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Catching up with Oscar favorites

Published February 03. 2011 05:00PM

Will the internet trump the radio star?

That's the question with Oscar frontrunners "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech."

The 83rd Academy Awards will be presented at 8 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood and telecast on ABC-TV.

"The King's Speech" leads nominees with 12 Oscar nominations. "True Grit" is next with 10 nominations. "Inception" received eight.

"The Social Network" also received eight nominations. "The Fighter" received seven. "127 Hours" received six nominations.

"Black Swan" received five. "Toy Story 3" also received five nominations. "The Kids Are All Right" received four. "Winter's Bone" also received four Oscar nominations.

If you haven't seen this year's Oscar-nominated movies, it's never too late.

"The King's Speech" continues in the 19th Street Film Series at Civic Theatre of Allentown. It is also showing at multiplexes.

Also still showing in movie theaters are "True Grit," "The Fighter," "127 Hours" and "Black Swan."

"Inception," "The Kids Are All Right, "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3" and "Winter's Bone," all Oscar picture nominees, are available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

"The King's Speech" got an Oscar boost when its director, Tom Hooper, received the Directors Guild of America Award for feature film directing Jan. 29. Hooper is expected to win the director Oscar.

The DGA director winner usually wins the director Oscar. Only six times has that not happened. Winning the DGA award also is a predictor of the Oscar picture winner.

"The King's Speech" also won the Producers Guild of America theatrical motion picture award Jan. 22.

Colin Firth received the Screen Actors Guild actor award Jan. 30. Firth has a lock on receiving the actor Oscar for his portrayal of King George VI.

"The King's Speech" got another push at the SAGs when Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce received the movie ensemble award.

Natalie Portman is the presumptive Oscar actress winner for her role as a troubled ballerina in "Black Swan" after she received the SAG actress award.

"The Fighter" is contender with two Oscar favorites. Christian Bale received a supporting actor SAG award for his portrayal of real-life boxer Dicky Ecklund. Melissa Leo received a supporting actress SAG award for portraying his real-life mother, Alice.

"The Social Network" is about Mark Zuckerberg and his founding of Facebook, a social networking site so popular that governments fear it. Witness the suspension of Facebook and other internet services in Egypt and, previously, China and Burma.

"The Social Network" is, other than the cell phone, Twitter and email, the way we communicate over great distances. Among other things, "The Social Network" is about new technology and how it impacts us.

"The King's Speech" is about old technology, about the primary way the world used to communicate. Radio was the biggest technological advance in communication and entertainment after the motion picture, phonograph, telephone, telegraph and printing press.

In 1936, King George VI was crowned after the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII, who married American socialite Wallis Simpson.

King George VI made radio speeches to the United Kingdom, inspiring his subjects in Great Britain and around the world to fight Nazi Germany and rallied citizens and troops during World War II.

The problem was that King George VI had a terrible stutter. Enter Lionel Logue, an eccentric Aussie speech coach, played by Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech."

Similarly, Facebook and other social media are the contemporary clarion call, especially for Democracy movements in Tunisia and wherever oppressive regimes reign.

Will the Oscar go to old-school radio for "The King's Speech" or cutting-edge world-wide web for "The Social Network"?

Wait for the envelopes, please.

Meanwhile, see the Oscar nominees before the gold statuettes are handed out later this month.

Box Office, Jan. 28: The pre-Oscar doldrums continue as the drumbeat builds for Oscar nominees. "The Rite" opened at No. 1 with only $14.8 million, a gross that would usually barely land a new release in the Top 5. "No Strings Attached" dropped to No. 2, $13.4 million, $39.5 million, two weeks. "The Mechanic" opened at No. 3, with $11.4 million.

4. "The Green Hornet," $11.1 million, $78.4 million, three weeks; 5. "The King's Speech," increased its take, $11.1 million, $72.1 million, 10 weeks; 6. "True Grit," $7.5 million, $148.3 million, six weeks; 7. "The Dilemma," $5.6 million, $40.8 million, three weeks; 8. "Black Swan," $5.1 million, $90.7 million, nine weeks; 9. "The Fighter," $3.9 million, $78.2 million, eight weeks; 10. "Yogi Bear," $3.1 million, $92.5 million, seven weeks; 10. "Tron: Legacy," $2.4 million, $167 million, seven weeks

Unreel, Feb. 4:

"Sanctum," MPAA Rated R: James Cameron produces the 3-D adventure-thriller about a diving team exploring a system of underwater caves.

"The Roommate," MPAA rated PG-13: Minka Kelly stars in the drama-thriller as a college student whose dorm roommate (Leighton Meester) is somewhat suspect.

Read previous movie reviews at Email Paul Willistein at: and on Facebook.

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