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Oscars: “The King’s Speech” builds momentum with Santa Barbara win

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Is the awards tide beginning to turn on the eve of the Oscar nominations?

Vocal supporters of Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” seem to think so, and they are receiving a fair share of ammunition with which to fight that fight.

After watching David Fincher’s “The Social Network” build a head of steam with crucial pre-Oscar victories at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and the Golden Globes (as well as a bevy of year-end critics’ group accolades), “Speech” is starting to rally. The historical drama took home the top prize from the Producers Guild of America – the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producers — on Saturday night. And this evening, it was revealed that “The King’s Speech” cast has won the ‘Ensemble Award’ at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter will also be honored at this year’s festival, which begins on Jan. 27 and runs through Feb. 6.

Strategic timing on the announcement … days before the fest starts, but also the evening before tomorrow’s Oscar nominations. And while we fully expect both “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech” to receive a healthy amount of nominations (including Best Picture, Director and several acting noms), it will be very interesting to see how the race plays out between nomination stage and Oscar night.

It’s safe to say “The King’s Speech” earned enough momentum with the PGA win to unsettle “Social Network” as the pre-eminent frontrunner. But did “Speech” do enough to claim a lead in the Oscar race, or did they just open the door for an outside contender like David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” or a dark-horse film like that to muscle in.

There’s plenty of race left to run, and all of the contenders will burst out of the gate tomorrow morning. Join us, won’t you?

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • January 25, 2011 | Permalink |

    Congratulations to all the Oscar Nominees they all have worked very hard at mastering their craft for all of us to enjoy. I wish them all the best and say ” Thank You All for sharing your Art.”

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