the comments I felt it needed to be said. With that all said, Blue Valentine is a film I adored and still do to this day and hope you three will speak a little about it.

  • Bryce Forestieri

    “some of those you mentioned were among the worst films I saw that year (Tron: Legacy? Predators? Really??)”

    Harsh! I’m never this negative about other readers’ taste 😉

    I must be clearer. I found the year lacking in volume, but every film in my list I believe to be wonderful. I believe TRON: LEGACY’s stature will dramatically improve over time, a long time perhaps, but from its death on arrival, resurrect it will.

    Here, you might find interesting: a day-one positive and splendid take, a dissenting view, and -already- a semi-reassessment.

    I also have to recommend everything by Nimrod Antal, I was really apprehensive about his latest, a Metallica concert film, but he pretty much nailed it, and I’m not even that big a fan of this group of musicians. Although everything he’s done is rock solid entertainment, he has yet to top his film debut KONTROLL. Were you a fan of the original PREDATOR? I’m aware of the difference in approach, but this one is my favorite in the “franchise” besides the original — legitimately poisonous turn by Topher Grace. If they were never going to pay for a big name director anyways I would have given Antal the script for THE IMITATION GAME and told him to just stick with it.

    Not surprisingly, I agree with every point made by my pal steve50, except for his misplaced love for CARLOS.

  • Al Robinson

    Kai Lor, I’m glad you’re the voice of reason here in this discussion. Yes, it has seemed competitive in this thread, and I think we should start discussing other films besides The King’s Speech and The Social Network. Frankly, I’m surprised that we’re not talking yet about True Grit or Black Swan. 2 other really good movies with Oscar worthy performances. I thought that True Grit came and went too quietly back in 2010. I had great hopes for it, and it’s since fulfilled my expectations in every way. I’ve never seen the original with John Wayne, but I really liked what the Coens did with this one. As for Black Swan, I think the discussion starts with Natalie Portman’s performance, which I think was the right choice for the Oscars. She was scary and heartbreaking at the same time. Plus, I loved how much Mila Kunis made an impact. The film was so dark and a bit creepy in just the right way.

  • I think we should start discussing other films besides The King’s Speech and The Social Network.

    What I’m discussing in a couple of comments is the false accusation that the only reason anyone could possibly have for not liking The King’s Speech is because it beat The Social Network.

    I’m making clear that the TKS vs TSN rivalry is not the reason I dislike TKS and other movies of that ilk.

    It’s an insult to be told that the only reason someone didn’t fall for TKS is because of TSN.

  • Al Robinson

    “What I’m discussing in a couple of comments is the false accusation that the only reason anyone could possibly have for not liking The King’s Speech is because it beat The Social Network.

    I’m making clear that the TKS vs TSN rivalry is not the reason I dislike TKS and other movies of that ilk.

    It’s insulting to say that the only reason someone didn’t fall for TKS is because of TSN.”

    As you know, I meant no offense to you Ryan, or others who are still discussing these films. I understang where you’re coming from in explaining your side. 🙂

  • Al Robinson

    I just didn’t want Kai Lor’s comments to go unresponded.

  • steve50

    “It’s an insult to be told that the only reason someone didn’t fall for TKS is because of TSN.”

    Absolutely true. I don’t think anyone links the two other than the Oscar race. Yeah, I was rooting for TSN and it didn’t happen. I had also asked Santa for a set of Winklevi that Xmas and that didn’t happen either. (nice photo, btw).

    Both films succeed or fail by their own merits, not because of any contest.

  • m1

    I think that criticizing The King’s Speech for being about rich people is unfair. So what if the characters in it are better off than most of those in society? The king’s stutter doesn’t magically go away just because he’s part of the privileged upper class. He deals with his condition in the same way that any “normal” person would.

    And that’s why The King’s Speech is a great movie in my eyes, because it finds a way to tell a story about someone who is unlike most of us and imbues it with universality.

  • Jeria

    The film just isn’t that good. It’s slickly made, but completely unengaging, especially when you compare it to an actually fascinating film like Zodiac. The Ghost Writer was better. Shutter Island was better. The Town was better. And so on.

