If you want to know what film the pundits are naming the frontrunner, you can now officially call that film The King’s Speech. Although it isn’t a complete consensus, and there are holdouts. Kris Tapley put Toy Story 3 at number one (just like last time out), while USA Today’s Anthony Breznican and MCN’s David Poland both have True Grit in the number one spot. Many others, including Anne Thompson, Pete Hammond and Dave Karger all have The King’s Speech at number one.
The film’s acting nominations also lead in their field – Colin Firth is the one most likely to succeed, according to almost all of the members of this panel — the holdouts are Breznican, who says Jeff Bridges, and David Poland, who thinks James Franco wins. I don’t know much about this race at this stage of the game, and I haven’t yet seen 127 Hours, but bet against Firth at your own peril.
Annette Bening leads the Best Actress field — I am a holdout on this, but I made this prediction without having yet seen Black Swan. I am not at all confident about this category yet – I need to see all of the contenders. If I could have withheld my prediction, I would have. I am in agreement that a win for Bening would be a great thing.
Supporting actress is also all over the place. I don’t think this chart is going to end up being very reliable at all. I took a gamble on Melissa Leo in The Fighter based on nothing except her overdue status.
The one win I do feel strongly about is Supporting Actor – I think Geoffrey Rush has this pretty easily at this point. It is his best performance, and the best one in the film (that’s saying a lot, considering how good Firth is).
The charts are here.
But Best Picture is grouped this way – a * indicates a film that hasn’t yet been seen:
1. The King’s Speech
2. The Social Network
4. Toy Story 3
5. True Grit*
6. 127 Hours
7. The Kids Are All Right
8. Black Swan
9. Another Year
I see that I’m the lone holdout on Secretariat. It’s probably true that its Best Pic chances could be in jeopardy, especially if Disney puts all of their might behind Toy Story 3, and if the film doesn’t make long tail money.
So, from here on out we are going to put The King’s Speech in the frontrunner position and assume it is the general consensus frontrunner. To answer the question as to which film will win Best Picture, you have to ask yourself if you think it’s the best film of 2010. It will have the least amount of enemies. Many will be charmed by it and it will warm the cockles of their hearts. The Best Picture race is won by the directing and the writing more so than by the acting, though having a great ensemble does help.
I am more comfortable when no one agrees with me than when they all do. After all, I’ve been having the same fight for about four years now, with a break when Slumdog came through: no one thought The Departed, The Hurt Locker and No Country were going to be Best Picture winners because they supposedly lacked the required sentimental content. Take this, as you should take everything, with a healthy dose of skepticism.
As late as November, last year’s Gurus of Gold had The Hurt Locker in the third position, with Up in the Air at number one. The October 23 (slightly later than now) chart had Atonement over No Country for Old Men.¬† And a November 2 chart even had Benjamin Button over Slumdog Millionaire. And finally, although I had The Departed as my Best Picture winner the moment I saw it I didn’t start predicting it until November, I don’t think. At any rate, by October 31, we all still had Dreamgirls as our winner, with The Departed as number 5 (Stephen Holt and Eugene Hernandez had it at number 1).
The common thread I see here, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that the predicted film back in October/November is a film that hadn’t yet opened, versus a film that had already opened and done well but was being underestimated.
Tom O’Neil’s Gold Derby is going to emerge on November 1st and we will have a new group of pundits (many of the same pundits) to contend with.
The one thing I always find funny about Oscar season is how many people pretend to know more than they do. These are “throw it all on the wall and see what sticks.” No one has any real knowledge, despite their confidence that they do. To me, it comes down to what film IS the best – it is one part a film everyone can agree upon, but another part something that emerges as wholly new. Great filmmaking is recognizable and exciting. If it isn’t exciting, if it doesn’t stir you somehow in an unexpected way, it isn’t going to win Best Picture. They don’t just settle when they vote – they vote passionately for films they love. Maybe that film is The King’s Speech and maybe it isn’t.