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The Social Network Leads IndieWIRE Critics, Gold Derby Polls

The Social Network Leads IndieWIRE Critics, Gold Derby Polls

Thompson on Hollywood

Yet again, The Social Network is proving itself to be a consensus title among critics. It tops indieWIRE’s critics poll. Many also loved Winter’s Bone or Black Swan, but they all love The Social Network. It may not be number one on every critic’s list, but it’s in just about every top five. 71 of the 124 voters in the poll mentioned it on their list. The next most popular film among IW’s polled critics was Olivier Assayas’ biopic mini-series Carlos–Assayas led the 2009 list with Summer Hours.

To those who say that The Social Networks’ huge success with critics presages an Academy Award Best Picture win–including Gold Derby’s Oscar experts–remember that critics are not Academy members. All this success is helping the movie, no question, but it doesn’t change the fact that The King’s Speech remains a soft lob down the middle for Oscar voters. They love this movie. So don’t count it out just yet.

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As much as I enjoyed “The Social Network,” I don’t think of it as an award-worthy film. It was an entertaining melodrama, but…there were many finer films made this year, and Jesse Eisenberg was playing the same character he always plays – his socially-awkward outcast role in this film not noticably different from his socially-awkward outcast roles in Adventureland or Zombieland or The Squid and the Whale. I’m hoping that this year finally belongs to Colin Firth (who should have taken an Oscar home for “A Single Man”).


I hope that The Social Network wins best picture, but I’m convincing The King’s Speech will win. It also annoys me that Jesse Eisenberg has no shot at the Best Actor Oscar. At the risk of being offensive, I’d like to point out that Colin Firth’s performance in The King’s Speech falls into Tropic Thunder’s “Half Retard” rule. Not that I’m suggesting people with stutters are in any way disabled, but simply that as an actor, Firth is demonstrating great physical control in his performance.

The simple fact is that most people don’t have a great deal of experience with people who have stutters, and so when we see a performance of someone with a stutter we say, “Wow, that must have been difficult, let’s give him an Oscar.”

Performances that delve into psyche are often overlooked, and while not as glamorous as a speech problem, performances like Eisenberg’s are what great acting is all about.

I’m also not suggesting people shouldn’t make movies LIKE The King’s Speech. I think it’s great to bring attention to the issue of stuttering, which effects so many people. But I think it does a disservice to the issue if people treat it as spectacle–look what Colin Firth did! Let’s give him an award!

The Academy Awards pretend that they’re about honoring art, but they often focus on the spectacle of artful films–make-up, weight gain, weight loss, vocal effects and loud crying: “That’s my daughter in there!”

Also, I never trust Harvey Weinstein and am convinced he’ll find a way to get every category: Director, Screenplay, Picture–all of them.

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