  • I think that criticizing The King’s Speech for being about rich people is unfair.

    I’m not criticizing movies about rich people.

    (after all, The Social Network is about rich people.)

    If, after everything I’ve written, anyone thinks I’m not interested in royalty because they’re rich then I think I’ll give up trying to explain why I don’t feel much pity for relatively petty royal anxieties.

    Anyway, hey, I’ve struggled with stammering ever since I was two years old. Anyone who’s listened to an Oscar podcast has heard me get tangled up in a sentence. I sometimes get caught in a brain-tongue loop and I can’t escape from a syllable that I keep repeating. Sasha edits some of that out, but there’s no way she can clean up all my stumbles.

    But I soldier on. Because it’s a normal thing for me to deal with. When I recover from a falter, I don’t act like I deserve a medal from Helen Keller. Or a movie about my heroics.

    Is my stammer as bad as the exaggerated sputtering Colin Firth lathered on for The King’s Speech. No. I do much better than that.

    But here’s the thing: the real George VI didn’t have nearly as much trouble as the movie pretends he did. He’s no Lawrence Olivier, but who is?

    Watch and see if this is the sort of “problem” that a king should be crying like baby about.

  • PaulContinuum

    King’s Speech was a howler of a BP choice, but nothing tops the borderline despicable best picture choice of the prior year, which shall remain nameless and is *still* the least seen BP winner, adjusted for inflation, in the history of U.S. film.

  • Sasha Stone

    King’s Speech was a howler of a BP choice, but nothing tops the borderline despicable best picture choice of the prior year, which shall remain nameless and is *still* the least seen BP winner, adjusted for inflation, in the history of U.S. film.

    Yeah, no. Who gives a shit if it made money or was seen. Teenage Mutant Power Ranger Shitass Fuckface whatever it’s called made mountains of money. Does that make it a great movie? Nope.

  • Al Robinson

    Just re-watched Black Swan. Now I’m re-watching The Social Network. Just thought I’d share. 🙂

  • PREDATORS never clicked for me (and yes I am a fan of the original). It has one hell of a cold opening, but its basically all downhill from there for me. It may be better than the AVP films (and possibly part 2), but that isn’t saying much as the first film was the only one worth anything to me. TRON: LEGACY was a hollow experience (which seems to be Kosinski’s stock-in-trade, creating beautiful, shallow worlds) and all I can remember about it is a bunch of clunky exposition that rivals the “midichlorians” from the Star Wars prequels in terms of stuff I’d rather not have to sit through.

    But to each his own, right? 🙂

  • I should qualify:

    Perhaps shallow is the wrong word to describe Kosinski’s films. TRON: LEGACY and OBLIVION are certainly attempts at some kind of substance, but the aesthetics are divorced from the themes and the ideas themselves are generally rote, been-there-done-that sic-fi tropes that are used to much greater effect in the classics of the genre. As a purely technical craftsman, he creates some of the most striking images around, and he certainly has a knack for setting those visuals to equally interesting music. I wonder if it would better serve him to find material that makes little to no attempt at “deep-ness” or poignancy. Something that is ABOUT style-over-substance, like DRIVE. Because each time his first films attempt to actually explain anything or convey emotion, the shortcomings in the storytelling pull me out of what is generally an aesthetically pleasing experience, and then I have nothing left to hang onto.

  • Al Robinson

    I just realized as I’m watching The Social Network for the umpeenth time, that it’s transitioned.

    Okay, back in 2011, when The Social Network first came to Blu-ray, which I’ll admit, is the first time I saw it, I was party interested BECAUSE it was a movie about Facebook. I was obsessed with that site at the time, like I’m sure a lot of us were. Now, when I watch, I literally forget that it’s about Facebook. I just pay attention to the story, the characters, and the amazing editing and film production. What Fincher did that was SO amazing is that he made a non-Facebook, Facebook movie. He made it dark, tantalizing, and a bit mysterious even. You wonder, “who are these people, and why are they important?”.

  • Watermelons

    Did not realize people held The King’s Speech in any regard other than a ROYAL triumph. I would have chosen Inception as the best picture because it was a real mind bending thriller, with action, heart, and more.

