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Oscars: Why 'The King's Speech' will win best picture Sunday

The Kings Speech Oscar Win Peter Brown recently wrote an impassioned piece for Politics Daily about why "The King's Speech" shouldn't win for best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards because of its historical inaccuracies.

This view has nothing to do with the movie itself, but with the false impression it leaves that King George VI was the historical figure who rallied the British people during their darkest hours of World War II.

That figure, of course, was Winston Churchill.

By focusing on the small picture of King George VI's struggle with stuttering and how his overcoming it represented a remarkable individual triumph, however, the movie misses the big picture.

At the film's end, the screen fades to black and then tells us:

"Through his wartime speeches the king became a symbol of national resistance."

Perhaps so, but we need to be clear here.

The British leader whose mastery of the spoken word was most responsible for the country standing up to Germany in World War II, especially in the dark days before the United States entered the war, was not King George but Churchill.

My wish that the movie not win the biggest award in the film world stems from my belief that popular culture's power often leads public opinion to the wrong conclusion.

By that logic, "The Social Network" -- another inspirational film about how an odd character used technology to help shape the world we live in, and the other favorite to win best picture -- should also lose because, according to Mark Zuckerberg, the film got several facts wrong.

But if you want to win your Oscar pool Sunday, don't stumble over issues of historical accuracy -- Aaron Sorkin and David Seidler, after all, are screenwriters, not biographers.

Continue reading for how to predict Sunday's Oscar wins.

According to statistician Nate Silver, the odds are in favor of "The King's Speech" winning.

As I've noted, although "The King’s Speech" and "The Social Network" have won a roughly equal number of awards, "The King's Speech" has won those that matter most, like the awards from the directors' and producers' guilds. The statistical case for "The Social Network" rests on its victory at the Golden Globes, which does have some predictive power; the psychological one probably depends on it now having become the underdog since "The King's Speech" has been on such a winning streak. Nevertheless -- although we're retiring the pretense of decimal-point precision this year in favor of a softer, gentler approach -- "The King's Speech" is overwhelmingly more likely to win.

Gautam Dutta, a business and election lawyer, agrees. Writing for Zócalo Public Square, he deduces:

I've studied and advocated for ranked choice voting systems for years. Here is my educated guess of how this race breaks down -– and how the use of ranked choice voting will shape the result.

Although King's Speech probably heads into the polls as the top vote getter, it will fall short of a majority of first place votes (50 percent plus 1) in a crowded field.
So Best Picture will come down to whether King's Speech or Social Network get enough second-choice rankings to push either over 50 percent.

Here's my take on which of these Oscar favorites would be the second choice of the other seven nominees:

1. King’s Speech – second choice of fans of Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, and Fighter
2. Social Network – second choice of fans of Inception and The Kids Are All Right
3. Black Swan – second choice of fans of True Grit and Winter’s Bone

Based on this lineup, I would give King's Speech the edge. It is the sort of contestant built for a ranked choice contest, in that it offers something for everyone, and is likely to pile up second-choice and third-choice rankings.

RELATED:

Stuttering: It's on everyone's lips now

Banksy was here -- we think

Photos: Banksy redefines the Oscar campaign

Meghan Daum: During Oscar season, a rebel in a company town

'True Grit' vs. 'The Social Network'

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech." Credit: Weinstein Co.

 

Comments () | Archives (11)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Xian

Let's put it this way... "The King's Speech" is a charming British dramedy that hardly anyone will remember years from now, and most future movies will not take any technologically or narrative inspiration from it. Case in point: "Shakespeare in Love." The Best Picture award should go to "The Social Network" for capturing TODAY'S zeitgeist onscreen in a way that elevates David Fincher to the top of the directorial heap... after Zodiac and his previous films, it's apparent that between him and Chris Nolan, we have our generation's Stanley Kubrick. The other consideration should be for Nolan's "Inception." Years from now, folks will still be talking about this film, and many filmmakers will take from this film the inspiration to make other leaps in narrative and technological innovation onscreen. So, yeah, "The King's Speech" will win... whatever. Yawn. (and note, I loved the movie! but it's not going to be something people re-watch and remember years from now as a game-changer).

mediocre

The movie was real and upbeat. It also had a useful piece of information that I had learned as a high school teacher. I knew a few students who stuttered and I have known others who stuttered. Every one of those who stuttered, just like King George IV, were naturally lefthanded, but were forced to use their right hands.
Why isn't this information publicized?

Southern

Usually see more movies but not this past year. But I DID see The King's Speech.
I was a good movie. Carter and Rush were very good. Firth less so.
The movie dragged. The story was too small...... But it was a good movie.

