Of these, six will probably carry home the majority of the golden men.
In an otherwise lackluster year, ten movies made the Oscar cut. Of these, six
will probably carry home the majority of the golden men. (Italics indicate
THE KING'S SPEECH - Shot through with class distinctions, family politics, and world history, the film remains, at its core, the story of two men. It is a duet with equal measures of humility and arrogance from both Colin Firth as George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist. The authenticity of their fractious partnership is dazzling. Watch also for an especially nuanced performance by Jennifer Ehle as the therapist's wife.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK - Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher, this is a superb comment on the phenomenon of the changing of the world by a generation of 20-year-olds. In this case it's Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard sophomore, who ignites the world of social networking with Facebook. By the time the company is valued at 25 billion dollars, Zuckerberg and his young peers find themselves dealing with the adult questions of betrayal, theft, and self-delusion. Jesse Eisenberg literally inhabits the arrogant game changer who wants to be accepted by his peers and can't understand his destiny as an outsider.
BLACK SWAN - This one is a horrific trip through perfection, obsession, and mental illness, but just try to take your eyes off the screen. Natalie Portman and the supporting cast save it from becoming a horror show. The line between reality and illusion is never clear and Portman carries that off with amazing physical and emotional credibility. She triumphs in the year's most demanding role.
TRUE GRIT - Joel and Ethan Coen salute the American Western with a finely crafted story of a young girl (Hailee Steinfeld) looking for her father's killer with the help of Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges. Mattie will take the measure of every man who crosses her path. Damon and Bridges create marvelous characters, but this is Hailee Steinfeld's movie. She asks for it, politely of course, and the men of the Wild West hand it to her gladly.
THE FIGHTER - As a fighter carrying the weight of the expectations of his huge and dysfunctional family, Micky (Mark Wahlberg) navigates the chaos of the small time boxing world and his bickering family. Performances by Wahlberg, Melissa Leo (as the mother from Hell), Christian Bale (the wasted family favorite), and Amy Adams (Micky's loyal, smart girlfriend) lift this one way beyond the ordinary fight film.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT - Annette Bening, Julianne Moore ad Mark Ruffalo - as a gay couple and their sperm donor - throw a contemporary light on the traditional subject of marriage. The actors convey the awkwardness of their emotional turmoil beautifully. With humor and edge, this family struggles with old and new issues in a new culture.
Critic's choice: Picture: King's Speech, Director: Tom Hooper, Actor: Colin Firth, Actress: Natalie Portman, Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush, Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo.
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