    – Watermelons

  • Al Robinson

    “I would have chosen Inception as the best picture because it was a real mind bending thriller, with action, heart, and more.”

    AND there it is!! I think, Watermelons, you might be the first to say Inception is the best of 2010. THANK YOU!!!

    I may obsess about The Social Network, but Inception will dominate 2010 in the future. I may sound like a crazy person, but I think the general public has already spoken. I’d rather not get into details, since I’d get publicly reduced to a raisin, but….

    AND we have SO MANY fans of Leo DiCaprio. Where did they all go??

  • Bryce Forestieri

    Chris, I hear your points. Somehow the father/son arc did click for me, and Olivia Wilde’s Quorra as singular and rich in pathos as Fassbender’s David. But you’re right about exposition, it has quite a bit of it, but all of it thematically sound if view it as allegory and not actual computer science (a la SNOWPIERCER), coherent with the established rules, and perfectly in tune with the stakes if a little too unabashed. Your complaints almost mirror mine about INCEPTION, but I don’t want to put myself in such a precarious position this early in the morning.

    I agree about OBLIVION though, I didn’t find that picture even visually interesting — in fact, derivative of videogame landscapes, and the action atrociously directed. Kosinski suffers as the action becomes more conventional (e.g., hand to hand) and excels in fabled arenas like TRON’s where you can pay less attention to physical laws.

  • Long post, but read it. I read all of yours…

    THE SOCIAL NETWORK versus THE KING’S SPEECH. I’ll very rarely get bored of any film debate, and this is not really an exception. Those who expected people to just let this debate go at the very time the podcast of that year approaches are way out of touch. And I suspect Sasha wrote the above article, maybe not literally, maybe in her mind, many many months ago.

    My views on this battle. I couldn’t call it at the time. But Fincher’s film just grows and grows on you the more you think about it and the more you watch it. The King’s Speech does not. But this has been said already a number of times.

    Anyway, What did I like that year?

    What a great year for movies. Just a glance at the Best Picture list shows some real quality that year. There are, of course, some movies that I am not really willing to discuss. And I am sure I am not alone here. In fact, I am not even going to mention them. The best of the worst was HEREAFTER, which showed plenty of promise but it just lost its way somewhere – and I could not wait for it to end.

    ANIMAL KINGDOM was on British TV two nights ago, and it was even better than I remembered. Gripping and interesting in pretty much every scene. This could possibly make my ten for the year, but I am not willing to make a ten best – I tried, and failed. Speaking of depressing, I know it does not work this way, but if Michelle Williams gets nominated, so does Ryan Gosling for BLUE VALENTINE. He was like Brando in that. Kind of.

    On a lighter side, I really enjoyed EASY A, the perfect platform movie for Emma Stone when you look where she is now. Noah Baumbach’s GREENBERG with the excellent Greta Gerwig and Ben Stiller was also something I enjoyed.

    And HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. Great stuff. Loved Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead et al in SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD. And KICK-ASS, wow Chloe Moretz, that was some blood-bath and potty-mouth action. Loads of fun. As was the grumpy old Harrison Ford in MORNING GLORY, and almost everyone in RED. And obviously TOY STORY 3 was simply superb {having just listened to the previous podcast I have to disagree with Sasha that choosing that movie were they just five Best Picture slots does not make you retarded}.

    My favorite of the more serious movies were MADE IN DAGENHAM with the late, great Bob Hoskins, and the charming Sally Hawkins. And more doom and gloom in the darker SHUTTER ISLAND,
    THE TOWN, and WINTER’S BONE – still probably Jennifer Lawrence’s finest role.

    And finally. INCEPTION. This, in my opinion, was the single greatest movie of that year. It blow me away when I first saw it. I talked about it for weeks after. Bought the DVD, watched it again. Loved it again. The concept. The players. The score. The set-pieces. Everything. It totally captivated and engrossed me throughout. I still get heart pains when I realize again Christopher Nolan was not nominated for this. Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.

  • Thomas Riest

    Lived the article! I’ve been saying to friends for years the exact same thing! I love the social network. The Kings Speech was a superb film, and maybe should’ve won if it was 1967. But it was definitely not the best pic(k) for 2010!

