The Toronto Film Festival has come to a close, and with it, I think we have our first Oscar "frontrunner" in Tom Hooper's The King's Speech. So far it's glowing reviews, and rarefied awards pedigree gives it an early edge in this odd 2010 movie year. The film will come prettily packaged courtesy of The Weinstein Company, led by czars Harvey and Bob, and fits beautifully with the Academy's undeniable respect for royalty porn-- this one concerns King George VI (played by Colin Firth, a de facto award magnet himself after his wonderful turn in last years A Single Man) who must overcome his speech impediment. Firth will be surrounded by a lovely (and completely AMPAS friendly) supporting cast, with Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, and Michael Gambon. Plus director Hooper did the exemplary HBO mini-series John Adams, as well as last year's under-seen soccer triumph The Damned United. Oh yeah, and it won the People's Choice Award at Toronto, which is no small token, given recent history. Past People's Choice Award winners include:
- Precious (2009)-- nominated for best picture; won 2 Oscar
- Slumdog Millionaire (2008)-- won best picture, as well as 7 other Oscars
- Tsotsi (2005)-- won foreign film Oscar
- Hotel Rwanda (2004)-- nominated for 3 major Oscars
- Whale Rider (2002)-- nominated for best actress
- Amelie (2001)-- nominated for 5 Oscars
- American Beauty (1999)-- won best picture, and 4 other Oscars
- Life is Beautiful (1998)-- nominated for best picture; won 3 Oscars
- Shine (1996)-- nominated for best picture; won best actor.
All the film has to really do is not be a complete commercial failure, lest we hear more kvetching about the out-of-touch academy members...blah, blah, blah...