Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: The King's Speech

I suppose I must pick up my Oscar-pundit speed now. Sorry for the delays...

Let's talk about The King's Speech

As you know this film came roaring out of Toronto as the audience award winner (see previous post) and The Film to Beat at the Oscars... unless you think that's The Social Network but it's since it's only late September fans of either (in reality or in theory) need to calm down. We were always confident that The King's Speech was an Oscar film even before they started filming which is why we've predicted it for several nominations since April. But now that the trailer is here allowing non-festival goers to have a looksee, what do we think?

On the bright side, it looks fun. Or at least it looks fun to anyone who loved watching Eliza Doolittle learn to properly e·nun·ci·ate. It also gives Colin Firth a meaty role that seems like a reward for elevating A Single Man (2009) (but for the fact that he probably signed for this before anyone saw how great he was in last year's nominated turn). I'm also THRILLED -- and yes it needed to be typed in all caps -- to see that Helena Bonham Carter has managed to escape Burton's gothic dungeon for some badly needed air. She's probably heading straight to her second Oscar nomination with relative ease; You know how they love those supportive wives. What's most surprising about the trailer is that the production values look superb and not in some vaguely rote prestige way but with a vividly handsome specificity. I didn't expect great visuals so maybe Tom Hooper's Best Director buzz isn't so far-fetched for a film that on paper seemed like one for the acting and production design branches mostly.

On the other hand, I am completely allergic to Geoffrey Rush in hambone mode. His win for Shine (1996) is one of my least favorite Best Actor prizes in the category's history and they nominated him for the entirely wrong film in 1998 as he was much more restrained and effective in Elizabeth than he was in Shakespeare in Love. He looks to be bringing the kook to scenes that already have inherent kookiness (speech therapy's comedy friendly exercizes) and I may just break out in hives watching him go for a second Oscar. I'm taking epipen into the theater with me... just in case.

Then we come to the Oscar Bait -- as if Royalty Porn weren't enough of it -- which is the World War II 'Nazi's are coming!' time frame. I hope it's less awkwardly handled here than it was in Mrs. Henderson Presents which this film vaguely reminds me of sight unseen. That's not a purposeful mental jump. It's worrisome rather but probably just based on account of early Oscar buzz, prestige actors, and the world war haunting the periphery of a "light" film.

Again, I might need the epipen but the festival buzz is certainly something to think about in an optimistic way. I'm a Yes leaning Maybe So because, again, Geoffrey Rush is a total No for me most of the time ...especially whilst clowning around. Look, we can't help what we're allergic to. Don't give me a hard time about it.

Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So? And do you buy the Oscar frontrunner (or thereabouts) hype?

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