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In the biggest stunner of the Oscar campaign season, the Producers Guild of America gave its best-picture equivalent to The King’s Speech. Globes, schmobes — the PGA is the better Oscar predictor. This race just went from a done deal to a dead heat, and from dead boring to exhilarating.
Here are the best five facts about Saturday’s dynamite announcement that The Social Network‘s invincibility was an illusion, and The King’s Speech took the PGA prize that makes the Critics’ Choice Awards and Golden Globes look like baubles a baby babbles over.
1. “I literally jumped out of my skin when they said our name,” King’s Speech director Tom Hooper told pundit Steve Pond. Since the PGA win boosts Hooper’s odds of seizing the director’s Oscar as well, he may be the first flayed winner ever to squeeze into a tuxedo. Eeew. The Facebook movie’s Oscar had seemed absolutely palpable to all; then, with a breath from the heavenly Helen Mirren, everything solid melted into air.
2. Many pundits noted that since PGA uses a preferential ballot system and a ten-picture slate, it’s a better simulation of Oscar process than other awards. The Globes might as well be a game of marbles by comparison.
3. “Sony stains collective shorts,” speculates pundit David Poland.
4. “TSN will be helped a bit by this,” twittered diehard Social Network victory party planner Sasha Stone. “So how is this better for TSN? It gets the rare moment to be an underdog for a change…but you should bet all your money on TKS winning at least Best Picture at the Oscars.”
5. “Maybe I’ll catch a little less abuse now,” twittered diehard King’s Speech win-predicting EW pundit Dave Karger. However, he cautioned, “Sasha, but it’s definitely not over yet!” The horses are panting nose to nose, and SAG could provide the next shocking reversal.
The least surprising PGA Award to me was Waiting for ‘Superman’‘s vanquishing of Inside Job for the doc Oscar, oops, I mean the PGA. Inside Job is a masterful job of making abstruse economic calamities comprehensible, indeed cinematic art of a high order, but it makes you want to kill yourself, but not before putting a cream pie in the face of the film’s Wall Street execs who seem to have taken repugnant smugness lessons from Christoph Waltz‘s Col. Hans Landa. (Hm, wonder what a Freddie Mac symbol would look like carved into somebody’s forehead?) Waiting for ‘Superman’ rubs your nose in the rot of our system, but it leaves a ray of hope. That’s what wins awards.
Perhaps, for all its blue-hued brilliance, The Social Network is too nearly hope-free, full of moral monsters bent on success at any price at a time when, in the real world, success is hogged by few and hope squelched for all — a fact celebrated by Inside Job‘s top hogs. Maybe not even successful producers want to hear about Zuckerberg’s obscene success anymore.
In his ingenious dissent from EW colleague Karger’s pro-King’s Speech posts, EW’s Owen Glieberman argued that Colin Firth‘s king was a symbol of Obama, and Obama’s eloquence has clearly failed a nation circling the drain. Obama’s moment was over, and so was the film’s. So Social Network was the zeitgeist film likely to win.
Improbably, Obama seems to be bouncing back (despite a flatlining workforce). And so is The King’s Speech.
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