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Live at the Oscars: Best Picture Goes to Period Drama The King's Speech, with Four Wins

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 28, 2011 at 4:31AM

The best picture Oscar, inevitably, goes to The King's Speech, which earlier in the Oscar show looked like it wasn't winning anything, but eventually won the night with four Oscars: best original screenplay, director (Hooper talks win), lead actor and best picture. A bevy of producers surged onto the stage, revealing the difficult task of getting the film made.
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Thompson on Hollywood

The best picture Oscar, inevitably, goes to The King's Speech, which earlier in the Oscar show looked like it wasn't winning anything, but eventually won the night with four Oscars: best original screenplay, director (Hooper talks win), lead actor and best picture. A bevy of producers surged onto the stage, revealing the difficult task of getting the film made.

Harvey Weinstein chased it down, as did Momentum UK, leading many in England to wonder why they passed on the film. Why did they? Because the period drama was in decline at the time, and studio specialty departments were not taking risks on sober period pieces. I hope to God that everyone wakes up and smells the coffee, and looks at the list of lower-budget passion projects that fought their way into audience's hearts by virtue of spending more than one boffo opening weekend in a theater. All the top ten Oscar nominees, even the big-budget original Inception, which also took years to get made, built audiences the good old-fashioned way, via word-of-mouth.

While Inception nabbed four nominations, they weren't in the top categories; Alice in Wonderland won two technicals as well. The Social Network won three, and Toy Story 3 won two. True Grit was shut out, after ten nominations.

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Genres, Headliners, Oscars, Tom Hooper, Period, Colin Firth


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.