Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars 2011: Best Picture

Note: This is my personal ranking, listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite. Prediction for the actual winner is in orange.


1. The Social Network

2. Black Swan

3. Winter’s Bone

4. 127 Hours 

5. The Kids Are All Right

6. Toy Story 3

7. Inception

8. True Grit

9. The Fighter

10. The King’s Speech

This post is totally unnecessary. The winner here is a foregone conclusion; we might as well crown the King now…right?

Well, maybe not.

With so much momentum, hype, praise, and adoration being heaped upon The King’s Speech, there could be backlash. The Academy could take a step back and realize that, hey, the least divisive and most sentimental nominee doesn’t actually equate to the Best Picture of the year. Voters could have a come-to-Jesus moment and realize that the incredible, fantastically-made  The Social Network is actually the more deserving nominee. Sure, the chances are slim, but look what happened to me.

Up until today — literally today — I fully intended to place Black Swan at the top of my list. So what happened?  A conversation with a friend. That’s it. That’s all it took to sway me. Now, I’m not so film-fickle as to change my favorite of the year because of one brief conversation. I’ve already loved on Black Swan enough, and you can rest assured that none of those opinions or feelings have changed. Black Swan offered the most unique, visceral film experience of the year — where the nominees are concerned at least, but quite possibly beyond that as well. For that, and for the fact that I couldn’t shake the film and the feelings of unease it instilled in me for days afterwards, it remains my favorite.

But The Social Network is a better-made film. Fincher, Sorkin, Reznor, Eisenberg & Co., Wall and Baxter, Cronenweth, and the entire sound mixing team created a film that was smooth. Seamless. Smart. I’m not sure you can actually find a remotely significant flaw in the film. Some have complained that it’s a bit too slick; that despite all its themes on connection, it fails to establish an emotional connection with the audience: “protagonist” Mark Zuckerberg is not likable enough. He’s too cold, unfeeling (if you’re at all familiar with my on-going obsession with Parade, you’ll know how ridiculous I find this argument). To that, I direct you not only to Andrew Garfield’s uber-sympathetic Eduardo Saverin, but also to the film’s final scene where a silent Mark sits, surfing Facebook. He lands on his ex-girlfriend’s page. Thinks a moment. Clicks “add as friend.” “Send Erica Albright a friend request?” The confidence from the negotiations is gone. Vulnerable, and terrified of rejection, he hesitates; “yes.” The film closes quietly, on his constant re-freshing of the page to see if she’s accepted. To find out if she is, in fact, his friend.


Black Swan is terrifying and disjointed and funny and ridiculous and and so many things, which is exactly why I love it — I love the messiness, and I don’t think this film could exist in any other form. But where Black Swan lacks cohesiveness, The Social Network is all intricate, oft-breathtaking cohesion. For the intents and purposes of the Academy Awards, The Social Network is the Best Picture of 2011.


2 comments on “Oscars 2011: Best Picture

  1. Jaime
    February 27, 2011

    I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. I loved Black Swan as well, though maybe not as much as you. I would give it to Social Network if I had a vote. The “disconnect” that you mention I felt was completely intentional and was actually the entire point of the movie. In an age of digital connections we are more and more isolated from each other in a lot of ways. Just a brilliant, brilliant movie.


    • Julie
      February 27, 2011

      I was pretty surprised when I heard all these grumblings about the lack of emotional connect, etc etc. because of just what you said. So thanks for stating that argument so succinctly 🙂 [Clearly I don’t care about emotions. If I did, I’d have put for The King’s Speech” at top. So many feelings!]


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This entry was posted on February 27, 2011 by in Award Predictions, Oscar-Nominated.



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