  • CCA

    Am I the only one that thinks that yes, “The King Speech” robbed the best picture Oscar that year, but not from “The Social Network” but from “Black Swan”?

  • Flohrian Riehmann

    It’s quite funny, the HFPA choose with The Social Network the Best Film of the Year an with David Fincher the best Director. Quite a good choice for a handfull of old men 😉 .

    I am interrested what your opinion is about “I am Love”. Tilda Swinton is fantastic in it and the Picture is really atmospheric and vibrant, not to speak of the exceptional Score.

  • Shit I might have to switch positions and declare The Social Network not only the best film of 2010, but of the 2010’s so far. Fuck, this movie is so good.

  • steve50

    “The Kings Speech was a superb film, and maybe should’ve won if it was 1967. ”

    Ha, Thomas. Smile of the day. Up against In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate and Bonnie & Clyde…yeah, wouldn’t happen, although it bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Dolittle.

  • This was the first awards season I ever played close attention to. As some of you can probably relate, I did eventually begin to take the race personally when I realized my favorite film that year (The Social Network) might not win and I wound up becoming pretty bitter about The King’s Speech, but in hindsight it was a perfectly fine film and generally agreeable film, AKA an Oscar slam dunk.

    Since then I’ve learned not to get too personally invested in something as silly as film awards, but I do enjoy seeing films I love receive recognition (of the past three winners I thoroughly enjoyed seeing The Artist and 12 Years a Slave reign triumphant on Oscar night).

  • Christophe

    Absolutely adore films about royalty, the rich and great artists or historical figures. Common working people bore me ! Also, the social network was flawed and overrated imo.

  • Sonja

    Well, if anything it shows that the way to the Oscars are a marathon, not a sprint.
    TSN was the most acclaimed technical perfect modern times biopic, yet it still lost to an old fashionated biopic who got its last boost from the BAFTAs (and maybe the knowledge the Queen herself has seen and liked the film).
    I do prefer TSN overall, but I can’t say that I’m devastated or actually surprised it lost to TKS (a film that I also do like). The Academy loves those kind of movies and in that year Harvey has pulled the last strings sucessfully.

  • Kai Lor

    I just think when it comes to films like The King’s Speech, Argo, The Artist, The English Patient, among others, everyone at one point or another are guilty at failing to bring up points being made on the film’s actual quality or their faults and shortcomings nor is the conversation really coming from a place of true objectivity.

    More often it is tied to their wins and favoritism during a certain period in time. It tends to always be from the PoV of this film was “fine” but that other film was so much better and soon enough the irrational and misplaced fury filled feelings of preference soon comes into play. It’s true that viewpoints about a film can never be both objectively and subjectively absolute concurrently, but in year like this where the taste of audiences, audiences and the industry ran like ice and fire, I think finding a balance between the two is really the only way to look through films through the Oscar looking glass.

  • Simon Warrasch

    Motion Picture “Toy Story 3”
    Achievement in Directing – David Fincher “The Social Network”
    Performance Actor Leding Role – Javier Bardem “Biutiful”
    Performance Actress Leading Role – Michelle Williams “Blue Valentine”
    Performance Actor Supporting Role – Geoffrey Rush “The King’s Speech”
    Performance Actress Supporting Role – Jackie Weaver “Animal Kingdom”
    Original Screenplay – Christopher Nolan “Inception”
    Adapted Screenplay – TIE – Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich “Toy Story 3” AND Aaron Sorkin “The Social Network”

    Some of the BIGGEST Snubs this year:

    Ryan Gosling “Blue Valentine” (Leading Actor)
    Christopher Nolan “Inception” (Directing)
    Andrew Garfield “The Social Network” (Supporting Actor)
    Noomi Rapace “Man som hatar kvinnor” (Leading Actress)

  • Dominik

    A couple of weeks ago I started to re-fresh my Top 10-lists from the past, well, decades.

    2010 looks like this:
    1. The Social Network
    2. The King´s Speech
    3. Carlos
    4. Incendies
    5. Winter´s Bone
    6. El secreto des sus ojos
    7. 127 Hours
    8. Dogtooth
    9. Another Year
    10. Fish Tank

    In retrospective, a pretty good year.

