Critics Abandon 'The Social Network,' Join 'King's Speech' Bandwagon
By Jett Wells Posted Jan 28th 2011 02:20PM
Oscar season is a marathon stricken by fickle opinions and wavering tastes, but this year has been relatively drama-free thanks to consensus-favorite 'The Social Network' dominating the award shows. This week, however, some critics jumped ship. After 'Network's' top competitor, 'The King's Speech,' stole a win at the Producers Guild Awards and racked up the most Oscar nominations with 12, 'Speech' executive producer Harvey Weinstein and other pundits smelled blood in the water, but movie awards expert Scott Feinberg tells PopEater he's not buying it.
"I think they switched back because it's just a gut feeling that 'The King's Speech' is too perfect a movie for the Academy; they still feel the Academy is predisposed to go for old-fashioned movies that check off all the boxes that they've always responded to," Feinberg says.
Although 'The Social Network' swept the Golden Globes and most critics awards -- except for the British Independent Film Awards -- the one 'King's Speech' win at the PGAs has award pundits flipping completely, as surveyed on Movie City News. Feinberg, on the other hand, says 'The Social Network' is mathematically still very much in favor.
Most critics who flipped on 'The Social Network' have been staunch supporters of 'The King's Speech' for months, but were forced to change their minds after the Facebook movie dominated almost all of the award shows. "Critics that flipped were with 'Social Network' before the Broadcast Film Critics Awards and the Globes, so I don't think it's a shock they went back to that," Feinberg explains.
Feinberg calculates the PGA and the Oscars have only corresponded for Best Picture 67 percent of the time in the last 21 years, while the Directors Guild Awards provides a much better precursor with a 79 percent corrolation in the past 62 years. The Directors Guild Awards take place on Jan. 29.
"I think it's almost certain David Fincher is going to win the DGA, so I think people just got excited since the PGA is the only other award show that uses a preferential ballot and 'The Social Network' won in that way. But what they're forgetting is the the Academy is made up of 8 percent producers -- meanwhile, there's a much higher percentage of directors and actors," Feinberg says.
Feinberg goes on to speculate that one of the reasons 'The King's Speech' won the PGA was because guild members were already honoring him for a life-time achievement award. "I think they had already decided when Scott Rudin was getting a special career achievement award that night, so I think it was understood, saying 'hey, okay, his movie is already going to get acknowledged that night, let's spread the love," Feinberg said.
With all that said, Feinberg says the win still throws a wrench into the Oscar race weeks before the big dance. "I think the 'Social Network' team is concerned," Feinberg says. "I think that it's far from over and I think Harvey Weinstein knows that as well since there's all kinds of movement in terms of how they're strategizing, like right now, they're re-cutting 'The Kings Speech.'"
However, all speculation can be put to rest if 'The Social Network' wins Best Ensemble Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. "[Actors] are the largest percentage of the Academy, 22 percent, and if it goes for 'The Social Network,' then I think it's game-set-match," Feinberg concludes.
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