The Golden Globes were a fraud...as usual.
So, the Screen Actor's Guild Awards is the real start of the speculation on who will be the new Hollywood Royalty after this 2011 Academy Awards.
So far, people think that The King's Speech is the odds-on favorite for Best Picture, after The Social Network was given that title thanks to movie critics and film societies. People are now betting on TKS because Oscar voters are old, and like quaint things. TKS is an old-fashioned British period piece like (ugh) The English Patient. It's about a British King....who has a stammer....which he has to overcome as his country is hurtling towards World War II. It screams Oscar bait, although not on purpose. This is to Oscar voters what Red Bull is to college students who have to finish a term paper three hours before it's due.
Granted, I loved it. Seeing Colin Firth as a King who is just plain scared to talk in public places, partially because he thinks he's destined to be lost in the shadow of the future Edward VIII, is quite a sight. Remember, we see him as the dashing romantic hero with a way with words.
Still, Oscar voters would rather vote for this man rather than Jesse Eisenberg, who plays the total asshole who gave us Facebook. In fact, Jesse might be considerd third behind Jeff Bridges, who is wonderful as the real Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. I just saw the 1969 version on AMC, and that version just wouldn't fly today. John Wayne got his Oscar for that version because it was mainly his last hurrah as a western hero. However, The True Grit of 1969 was too...bright and clean. It was more of a family movie, like The Rifleman. The Coens thought we should see the real True Grit of the 1880's. We hear what people really talked like back then. We don't see Mattie's family because, aside from Rooster and LeBouef, she is on her own in her bid to avenge her father's murder. Also, the ending is much different.
It also made me wonder...how would John Wayne handle Hallie Steinfeld, and how she portrayed Mattie Ross. It would have been a better match.
But back to TKS.....it's a good piece of history, but The Social Network is also good history, and it cuts between the two lawsuits Mark Zuckerberg is battling, and how he created Facebook. You see Eisenberg as a driven guy who is so focused, he forgets to make enough friends to have his back. It's a good story...if you're under 45. If not, you'll go to the old-fashioned drama of TKS.
Overall, the academy may spread the wealth in the major awards. TKS gets Best Actor and maybe Best Picture, Social Network gets Best Director and Adapted Screenplay, Inception should get Best Original Screenplay while Christopher Nolan would have the right to punch anyone who didn't think he should have been in the Best Director mix, Christian Bale gets Supporting Actor for The Flighter, while Steinfeld wins Supporting Actress, and Natalie Portman wins Best Actress for Black Swan (and for wisely making a sex comedy that will be 125 times better than the kind of sex "comedies" that will come down the pike in a few weeks (coughJustGoWithItcoughHallPasscoughevenworsethanNoStringsAttached).
ETA: Sure enough, TKS takes best cast. If the actors are leaning towards the traditional choice, then Social Network just lost its last chance to get the middle-age vote. TKS is a shoo-in in the BAFTAs in two weeks. It's all because in TKS, we have a hero and a comeback story. In Social Network, you have a massive jerk who just didn't have enough regrets while he was changing how we use the internet.
I am surprised Melissa Leo beat Hailee Steinfeld in Best Supporting Actress. It looks like Leo will get the sweep, along with Christian Bale. Steinfeld's last best hope could be the BAFTAs, if she wins Best Actress over Natalie Portman. I really think if we get a major upset somewhere, it would be there.