Monday, January 31, 2011

Film Fest Bloggers Choose Sides: King's Speech vs. The Social Network

As you might imagine, when the Santa Barbara Film Fest presented its first ever "Blogger's Panel, 'The Future of Film Journalism,'" I was there in the audience sitting front and center eager to learn as much as I could.

Pete Hammond, Steve Pond and Sasha Stone, formed half of the Blogger's Panel

Photo Credit: Chuck Cagara /

But unlike the Screenwriter's Panel that was held on Saturday, where there was a lot of insight into the creative process of crafting a script, there was little talk of the process of blogging or how one makes money at it. Instead this panel was pretty much bloggers doing what they so often do best, gossiping. The topic? How the Oscar race for best picture has been reduced to a two movie contest between The King's Speech and The Social Network.

Hollywood bad boy blogger Jeffrey Wells, continued his crusade, seemingly begun the day before when he was a questioner from the audience at the screenwriter's panel, against The King's Speech. He conceded that while it is a good picture, he insisted that many people will regard it as a poor choice to give the Best Picture honor to. When the audience got a chance to ask questions of the panel, I queried Wells as to what his objections to The King's Speech were. He described it as a "lump in the throat movie" which would probably be deserving of the best picture honor if this was 1993, but of course it isn't.

I haven't seen the King's Speech, but everyone I know who has seen it thinks it's terrific. I have seen The Social Network and I have to say that I agree with Peter Rainer, the panel's moderator, who said that while The Social Network was a good movie, it wasn't a great movie.

Everyone on the panel, including Wells, agreed though that the momentum right now seems to be with The King's Speech. So, if you go to Vegas and put your money on The King's Speech in the Oscar race, I hope you'll remember who passed that bit of info on to you.

By the way, if the Hollywood bloggers are proven wrong and The King's Speech and The Social Network are beaten out by 127 Hours, will anyone say that Aron Ralston, whose true story is told in the movie, gave his arm (but not a leg) for an Oscar?

More Film Fest Photos by Chuck Cagara in this year's photo gallery.
© 2011 by Craig Smith and