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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

September 21, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Lots of Oscar talk — in September?

The trades are all full of Oscar talk this week, which seems odd as the leaves haven’t even left the trees yet. But here are a few current developments, for those who follow such things:
— “The King’s Speech,” after winning the Toronto International Film Festival’s audience-voted People’s Choice Award, became an immediate Oscar front-runner. (Last year’s winner was “Precious,” and the previous year “Slumdog Millionaire”; both went on to multiple Oscar nominations.) I loved “The King’s Speech,” and noticed that it seemed to be the one film in Toronto adored by all who saw it; not just the period-movie crowd. The story of King George VI’s struggle with a speech impediment as World War II dawns, it’s surprisingly funny and moving, and features two sure-to-be-nominated performances in Colin Firth as the king and Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist. It’ll do well with Oscar voters, too, because it’s the kind of small-scale story that screens well on DVD (which is how most Academy members see the movies they vote on). “The King’s Speech” opens in Seattle theaters around Thanksgiving.
— Focus Features announced today that it will campaign for both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore to be nominated in the best actress category, for “The Kids Are All Right.” That’s the right call — the roles are of equal weight, and both Bening and Moore are splendid — but will there be room for them both on the roster? Even considering that Meryl Streep doesn’t have an Oscar horse to ride this year? Other best actress possibilities, some still sight unseen: Carey Mulligan in “Never Let Me Go”; Noomi Rapace in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”; Hilary Swank in “Conviction”; Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”; Helen Mirren in “The Tempest” or “The Debt”; Michelle WIlliams in “Blue Valentine,” Sally Hawkins in “Made in Dagenham”; Catherine Keener in “Please Give”; Freida Pinto in “Miral”; Tilda Swinton in “I Am Love”; and perhaps one or more of the cast of “For Colored Girls” (Thandie Newton? Whoopi Goldberg? Kerry Washington?), though that film appears to be more of an ensemble piece. Trivia alert: If Bening and Moore are both nominated, that will be only the sixth movie in history to have two best actress nominees, following “Thelma and Louise,” “Terms of Endearment,” “The Turning Point,” “Suddenly Last Summer” and “All About Eve.”
— Ben Affleck’s “The Town,” which opened to good reviews and unexpectedly strong box office, apparently got some good buzz at a private Academy screening over the weekend. Though “The Town” strikes me as more of a genre movie than an award winner (albeit a very well-done genre movie), the Academy is keeping the ten-movie roster for best picture this year, so there’s room for surprises.

Bening and Moore, in “The Kids Are All Right” (photo by Suzanne Tenner; courtesy of Focus Features)

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