The problem comes when you name it "Best Picture".

Honestly, if the King's Speech is the Best Picture of 2010......the industry is in trouble.

Marci Lopez

Of the 10 nominees, none were GREAT, at least to me. But all were solid. And at least, none of them were blatantly mediocre, as in some previous years.

DS

I think the list of best picture nominees in phenomenal this year. I've seen 8 of the 10, and I found The King's Speech, Winter's Bones, The Kids Are All Right, and The Social Network to be brilliant. I think the King's Speech will win--it is a great film. I'd love to see it go to the always relevant The Kids Are All Right, but I know that won't happen

juandeveras

".....Peter Brown recently wrote .... 'The King's Speech.......shouldn't win for best picture at Sunday's Academy Awards because of its historical inaccuracies.... (because of) the false impression it leaves that King George VI was THE historical figure who rallied the British people during their darkest hours during WW II.....that figure of course was Winston Churchill..."

Comment: Please, Mr. Brown, do not underestimate the public's ( British and American) knowledge of the very significant role played by Winston Churchill during WWII nor before during the Boer War, when he wrote the comments about 'Mohammedanism' in his book THE RIVER WAR in 1898 which resulted in Mr. Obama returning the bust of Churchill to the British last year. The general public already knew Churchill's very significant role. . It is not a revelation. But thanks anyway. There is no historical 'inaccuracy' there.

The British people's response to the efforts by George VI to be all he could be has never before been shown on the screen in a meaningful way; nor were the pro-Nazi sympathies of his spineless whipped brother, the Duke of Windsor, who might otherwise have been the monarch during this momentous time for the British. The comment in the film that Wallace Simpson was daily receiving carnations from the Third Reich was interesting, considering her influence over the Duke of Windsor. The theme of George VI's publicly dealing with his very human condition for all to see was courageous and inspirational for any commoner and revealed him to be a person no more nor less human than any of his subjects. He assumed the role of King reluctantly and proved to be far more than either he or his countrymen expected. Obviously the combined efforts and character of George VI and Churchill resulted a tandem blessing for each other and for England.

MDavis

Is the award now to be given for being a 'game changer' as suggested below? I thought the criterion was excellence in the craft. A lot of movies are innovative and move the industry a new direction; that does not ipso facto make them excellent.

Also, are they to be judged based on historical accuracy, or again on merit in the execution of the crafts involved in making movies? These are not documentaries or textbooks - movies are stories, representations, fabrications... what ifs...

Perhaps they have been elevated to something far beyond that...

MDavis

Is the award now to be given for being a 'game changer' as suggested below? I thought the criterion was excellence in the craft. A lot of movies are innovative and move the industry a new direction; that does not ipso facto make them excellent.

Also, are they to be judged based on historical accuracy, or again on merit in the execution of the crafts involved in making movies? These are not documentaries or textbooks - movies are stories, representations, fabrications... what ifs...

Perhaps they have been elevated to something far beyond that...

BuddhasBigButt

The Kings Speech indeed had some great cinematography. Very well made. The story although was the usual crap. So I'm going for Black Swan. It's really painful for me, since I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really like the Coen Brothers and True Grit was a good flick, too. Good ol' fashioned western with a neat wit. Inception I really didn't like. In my holy opinion it was a Matrix for poor people. I used to pitch a movie idea about the dreamworld back in 2000 called "The Material" and it Chris Nolan probably stole it from me. Yeah right. I'm just kidding. I stole it from the Matrix and spiced it up a little. Which basically describes the story of Inception. Anyways, my other 8 cents. Toy Story 3 = manufactured garbage for people who are easily impressed. The Fighter, Christian Bale is great in this and will probably win best supporting actor. But the movie all in all doesn't even get close to Fight Club. Just kidding :)
Actually, I'm not. Winter's Bone? Don't even get me started. The trailer is good. The movie could have been good but it wasn't. The Kids Are Alright... entertaining. Nothing more. The Social Network, don't even get me started. In my eyes Middle Men should be nominated. Facebook will go away. Internet porn will stay forever. So it's way more significant. And now for my secret little underdog 127 Hours. I think the cinematography can compete with The Kings Speech. Danny Boyle makes taking a sip of water through a straw look awesome. Also it's based on a true story and for me cutting your arm off to get out of a bad situation is way more impressive than a king overcoming his stammer. So for me, it's a close call between Black Swan, True Grit and 127 Hours.

Michael Docherty

Historical inaccuracy in a movie .
I am shocked to the core.
Does this mean it truly is the End Of Days ?

Californian

Hollywood appears never to tire of distorting history. : (


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