By the time the Oscars air next weekend I will have seen only one of the ten movies nominated for best picture, so take this next statement with a grain of salt. “The King’s Speech” is the most-worthy of all its acting and most its technical nominations out of all ten.
The film tells of the start of King George VI’s reign who not only had to deal with a kingdom his birthplace never intended him to inherit, but a stammer that made public speaking nearly impossible. More importantly, it focuses on the king’s (Colin Firth) strange friendship with speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who helps him realize the man and king he was meant to become.
As you know, I have seen a lot of films in my lifetime, not as many as some, but quite a few. And so I feel I can say with confidence that this was the first film that I did not have one single complaint to be found. I hesitate to call it perfect, however, because I know that every film has its flaws and I fear I was blinded by the sheer magnitude of the story and the brilliance of the performances to see them.
Both Rush and Firth are nominated for their roles, and if they do not win the Oscars this coming Sunday, I will truly have lost all hope for Hollywood. Both men completely immerse themselves into these characters, these men, and you cannot see any of the actors in their performances. Firth said in an interview that he came away from this movie with a huge perspective on people who stammer. He added that if they work half as hard to control their speech impediment as much as he did to create one, then they are truly remarkable people.
Their friendship is natural and easy, you can see why the king trusted this man so much just as clearly as you can see how Logue wanted to know the man behind the title. Perhaps the best example of the actors’ command of their roles as well as the beauty of the storytelling comes in the pivotal moment at the end of the film, when King George must make his first wartime speech. It is truly one of the most spellbinding moments in cinematic history and on the surface it looks like just two men in a sound booth. It is, of course, so much more than that and every gesture, ever word, Firth and Rush convey the countless layers that moment was built upon. Helen Bonham Carter is also nominated for her role as Queen Elizabeth and while it was a well-deserved nomination and a very well-acted role, I think the sheer power of the two male performances was so great it overshadowed the rest of the cast.
Like I said in the beginning of this column, this movie deserves to win the majority of the twelve nominations it deserves. I have no doubt that all three acting nominations, directing, writing and best picture nominations are looking good for wins. However, in some of the technical awards I am a little less confident. I have to point out all my comparisons are based on the trailers for most of the other movies.
Though the movie is up against “Black Swan” and “Inception” for cinematography (which deals with such things as framing and lighting), I think it has a good chance of wining since every single shot in “The King’s Speech” was absolutely breathtaking. For editing it is up against “Black Swan” and “127,” among others, and I think those two have the best chance of beating it out, and while the costumes were gorgeous, it is up against “Alice in Wonderland,” (which I have seen several times) and since “Wonderland” is the closet thing to an extravagant costume piece in the nominations, I’m betting on it to win. Period costume pieces almost always win.
The music and sound categories can be tricky, though I would think “The King’s Speech” has a better chance at wining for Best Score as it is up against three action movies in the sound mixing category and those are usually favorites to win.
So while I may not have seen every single film nominated for the Oscars (that’s all on Mel and I applaud her for it), the one I did get a chance to see most definitely deserved every single nomination.