I can't say I didn't see the King's Speech victory coming, but it still disappoints me (and the Director win, too). You wouldn't know it since I neglected to post a Best of 2010 list, but The Social Network was my pick for best movie of the year. I think any major problems somebody could have with a movie are absent from The Social Network. That movie will become one like E.T. or Do the Right Thing that people will appreciate more than the actual winner.

The King's Speech is very entertaining and has a great cast, but it's not necessarily anything we've not seen before. It's another royal costume drama that condenses history into a manageable story. I don't think every Best Picture winner has to be a complete original (no doubt there's someone somewhere saying The Social Network owes too much in structure and character treatment to Citizen Kane), but I don't fully think there's anything too distinctive about The King's Speech. I think it will eventually be considered something akin to On the Waterfront: a very good movie whose most justified claim to fame is its acting.

The same goes for Black Swan and The Fighter. Neither movie is great, but their actors deserved the recognition.

For the record, this is my alphabetical approximation of the best movies from last year:

Blue Valentine
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech (Don't accuse me of double standards yet. This would be in the bottom five of this ten.)
My Dog Tulip
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit

Honorable Mentions:
The Robber (It has not yet been distributed, but I saw it at the New York Film Festival.)
The Secret of Kells (It was nominated for Best Animated Feature last year, so I decided not to count it as a 2010 film.)
Waking Sleeping Beauty

Okay, what else is there?

Well, I'd say the voters for Best Song were just feeling sorry for Randy Newman. He's been nominated 20 times and this is only his second win. If that was the case, they should have voted for him last year with "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog. That was a better song and it created a sequence I can't stop talking about. (I still haven’t seen Crazy Heart, so I may change my mind when I do hear last year’s winner, “The Weary Kind.”) Maybe this Toy Story 3 win was their repentance for not picking "You've Got a Friend In Me" or "When She Loved Me" from the first two Toy Story movies. Or maybe they just liked Toy Story 3 more than the other three nominated movies. Anyway, I was expecting "I See The Light" from Tangled to win, which is far from being Alan Menken's best song, but it does represent the best sequence in the movie. I'd just like to see Menken win at least one more Oscar one of these days.

I'm glad Inception got those four technical awards. It was by far the best live-action blockbuster of last year. I do kind of wish True Grit won Best Cinematography, or maybe both movies should have tied. Roger Deakins is very overdue for getting this award. I have only seen There Will Be Blood once, but I say Deakins should have won that year for No Country For Old Men. God, did that movie look marvelously bleak.

Kirk Douglas was my favorite presenter (though I did like some of the patter between Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law). He kept prolonging the Supporting Actress announcement to funny effect. I think the applause when Melissa Leo took the Oscar and approached the microphone was more for him since he was finished speaking. (Don't worry, they applauded Leo plenty as she walked to the stage.) I've come to appreciate Douglas' acting a lot more after watching Ace in the Hole and Paths of Glory last year, so I'm glad he's still around. Whenever he shows up in the In Memoriam montage, it will be too soon. (Speaking of which, what movie was that Leslie Nielsen clip of? Was Airplane! not good enough for the Academy? At least they used Sweet Smell of Success for Tony Curtis.)

Speaking of montages...STOP with the general or themed montages! Unless we get one for animation that has the decency to include obscurities like The Last Unicorn and The Thief and the Cobbler, I think I'm through with these montages. The opening had two Best Picture montages, one showing straight clips and one inserting Franco and Hathaway into clips like when Billy Crystal hosted. (I hope his appearance generates support for bringing him back.) Then we got another one right before the Best Picture award was announced. The Golden Globes can fill three hours without this many montages. Please let us get another few minutes of sleep.

I did find the so-called "Year of Musicals" package amusing, but it went on too long.

Franco looked bored, but at least he was game for some drag. Hathaway was okay. Maybe she could host alone or with someone like Ryan Gosling (who should have been nominated for Blue Valentine, by the way). What if Tom Hanks and Tim Allen hosted? That could bring in the young audience the producers want, right?

Strangely, I was partly disappointed Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature. Maybe it's the part of me that itches for surprises. I still think Toy Story 3 is an excellent movie, but I've decided Toy Story 2 is the best piece of the trilogy. It would have been nice if How to Train Your Dragon won and DreamWorks was rewarded for making a movie built on story instead of modern references. (There aren't any names dropped in Dragon, but the characters still talk with modern vernacular.) Maybe it would encourage the studio to stop making glib and impersonal movies like Shark Tale and Megamind.

I'll end with some good news: The Last Airbender won Worst Movie at the Razzies Saturday night. I still debate on whether that or Piranha 3D was the worst movie I saw last year, but Airbender deserved some sort of recognition for emasculating one of my favorite TV shows.

Until next year, when Cars 2 could break Pixar's winning streak and Meryl Streep will surely get another nomination for playing Margaret Thatcher.


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