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February 02, 2011  | by: Brandon Kirby

The King's Speech Pulls Ahead in Oscar Race

A lot has happened during the past couple of weeks, causing an end-of-the-Oscar-award-season 180-degree switch, which has launched The King’s Speech into the front-runner spot over the formerly preferred The Social Network.

It’s as if we’re back in October and November when experts were predicting The King’s Speech to be the one to beat at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.  Before now, David Fincher’s The Social Network easily dominated the awards circuit making it the clear winner.  As of Sunday night’s SAG awards, however, we’re back to where we started as Tom Hooper’s historical period piece about the stammering King George VI is set to win Best Picture at the Oscars later this month.

The question is: how did we get here?

It starts with two harbingers earlier in January:

  • The King’s Speech was awarded a win from the Producers Guild of America, a known predictor of the Best Picture winner.  Considering how The Social Network had been doing up to this point, however, it wasn’t taken as such a game-changer.
  • Then came the Oscar nominations where The King’s Speech led with a whopping 12 nods over The Social Network‘s eight.  Number of Oscar nods, however, doesn’t guarantee a win for the top prize.

Following these came two additional harbingers that led to The Social Network‘s Oscar hopes going out the window:

  • The Directors Guild of America awarded Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech over David Fincher for The Social Network, a huge upset for the Oscar outcome. Only six times in its history has the DGA not awarded the soon-to-be Oscar winner for Best Director.
  • This past Sunday at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, The King’s Speech also reigned supreme, taking the win for Best Acting Ensemble, the equivalent to winning Best Picture.

All of these combine to create the perfect awards climate for The King’s Speech to come out on top, and it all happened within just a few short weeks. It makes sense, though, considering Fincher’s Facebook movie is cold, young, and hip; it’s not a movie the academy can easily get behind. The same crowd who openly praised and awarded The Social Network at the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Awards is not the same crowd among the academy.

This year, the academy is looking to the heart-warming and distinguished British film from across the pond for their Best Picture winner. But maybe just for fun I’ll keep my predictions the way they are. You never know.

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