It’s the same every year, you can’t help talking about them even if you really don’t want to. You find yourself comparing two films which in any other month of the year, would never be compared (The Kings Speech vs. Black Swan?). And even if some of the films are shoe ins, the February Oscar buzz is always infectious. At the time of last year’s awards, confirming my dire attendance record, I had seen two nominated titles; A Single Man, and The Hurt Locker (which went on to win Best Pic). This year I have reason to be excited; I’ve seen 6/10 titles, with the others lined up for watching this week. There is another reason, however, that makes this years crop a rather fine selection.
Whether it’s the dense boom of Black Swan‘s Tchaikovsky, Inception‘s building-bending (nevermind mind-bending) visual effects, or The Social Network‘s finely crafted screenplay, 2011’s nominee’s are films made to be watched in the cinema. The landscape and locations are particularly cinematic. In 127 Hours we were teased with the sprawling red rock of Utah, transmitting Ralston’s thirst for adventure in the isolated canyon’s. The foggy and ominous pre-war London of The Kings Speech, and the stunning expanse of Western land in True Grit demonstrates that this award season has offered us films which are truly pleasurable to the eye.
But the winner won’t triumph based on visuals alone, and the film’s whole package will need to be just as impressive. Based on that fact, I predict that The King’s Speech will take home the golden statuette, with it’s feel-good glow which permeates a few of this year’s nominations (Toy Story 3, 127 Hours). It has not only attracted a varying demographic within the UK, and reinvented the notion of ‘British’ in the U.S, but it has ignited hope in original creative products for the industry as a whole. However, my personal choice would be to see True Grit win; a smooth and stylized piece which refuses it’s viewer any emotional attachment. Even at the very end, which many have misinterpreted as bleak, we realize that perhaps Hailee Steinfeld’s lead was just as flawed as the porous men which surrounded her, leaving the spectator to re-question the motives behind every character they have encountered. A strait Coen’s story that sucks you in whilst keeping a few cards to its chest, and truly a worthy contender.