According to New York's film elite, "The King's Speech" is the movie to beat.
A panel including some of the city's top film critics discussed the top Oscar contenders at the 92nd Street Y last night. Guests watched clips of nominated films, and panelists predicted the winners.
Panelists included New York Times film critic A.O. Scott, film publicist Amanda Lundberg, Entertainment Weekly contributor Mark Harris, and author and film critic Molly Haskell.
While all the panelists agreed that “The Kings Speech” and “The Social Network” both deserved a nomination for best picture, they all agree the award will go to the former.
“A month ago I would’ve said ‘The Social Network’ seemed to have the momentum and also the finger on the pulse of the times,” Harris said. “But I find it a little more cautious and a little more usual than ‘The Kings Speech.’”
The panel also addressed the fact that comedies never get nominated -- despite the expansion of best picture nominees from five movies to 10.
While comedies like “The Hangover” or “Easy A” don’t get Oscar nods, Lundberg said it doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with good performances.
“What’s interesting is that the films are nominated by members of the Academy who are in the business and know how hard it is to make a good comedy,” said Lundberg. “Just because they’re silly doesn’t mean they’re not well done.”
Coming off her Golden Globe win, Natalie Portman is favored to win the Oscar for best actress for her role in Black Swan -- although not everyone thought she deserves it.
“I did not like [the film] and I did not like her in it,” Haskell said. “But I think that it’s something to have her up there and pregnant with this divine man she’ll be married to. But of course, look at what happened to Sandra Bullock last year. She won the award and she lost her guy.”
Panelists pointed to the dreaded Oscar curse: Bullock, Reese Witherspoon and Halle Berry all split with their husbands after winning the Oscar for best actress.
The Oscars will be held on Feb 27.