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The ACE and BAFTAs…A Shift in the Winds?

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week, I reported that “The King’s Speech” cleaned up at the British Academy Awards. However, this was to be expected. Records for acting awards and the first film to win both of their Best Film and Best British Film. Go figure, considering it’s the most widely popularized British film since “Shakespeare in Love.” However, on the whole, I almost have to say that “The King’s Speech” underperformed at the BAFTAs, and if one film had an equal, or possibly better night overall, it would have to be “The Social Network.”

No, this is not favoritism. No, it is not just just wishful thinking. I think at this point of the race, it is now more neck and neck between the two big contenders than it ever has been. For the first two weeks after nominations were announced, it was all all about “The King’s Speech,” especially after picking up its trio of key guild awards. However, after the BAFTAs, the WGA, and now the ACE victory, “The Social Network” has shown that it could very easily take home the big prize. One simply has to look at the past and the science behind it all.

Yes, it’s true that the PGA, DGA and SAG are all very heavy hitters when it comes to inducing a Best Picture win. However, in the long run, it looks like “The King’s Speech” will be down several big awards on Sunday night. This takes us back to why the BAFTAs were such a key event. While taking them for a sweep, “The King’s Speech” managed to lose Director and Editing, perhaps the two key awards in the Best Picture race. After winning the American Cinema Editors top prize, “The Social Network” seems to have Best Editing in the bag, along with the obvious Best Adapted Screenplay. And one has to wonder that if the Brits won’t even bestow Tom Hooper with the big director’s prize, how willing will the Academy be to snub David Fincher for what is quite possibly his finest work to date and maybe ever again.

Now, let’s look at the stats. Best Director and Best Editor are more engrained in the blood of a Best Picture winner than any other awards. An example of how important the editing honor is, no film has won Best Picture in over thirty years (not since “Ordinary People” in 1980) without being nominated for Best Editing. Many people believe that aside from the homophobia, this was the bane of “Brokeback Mountain,” being that “Crash” had the fervent support of the editors with both Oscar and ACE awards under its belt. Now, granted, both “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network” have been nominated for that award, so the race does not end on this stat.

However, here’s some other info to chew on. If “The Social Network” does win Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editing, however loses Best Picture, it will be only the 3rd film in the history of the Oscars to do so. The other two were “Traffic” in ’00 and “A Place in the Sun” in ’51. Furthermore, in the situation that “The Social Network” wins Directing and Editing: Only 2 films in the last 20 years have won Best Picture without winning either of those two awards (“Gladiator” in ’00, “Shakespeare in Love” in “98). Going back even further, only 5 films in the last 50 YEARS have accomplished that task. In this regard, precedents for “The King’s Speech” winning peg it at only about 1 in 10.

If ancient history is too flimsy for some, let’s look at the last decade. Three of the last four films to win Best Picture (“The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” and “The Departed”) all took home Director, Screenplay and Editing. Also, in regard to the recent American Cinema Editors award, 7 out of the last 10 films to win Best Picture also won the ACE, and in the years that they didn’t, the winner of the ACE went on to take Best Editing at the Oscars, which speaks well for “Social Network,” as well.

There are a few big precedents to support a “King’s Speech” victory, most glaringly would be “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan.” However, one event is strangely alike to the present year that stands behind a “Social Network” upset and that is 1995. Before Oscar night, “Apollo 13” had taken the PGA, the DGA and the SAG. “Braveheart” had taken the Golden Globe for Best Director, the BFCA for Best Director, the ACE and the WGA. Freakishly similar. “Braveheart” came out victorious. Perhaps the only thing that separates it would be that Ron Howard was not nominated for Oscar’s Best Director, while Tom Hooper is. However, “Braveheart” also did not have the added incentive of having won practically EVERY SINGLE BEST PICTURE AWARD THAT EXISTS up to the PGA.

A lot of jargon, right? What does it all mean? It means that I have made a decision to support “The Social Network” to the final moments in regards to my Best Picture prediction. Hope may be a dangerous thing in this game, but if ever there was a year that I had to hold on to it, it would be this one. Will I be wrong? Possibly. Probably. Yet, I imagine a scenario in which “The Social Network” won and I predicted against it. I’d never forgive myself.

And in all honesty, I really think it’s going to happen.

Well, I’m off to work on the Edgies. Stay tuned for the winners’ announcement on Thursday evening, while my final Oscar predictions will have to wait until Saturday night. I spare not a second.

“King’s Speech” and “Social Network” Win at BAFTAs

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

It kind of went without saying that “The King’s Speech” was destined to rape the living hell out of these awards since September when the film debuted at the Venice Film Festival. Apparently, it’s the most widely popular and acclaimed British film since, I don’t know….”Lawrence of Arabia,” though I surely don’t understand it. This is a big moment for our English brethren across the Atlantic to pat themselves on the back. A pretty strong example of this is how the British Academy Awards actually have two awards for Best Picture: Best Film and Best British Film. For years they have made it so that no film wins both awards, but rather spread the wealth. Guess what’s the first film ever to take home every Best Picture award on the market?

“The King’s Speech” ended up taking home seven awards, total. Aside from being the first film to achieve the accolade above, the film also became the first film in BAFTA history to take home three awards for acting. Colin Firth, of course, nailed the Best Actor win (not even the real King George risen from the dead could stop Firth from sweeping straight to Oscar glory). However, the film also won supporting awards for both Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. While Geoffrey Rush is definitely picking up a bit of steam, don’t expect a repeat in the American Academy Awards. If anyone can unseat Melissa Leo, it will be Hailee Steinfeld (sadly).

Despite all of the above, “The King’s Speech” was not the only big winner of the night. Many believed that “The Social Network” was TKOed, not just for these awards, but for year, as well. Some of this ideology was attributed to the film only garnering six nominations (compared to “The King’s Speech”‘s fourteen) or perhaps the heavy American sentiment laden in the work. However, all of this was rendered false, last night, when “The Social Network” won three very substantial awards: Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for David Fincher. If the Brits won’t even give their award to newcomer Tom Hooper, I can’t see any reason why the American awards circuit would stoop that low.

Check out the full list of winners, below:

BEST FILM: “The King’s Speech”
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher – “The Social Network”
BEST LEADING ACTOR: Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Helena Bonham Carter – “The King’s Speech”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “The King’s Speech”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “True Grit”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: “The King’s Speech”
OUTSTANDING BRITISH DEBUT: “Four Lions”
BEST EDITING: “The Social Network”
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “The King’s Speech”
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “Inception”
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SOUND: “Inception”
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “Inception”
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR: “Alice in Wonderland”
BEST SHORT FILM: “Until the River Runs Red”
BEST SHORT FILM, ANIMATION: “The Eagleman Stag”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
BEST ANIMATED FILM: “Toy Story 3”
RISING STAR AWARD: Tom Hardy