Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All About The Social Network

This piece is by Kevin. He is a contributor to this blog and an all round interesting fellow.

The last time I posted my State of the Cinema report, things looked grim. There were barely any awards-worthy movies released in the first seven months of the year as we headed into August. And now? Well, things are absolutely no different.

That's harsh, actually. There have been a couple of great movies that will never be nominated for Oscars: Easy A and Catfish, and there's been exactly one stellar, Oscar-worthy movie released in the past two months: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin's masterpiece about Facebook. It's an early frontrunner for Best Picture, and one that conforms nicely to the mold set forward by other best pictures in recent years (Slumdog Millionaire and The Hurt Locker in particular shattered the expectation of a Best Picture).

I fully expect The Social Network to win Best Picture. I really do. I know there are other movies coming out this year that have a chance, The King's Speech, 127 Hours and The Fighter in particular. But this movie is such a home run that it seems difficult to consider any other possible outcome.

Sorkin's script is superb. Jesse Eisenberg's interpretation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is extremely unlikable yet completely lovable, a wonderful contradiction. Andrew Garfield steals the show as wounded friend and co-founder Eduardo Saverin. He's emotionally complex and makes the entire audience ache for his struggle. The entire cast is brilliant (though I'm not quite as in love with Justin Timberlake's performance as Napster founder Sean Parker as others seem to be), and the direction is better than capable, too. David Fincher edited himself for this film, and it's a marked improvement after his last effort, the sluggish The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It is truly the best film I've seen all year.

I see Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted (Original? it's unclear) Screenplay wins for the film, with Fincher losing out to Inception's Christopher Nolan for Best Director. Eisenberg will likely be nominated for Best Actor, as well, but Colin Firth is probably a dead lock for The King's Speech at this point. His goodwill from last year's A Single Man will continue to steamroll to the Oscar podium this year.

If Best Original Screenplay doesn't include Network, then Inception is probably locked for that Oscar as well. In the female acting categories, Best Actress probably belongs to Black Swan's Natalie Portman, and Best Supporting a gigantic question mark. No idea where that one is going. But hey, I've got solid ideas for seven out of the eight big categories! That's not bad! Then again, maybe the paucity of good films to make this more difficult is what is really bad.

At any rate, for The Social Network, I give it a straight-up A

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