Tag Archives: The King’s Speech

The Nickel Awards: Part 2

Best Scene Nominees: Cunnilingus (Black Swan), Confrontation (True Grit), Cursing Scene (The King’s Speech), Melting Scene (Toy Story 3), Ruffian’s Singing Their Dreams (Tangled)

Winner:

For best scene, we wanted to find those moments in movies that stuck with you long after you’d left the theater. There were no specific criteria, but you know the scenes when you see them. An aging teacher, coaxing a king to let fly a string of profanities. A young fourteen-year-old confronting her father’s killer. Mila Kunis going down on Natalie Portman. In the end, however, we decided to go with the climactic scene from Toy Story 3, when Woody and friends are about to be melted into indistinguishable plastic goop. One often wondered throughout the span of this trilogy of films, watching various plastic anthropomorphs undergo bizarre dismemberments and mutilations…how do toys die? Well here it is, folks: utter annihilation in the form of slow, melting torture. The moment went on for a shockingly long time, and we watched, horror struck, as realization dawned on the characters and each one accepted their death. And then at the last moment, an impossible, uplifting salvation from above. We would never have imagined that our beloved toys would be faced with such an implacable mortal peril, but the fact that it was so heart-wrenching was proof of the power of Pixar to move our hearts. Well done, good sirs. That took balls.

Worst Scene: Aang explaining to the earth benders that there was earth all around them (The last Airbender)

Best Dialogue Nominees: The King’s Speech, The Social Network,  True Grit

Winner:

It’s hard to look at True Grit in the context of the Coen’s recent triumphs such as No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man. Compared to them, True Grit is a by-the-numbers film, much less ambitious, and surprisngly simple and short. But like all the Coen’s films, it was made with a perfectionist’s attention to detail, particularly the dialogue. Not only is it historically accurate, it’s dense with characterization and flavor. Jeff Bridges is simply a joy to hear talk in his rustic grumble, and Hailee Steinfield is pleasurably precocious as a girl far more mature than her years belie. A true actor’s piece, the dialogue becomes the star of this film, revealing cultural insights and illuminating interesting power dynamics. While not a show-stopper in terms of action and spectacle, True Grit is meaty and satisfying for its brilliantly written dialogue, given to actors who know what to do with it.

Worst Dialogue: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Best Story Nominees: Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit

Winner:

While the accuracy of The Social Network’s biographical content is clearly debatable, no one can deny that the story was compelling. We loved it for its writing and plot, the way each line worked overtime adding layers, and how every scene advanced the plot in a new, crucial way. The structuring of the film within two intense legal battles focuses themes of ownership, friendship, power and success, and its unconventional, almost anticlimactic ending has echoes of Greek tragedy. Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue may be unrealistically verbose, and at times he forced melodrama upon the story, but the clear attention to detail and overall polish make this a screenplay worth paying attention to.

Worst Story: The Last Airbender

Best Sci-Fi / Fantasy Nominees: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Iron Man 2, Inception

Winner:

With Inception, we reached new depths of science fiction invention. Dreams within dreams within dreams, all linked together—a matrix where only some are aware, a crime scene that leaves no evidence, an idea that stunned the world. This concept created unforgettable sets set in zero gravity, arctic fortresses, and, of course, “Limbo.” For days, the world spoke of nothing but unraveling the mystery and the science behind this mentally stimulating film. We watched over and over again, picking out every detail: the ring, the music, the top.
Christopher Nolan gave us what we’d all been dreaming of: great science fiction.

Worst Sci-Fi / Fantasy: The Last Airbender

Best Comedy Nominees: Easy A, Hot Tub Time Machine, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Other Guys

Winner:

2010 was a particularly weak year for comedies, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World displayed a very special brand of humor that wryly embraced the hypersaturated modern sensibilities, riffing off of indie music, video games, and awkward relationships. Though Michael Cera probably wasn’t to best choice to play this movie’s eponymous hero, the clever script, snappily edited by the talented Edgar Wright, kept the laughs coming steadily throughout the film. While 3rd act sloppiness and some apparent last-minute rewrites prevent this film from being a classic, we at The Nickel Screen think that this was the funniest and most original comedy to hit theaters this year.

Worst Comedy: Dinner for Schmucks

Best Drama Nominees: Black Swan, Shutter Island, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, True Grit,

Winner:

While we may have a flare for the dramatic, dramas themselves are not our strong suit. I tried to watch 127 hours on a plane one time, but my headphone jack was broken. And nobody even got close to making it to The Fighter, but we saw a few, and while they all had virtues that spoke for themselves, The King’s Speech rose above the rest.

The Social Network and True Grit had undeniably excellent acting and dialogue, but in the end, neither was as rousing as George VI’s change from stammering duke to dominant sovereign. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush played off each other perfectly, the plot was well-paced, and the story was riveting.

So Much for Part 2! Click Here to Continue to Part 3: The Culmination.

