Two of our favorite Oscarologists — Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly) and Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) — agree to disagree about what will win Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. Dave says he is sticking with “The King’s Speech” despite the shift among other pundits to critics darling “The Social Network” which Sasha backs.
As Dave explains, “I keep reminding myself that Oscar voters are not critics. If they were, then ‘L.A. Confidential’ would have beaten ‘Titanic.’ And ‘Brokeback Mountain’ would have won over ‘Crash.’ (Of course, critics and Academy members line up sometimes too, as they did last year with ‘The Hurt Locker.’) The only group to announce so far with a voting body that overlaps with the Academy is the Screen Actors Guild, and I find it interesting that ‘Network’ earned only two nominations compared to four for ‘Speech’ or ‘The Fighter.’ I keep hearing from many Academy members who absolutely adore ‘The King’s Speech.'”
But says Sasha, “My argument for Dave wouldn’t necessarily be ‘The King Speech’ vs. ‘The Social Network,’ but rather ‘The Fighter,’ ‘Toy Story 3,’ ‘True Grit’ AND ‘The King’s Speech’ vs. ‘The Social Network.’ All good movies with their strengths. It’s true that Academy voters are different from critics. They work in the industry, they vote for their friends. Are they really voting in a vacuum, ignoring in mass (there are 5,755 voting members) what critics and others think? Perhaps. But think about that number: 5,755. If Dave thinks the only reason they want to give ‘The Social Network’ Best Picture is because it’s an American story, with all due respect, I think he has another think coming. Movies that work on every level as this one does, ferociously written, expertly directed, well acted — you don’t just walk by them. No one who works in Hollywood would walk by this one.”