Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were films that were superior in terms of quality and/or impact that were not nominated). This week’s entry is The King’s Speech (2010).
Nearly a decade before Tom Hooper fully claimed his auteur status with Cats, he delivered his second greatest and similarly often misunderstood work, The King’s Speech. How this has become so hated around certain parts is something I’ll never quite understand. Certainly it’s one of those films that Twitter and people who aren’t extremely online differ on most widely as I’ve never come across anyone in my life who didn’t think this was at least fairly solid. As the first Best Picture winner I ever saw before it won the prize, it will always have a certain place in my heart (though maybe I should curse it for sending me down this path) but it still holds up quite well today. I don’t care at all about the royals but it is hard to deny the story here about the abdication is pretty fascinating and the primary part concerning the new king’s stammer does a lot to draw out the human nature of these people. Hooper may have a bit of an odd eye for some of the shots seen here but anyone completely maligning his directorial skills misses his handling of the performers, all of whom turn out career best work and carry the film beyond the historical tidbit story it could have easily been.