  • Jerry Grant

    For me, this was one of the weakest years in recent memory. The two that stood out to me above the rest were Toy Story 3 and 127 Hours. Both exceptional executions. 127 Hours maybe even more impressive than Slumdog. Toy Story 3 remains one of the most surprising and powerful of all animated films.

    I can appreciate both The King’s Speech and The Social Network, but neither really did it for me. The former is probably Tom Hooper’s best movie, but so 80s and so normal, and very good, but whatever. Still, I don’t get the uproar about it beating Social Network, which I can admire but not deeply admire. I never felt that it’s “about our age” in any profound sense. Fight Club and Zodiac are probably still my top Fincher films.

  • Jonathan M

    I remember how divisive that year was on this forum, I remember it getting dirty when xenophobia and Brit-bashing entered the debate over TSN and TKS. In hindsight, I don’t think either film will be remembered as great pictures. TSN was a great story, well scripted but it also featured unlikeable characters and a cold, stark aesthetic – a great time capsule movie perhaps. TKS was soppy and traditional and perhaps easier to like for the masses. It’ll be interesting if either appear as highlights of the decade given every year since 2010 has featured (imo) stronger films.

  • joe

    Social network not winning is a travesty. But the best of the ten nominees was 127 hours.

  • Karl

    “King’s Speech was a howler of a BP choice, but nothing tops the borderline despicable best picture choice of the prior year, which shall remain nameless and is *still* the least seen BP winner, adjusted for inflation, in the history of U.S. film.”

    I don´t have the time to check figures, but I´m almost certain that The Hurt Locker has been seen by many just not in the theatre. By the time it was nominated it was available on DVD and streaming. From talking with people, even not those heavily into film, many watched it to see Avatar´s competition. The theatrical run for The Hurt Locker was during the early summer. It was rereleased in theaters during Oscar season, but again it was mainly viewed at home.

  • You said ” You will watch The King’s Speech and feel the same way you did when you saw it the first time. ” Exactly what’s wrong with the film. I saw it in the theater. Pleasant experience. What’s not to like? Saw it again on DVD: nothing was added to my enjoyment. Same thing. No new thoughts. Some pleasure because of mid-level competence. Great? Nope. Tried it again a year or so later: unwatchable. Compare with “The Thin Red Line,” which I watched again yesterday (what, maybe for the 7th or 8th time?) because of Polley’s comment on the movie in the NY Times piece on woman directors and influences on them (and thanks for calling it to my attention). Great to begin with, grows in greatness every time I see it, constantly surprising me with new connections I make and the thoughts they inspire, constantly giving me more pleasure. “The Social Network,” I think, is up there pretty close to Malick’s great film instead of down there among the pleasant mediocrities like “The King’s Speech.”

  • Filmatelist

    THE SOCIAL NETWORK only won 3 Oscars, not four as the article asserts.

  • Steven

    As much as I loved The Social Network at the time ( and still do) I find myself watching The Kings Speech more often. One of my favorite Oscar Best Picture Winners.

  • Ruth

    I feel that 2010 is a rather weak year. In fact, it’s best film (The Social Network) is just about my lowest #1 of the year in the last 50 years. It’s got a good diversity of great films, but at the very top-end, it’s very desolate and simply cannot compete with any other year of the past decade, with only a couple films I’d even contemplate purchasing on DVD.

    That said, here’s my list. The top 11 here are all excellent.

    1. The Social Network
    2. Another Year
    3. Exit Through the Gift Shop
    4. Insidious
    5. Animal Kingdom
    6. Black Swan
    7. Toy Story 3
    8. Biutiful
    9. Oranges & Sunshine
    10. Certified Copy
    11. How to Train a Dragon
    12. The Ghost Writer
    13. Inception
    14. Rabbit Hole
    15. The Kids Are All RIght
    16. The Way Back
    17. Kick-Ass
    18. The King’s Speech
    19. 127 Hours
    20. True Grit

    HM: Paranormal Activity 2, Inside Job, Shutter Island, Four Lions, Tron: Legacy

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