Leave a comment

Filed under Feature

The Nickel Awards: Part 3

Best Directing: Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky), The Social Network (David Fincher),  The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper), True Grit (Ethan Coen and Joel Coen)

Winner:

Best Directing is a tough award to determine, because even though a director might have their fingers in every part of a film, it’s not always clear whether credit is due to them or the hundreds of people that work under them. We chose Darren Aronofsky for his work on Black Swan because, of all the directors, his personal mark was apparent throughout the film. Because of its focus on the creative process, Black Swan seemed more intensely personal that any of the other nominations, which were excellent but straightforward stories. The nod goes to Aronofsky because the story of Natalie Portman’s tortured ballerina is told as much through the camera work and the editing as it is through plot.

Worst Directing: M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender)

Best Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled, Toy Story 3

Winner:

Unlike their live-action counterparts, animated films are usually a little more, well, animated. High energy, fun, and light-hearted, these movies exist to make people happy, but that in no way lessens them. Toy Story 3 is just as poignant and heart-wrenching as any film this year, and it’s made better by its wide appeal. How to Train Your Dragon threw us into a world of dragons and created the cutest creature ever. Tangled brought us back to the Disney of old, singing us a charming tale of romance. These three films were some of the best animated features to date, but Toy Story 3’s snappy dialogue, ceaseless humor, and perfect pacing, not to mention its wild emotional swings, make it the best animated film of the year. Honestly, who could resist Buzz’s Spanish setting?

Best Supporting Performance Nominees: Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech),  Matt Damon (True Grit)

Winner:

Geoffrey Rush’s performance in The King’s Speech was simply sublime. His portrayal of failed Shakespearean actor turned elocutionist Lionel Logue was a delight to watch, his pleasant attitude masking a deep-seated determination. Rush was able to conjure up many laughs throughout the film, and yet his was also a deeply moving character, drawing us seamlessly into the king’s plight. Seeing him treat the king as an equal—making him swear and do silly vocal lessons—was just as excellent as watching his interactions with his family, be they acting out plays for his sons or hiding the truth of who he was training from his wife. In my opinion, Geoffrey Rush stole the show, even from a supporting role, and proved yet again how truly talented he is.

Worst Supporting Performance: Dev Patel (The Last Airbender)

Best Lead Performance Nominees: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Winner:

There are those who would argue Darren Aronofsky’s schlocky ballerina psych-thriller is not a great film, and they would have plenty of ammunition. But Natalie Portman’s incarnation of protagonist Nina is indisputably flawless. Though her character is thoroughly unlikeable, the audience still finds themselves reeling from Portman’s relentless disorientation, fear, and brittleness. Her confusion and her apprehension chill us so that we the audience tiptoe like our fragile star through the plot.

“Stop being so fucking pathetic!” Vincent Cassel’s instructor shouts at her, finally giving voice to the audience’s sentiments in the first act. Portman’s exquisite weakness is intentionally what makes her so ugly in the film, so repulsive. But as her mind and body come apart in the film’s acceleration, Portman imbues her character with a haunting and resounding spirit. That transformation is so believable in Portman’s face that one almost forgets the incredibility of the plot. Even beyond this, Portman communicates the underlying fear that lingers behind the mask of the Black Swan.

And the scene in which Portman calls her mother after getting the starring part–we dare you to name another actress in her generation who can display that level of genuine emotional complexity. Congratulations, Ms. Portman.

Best Picture Nominees: Inception, The Social Network, The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3, True Grit

Winner:

Even though year after year we face the stifling wasteland of unoriginality, even though most films are born only to die a quick death, crippled by their lack of creativity, even though Hollywood’s fear of greatness keeps new ideas mired in the backwaters of production hell, even though all we see is sequel after sequel of popcorn-selling eye candy, I still had a dream.

I had a dream that one day someone would rise up against the confines of Hollywood orthodoxy and say “enough is enough.”

I had a dream that one day in the deserts of Southern California, sweltering with the heat of bureaucracy, writers and producers would sit down at a table of imagination.

I had a dream that one day movies would be made not because of the marketability of their branding, but because of the character of their content.

I had a dream…fulfilled.

Hollywood’s been looking increasingly weary this year, and in case you haven’t noticed, they’re all out of good ideas. But a welcome break from the churn of vampire-robot-action was Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Not only did Inception exceed every action film to have been released this year, it revealed the very structures by which our thrillers are created. In fact, it can be read as a meta-commentary on the nature of film itself. By incorporating filmmaking techniques into the structure of the story (with its random setpieces, effortless culmination of tension, and possibly untrustworthy protagonist), Inception became an action movie that was its own formula. At the same time, it offered a compelling love story, a thought-provoking concept, and bad-ass action, all wrapped up in one incredible movie. Inception immediately became one of our favorite movies of all time, and we predict that it will be appreciated for its many many layers for years to come.

The End!

There you have it. Those are our picks for 2010. From all of us here at 5¢S, we sincerely hope you enjoyed your time here at The Nickel Awards.

2 Comments

Filed under Feature

The King’s Speech:

Just in case you’re wondering what on Earth I’m talking about, here’s what I was going for.

King George VI’s Original Speech, 1939 vs. The King’s Speech Review

Man, it is impossible to record youtube videos with a laptop mic and camera…

Written by Russ Nickel

Leave a comment

Filed under Review