The history of film is littered with surprises. This year's Academy Awards didn't hold too many of those, though. There may have been a moment when we held our breath in curiosity, but I'm not sure too many of us were actually on the edges of our seats. Most of us knew who and what would win the major awards this Sunday evening, and we weren't disappointed. The King's Speech was an audience favorite, regardless of the impressive titles that shared its nominations.
There has been a lot of blog buzz about the tendency of the Academy to favor warm and fuzzy over gritty and edgy (like the year that Dances With Wolves beat out Goodfellas, for example), but it's hard to imagine anyone characterizing most of the "gentler" Oscar winners as warm and fuzzy when they were first released. They're usually only considered tame in contrast with something else remarkably un-tame. And this year is no exception.
For all my love of gritty, film noir, I can't help but be glad The King's Speech won. It was a pitch perfect movie. The other films in the line-up were impressive, and I'm glad the Academy has expanded the best picture list to give well-deserved attention to otherwise poorly acknowledged films. But there is something so satisfying, so delicately successful about The King's Speech. Not a moment of that movie was wasted, and every actor delivered every line with excellence.