When I go to the movies, I am particularly drawn to the performances of the actors. Consequently, my decision as to whether I like a movie or not is dependent on my opinion of the actors’ performances. Apparently, I am not alone in this area. There have been at least three major Academy upsets over the years that can be attributed to acting excellence.
In 1981, for example, the movie “Ordinary People,” starring Timothy Hutton and Mary Tyler Moore, defeated “Raging Bull” for best picture. The Moviefone.com website says this film about a dysfunctional family and a suicidal teen was “driven by a fiercely moving performance from newcomer Timothy Hutton” and “this Robert Redford directed drama came out of nowhere to KO Martin Scorsese’s seemingly unbeatable boxing flick.” I can concur with Moviefone’s analysis of the reason for “Ordinary People’s” success, because I have seen the movie myself, and I was really touched by Hutton’s performance. It was no surprise to me that “Ordinary People” won the best picture Oscar that year.
Another example of how exceptional acting has influenced the outcome of the Academy Awards was in 1977 when “Rocky,” starring Sylvester Stallone took best picture. Moviefone.com says the performance of “Sly Stallone, [upstaged] the likes of Redford, Scorsese, and Lumet.” When I saw the movie myself, I could see the effort and the work that Stallone put into his character, and I would agree with Moviefone’s statement that Stallone outshined the other nominees for best picture.
In 1952 “An American In Paris” defeated “A Streetcar Named Desire” for the best picture Oscar. Although Moviefone.com explained this victory as the audience preference for “a feel good musical … starring fair love Gene Kelly over a real downer of a drama with a brooding Marlon Brando.” I happen to believe that it was the exceptional dancing and acting of Gene Kelly that made the difference in the victory of “An American In Paris” over “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Seeing as how the outstanding performances of various actors in the past have contributed significantly to the outcomes of the Academy Awards, I have no reason to believe “The King’s Speech” will fare any differently. The performance of Colin Firth as King George VI cannot, in my opinion, be defeated by any other performances in the 2011 Oscar season. A talented and healthy actor in reality, Firth was very convincing in the role of the British monarch who suffered from a stammer, and who desperately needed to overcome it in order to successfully deliver a war time speech.
One can just see by observing Firth throughout the film how hard he worked to give the best possible portrayal of an intense struggle by a monarch to overcome a speech impediment. There are scenes in the movie, for example, in which Mr. Firth is shown lying on the ground, rolling back and forth, as part of his character’s therapy to treat his stammer. He is also shown doing various speech and breathing exercises. Firth is a joy to watch in his portrayal of King George VI both because of his commitment to his role and because of the effort he put forth to produce such a remarkable performance.
For all of the reasons which I stated above, I truly believe Firth’s acting in the movie is going to result in the victory of “The King’s Speech” over “The Social Network” in this year’s Oscars ceremony. History has shown that excellent performances by actors have resulted in the awarding of an Oscar to one movie over the other, and I think this is going to happen again with “The King’s Speech ” in the 2011 Academy Awards ceremony.
For more Oscars buzz, go to Oscars.yahoo.com