Good Morning Oscar, January 20: Shaken and Stirred

“The King’s Speech”: underdog with a shot to win, or doomed political allegory?

Rob Licura of Gold Derby comes up with what it says are "10 shockers that could shake up the Oscars," including Hailee Steinfeld (possible) or Noomi Rapace (no way) landing in the Best Actress category, and Danny Boyle or Roman Polanski getting into the Best Director lineup. And hey, if you go back 10 days to the site's "10 Golden Globe upsets that COULD happen" photo gallery, you'll find that two of the 10 ("Carlos" winning for TV miniseries or movie and Paul Giamatti winning for "Barney's Version") actually did happen – so I guess we can't rule these ones out, either. (Gold Derby)

The King's SpeechAnd since Gold Derby really likes those lists, here's another: "5 reasons why 'The King's Speech' can still win Best Picture." The reasons, which come from Tariq Khan, include "It will get the most nominations" (which results in a win 75 percent of the time), "it will perform better among actors" and "it benefits from the underdog status." At a certain point, though, a film that wins as often as "The Social Network" is doing can turn an underdog into an also-ran … (Gold Derby)

Point counterpoint: while Khan is explaining why "The King's Speech" can still win, Owen Gleiberman explains why it can’t. He starts by paying tribute to the guy who released the film: "[W]ith Harvey Weinstein now stalking the Oscar campaign trail in that way that, once upon a time, only he could do (and maybe still only he can), you only have to think back to the ’90s, to the era of 'The English Patient' and 'Shakespeare in Love,' to know that an Oscar race with Harvey pushing the glory of England is, in every way, a true contest." But that doesn't matter, he says, because of "the zeitgeist factor." Which is to say, "'The Social Network' has the hypnotic hook of topicality going for it in a major way" because it's "the first Hollywood movie to really capture the metaphysical spirit of our digital age." Whereas "The King's Speech" is, he insists, mistimed because it's "an allegory for the age of Barack Obama," the leader who moved people with his words in a difficult time, but now isn't as popular. Yikes. Talk about saddling a poor movie with some heavy baggage… (Entertainment Weekly)

The consensus is that it's been a strong year for documentaries, but not a year with an obvious Oscar frontrunner. So Kris Tapley makes his way through the 15 films on the Academy's shortlist, which he says "largely make for a sound representation of a great year for the form." He thinks the newly-crowded Cinema Eye Honors champ, "Exit Through the Gift Shop," could face a rocky road to a nomination, while the high-profile but more somber "Waiting for 'Superman'" and "Inside Job" strike him as potential winners. But he says we should watch out for "Gasland" (which "might be the field's most important entry") and "Waste Land" ("the crowd-pleaser of the lot"). I haven't seen "Gasland," but I agree with him that "Waste Land" has serious potential. (In Contention)

Also on the doc front … my Tuesday night report on the Cinema Eye Honors relied on tweets from co-founder Thom Powers for the acceptance speech written (but not delivered) by "Exit Through the Gift Shop" director Banksy. But Matt Singer was there with a tape recorder, so he has a full report, including a transcript of remarks that start out by painting Banksy as the elusive, anonymous graffiti-artist version of Ricky Gervais: "Now's not the time for long, rambling speeches. I'll leave that for the director of 'Waiting for Superman.'" (