All the King's Men: EW and Phoenix Critics Defy 'Social Network' Wins
Here's why Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger won't give in to his doubts about The King's Speech as best picture -- and the Phoenix Film Critics back him up with the King's first victory over The Social Network.
Both the Gurus o'Gold and Gold Derby pundits polls just deposed the King and enthroned The Social Network as their best bet for best picture -- and if Steve Pond and I hadn't changed our votes at the last minute, the latter poll would've favored Network two to one. "Believe me, I've wavered back and forth," confesses EW's Dave Karger. But like me, he won't budge on his royal bet just because critics nationwide voted for his rival. "Oscar voters are not critics," argues Karger. "If they were, then L.A. Confidential would have beaten Titanic. And Brokeback Mountain would have won over Crash." SAG gave Network two noms, versus four for the King and The Fighter. The only thing that could swing Karger's vote: if the guilds go for Network in a big way.
But Karger did switch his best actress prediction from Annette Bening to Natalie Portman, the fickle thing.
Riding to the King's partial rescue are the 25 Phoenix Film Critics, the first big group to vote The King's Speech best picture. They gave more awards (8) to Inception, and included in the Top 10 Films list Shutter Island, which has been attracting much noisy support in the comments section of IMDb's Top 10 movies list.
Diehard Social Network advocate Sasha Stone retorts to Karger, noting that Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, and The Departed also got two SAG noms. "Finally, L.A. Confidential had Titanic breathing down its neck," says Stone. "You're only as good as the Best Picture you're standing next to."
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Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, is one of the entertainment industry's most experienced and trusted experts about the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys. He started on the awards beat in 2001, writing for independent websites including his own ScottFeinberg.com before joining the Los Angeles Times and then THR, for which he writes “The Race” blog, which won the LA Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Award for best entertainment blog of 2012-2013. A voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics' Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association, he is also writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 500 high-profile Hollywood figures whose careers span the silent era through the present.
Follow Scott on Twitter at twitter.com/scottfeinberg.