From 'Titanic' to 'La La Land': A Closer Look at the Oscar Backlash Phenomenon

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The King’s Speech (2010)
Everett Collection 6/10

The King’s Speech (2010)

At First: It’s so nice to see a gentle, inspiring, well-made true story that doesn’t weigh itself down with biographical heft. And who doesn’t love Colin Firth?

But Then: It’s so irritating to see a minor, competently made true story elevated into the realm of great or even very good art. And who still cares about Colin Firth?

Notable Competition: The Social Network was the biggie, but in the Oscars’ second year of expanding beyond five movies, The King’s Speech was arguably the weakest of a strong bunch that also included Inception, Toy Story 3, Black Swan, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone.

Strength of Backlash (1-10): 6, perhaps benefitting from a certain weariness. Plenty of film fans didn’t care much for King’s Speech, but its victory over movies by David Fincher, the Coen Brothers, Debra Granik, Christopher Nolan, Lisa Cholodenko, Darren Aronofsky, and Pixar was considered a fait accompli pretty early on. 

Degree of Deserving (1-10): 8. There are worse recent Best Picture nominees (The Reader; The Blind Side; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Hacksaw Ridge). But none of them won. I hate to bust out the creaky how-many-re-watches argument, because re-watching a movie on a lazy Sunday afternoon is not necessarily the only way of measuring a film’s success. But it’s hard to picture anyone throwing on The King’s Speech to re-immerse themselves in that world, the way they might for the talking toys or the dream thieves or even the crazy ballet dancers.

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