I got into a little mudball fight with some online columnists late this morning, and I ended my contribution by saying that The King’s Speech is essentially Driving Miss Daisy in a British royal realm — a story about an unlikely commoner enriching the life of a person of wealth, property and social standing. Geoffrey Rush is Morgan Freeman, and Colin Firth is Jessica Tandy.
I basically said that as good as it is (and as much as I personally enjoyed it), Tom Hooper‘s The King’s Speech winning the Best Picture Oscar will be seen in some under-40 quarters as a kind of generational nail in the coffin of the Academy and the whole Oscar tradition, for that matter. It’ll be seen as a Triumph of the Farts.
The Oscar generation gap is alive and raging. The younger crowd loves The Social Network and Black Swan and the doddering elders aren’t so hot on either of these, and the old farts love The King’s Speech and The Kids Are All Right. (Kids is a relatively fresh-feeling thing, but The King’s Speech could have been made 20 or 30 years ago.) Giving the Best Picture Oscar to The Kings’ Speech will be seen as a huge metaphorical backslide…a triumph of a bland sensibility in the form of a very well-made, entirely respectable, very well acted film that’s about upholding tradition and manning up and doing what’s required….WOW, HOW EXCITING!