Good Morning Oscar, January 19: Mr. Nice Guy

Aaron Sorkin is suddenly nice, Ricky Gervais isn't, and why is the race so boring?

Aaron Sorkin is suddenly nice, Ricky Gervais isn't … and why is the race so boring?

Aaron SorkinWill Leitch asks a questionthat I've been wondering about as well: "Why is Aaron Sorkin suddenly being so nice to Mark Zuckerberg?" At the Golden Globes, as well as two nights earlier at the Critics Choice Movie Awards, the "Social Network" screenwriter went out of his way at the end of his acceptance speech to address the Facebook founder and tell Zuckerberg that the line Sorkin gave to Rooney Mara at the end of the film's opening scene – that Zuckerberg will go through life with girls not liking him "because you're an a__hole" – is not true. And producer Scott Rudin added his own shout-out to Zuckerberg, thanking him for "his willingness to allow us to use his life and work as a metaphor." Not so fast, says Leitch: Zuckerberg didn’t allow anything (he refused to cooperate with author Ben Mezrich), the movie doesn't use him as a metaphor, and Sorkin has famously trashed Zuckerberg in the past. "Questions of veracity and the morality of repurposing one's life for one's creative benefit have derailed Oscar contenders before," writes Leitch in a fairly effective and reasonably damning piece. "Sorkin and company needed to do some pre-emptive damage control." Leitch also claims to be a fan of the film, though you can't really tell from any sentence in his piece except for the one where he says, "We love this movie!" (MOVIE TALK on Yahoo! Movies)

Guy Lodge tackles the same hopeless task I did on Tuesday: trying to predict which nine films will make the Academy's Foreign-Language shortlist. We agree on Mexico, Canada, Denmark and Italy, but he adds five that didn't make my list: the Czech Republic and South Africa, which I think are quite possible; Turkey, which could conceivably be saved by the executive committee; Iraq, which I don't see happening; and Thailand, which he thinks the exec committee will use to gain "credibility points." Based on my conversations with insiders, I'm guessing that there's no way on earth that'll happen. But hey, I could be wrong. (In Contention)

Here's the real story of the 2011 awards race, says Brad Brevet: it's boring. The problem, as far as he's concerned, is that while "The Social Network" is "quite good," it's not the deathless masterpiece that its sweep of almost all critics awards would indicate. "With so many films out there," he says, "I find it impossible for one film to be considered the very best of any given year by every single group out there." Opinion, he's afraid, has been replaced by group think and some sort of enforced consensus. And if that doesn't change, he's afraid that we'll need Ricky Gervais to host every awards show if we're looking for some excitement. I see his point, and I have to wonder if this isn't the fallout from last year, when the critics groups all rallied behind "The Hurt Locker" and then watched that film coast to its Best Picture victory. Show a group of critics that there's power in unanimity, and suddenly petty disagreements fade away. (Rope of Silicon)

And speaking of Gervais hosting all the other shows … John Lopez does just that, compiling a list of other events that Gervais should host. His suggestions: the White House Correspondents Dinner, the Oscars (even though he'll "make Julia Roberts cry"), "Jeopardy" and the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. "We're pretty sure other organizations desperate to show they can laugh at themselves while getting hit in the face by a two-by-four will be knocking down the jolly, sadistic Gervais's door," he says. (Little Gold Men