Many pundits believe that the Oscar Best Picture race is already over since "The Social Network" has won every major showbiz award so far, but -- whao! hold your horses, Derbyites! Our pal Tariq Khan (Fox News) sends us his five reasons why "The King's Speech" may still reign. Words below are Tariq's:
1.) It will get the most nominations.Over the past 40 years, the film with (or tied with) the most nods has won best pic 75 percent of the time. "King"seems guaranteed to get at least 11, while "The Social Network" might max out at 9. Of course, this hardly seals the deal — but it bodes well for "King."
2. It will perform better among actors, the largest branch of the Academy. One of the key reasons that "The Hurt Locker" defeated "Avatar" last year was that it had more support among actors. While the acting in "Social" is top notch, it can't compete with the richness of "King"— a thespian's dream. We all know that "King" can count on three acting nominations, while "Social" might end up with just one. It's a scenario that could be identical to the "Shakespeare in Love"-"Saving Private Ryan" battle more than a decade ago. And we all know how that ended.
3.) It will win the SAG award for ensemble acting. (At least I think it will.) If it does, it will get a nice bounce right as voting begins. Timing is everything, and the SAG win could turn the tide. Recall that both "Shakespeare in Love" and "Crash" won the top SAG prize before pulling off huge Oscar upsets.
4.) The preferential ballot will work in its favor. Remember, the film with the most number-one votes does not necessarily win. It's the film with the most overall high-ranking votes. Praise for "King" seems universal, and I would imagine that most Academy members will have it in their top three. "Social" may not score quite as well across the board.
5.) It benefits from the underdog status. Academy members don't want us to think that we have them all figured out. They want to show that they think for themselves, and don't simply rubber stamp all the choices made by other groups. The sweep by "Social" in the pre-Oscar sweepstakes might make the Academy all the more keen to crown a different film.
Photo: "The King's Speech" (Weinstein)