Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why "The King's Speech" Lost the Oscar?

I'm expecting The King's Speech" to win the Best Picture Oscar Sunday night. If it doesn't, this might be the reason: two weeks ago Joe Morgenstern, the Wall Street Journal's movie critic revealed the following story:

With "The King's Speech" gaining the Oscar traction it deserves—the latest boost being an expression of approval from Queen Elizabeth—I can't resist going public with a story that I've relished telling to friends, and to the people who made the movie. Several weeks before it opened, I had a conversation with Rupert Murdoch, who popped a question familiar to movie critics: What should he see?

I suggested "The King's Speech," and, not wanting to spoil it with too many details, gave a shorthand description: Colin Firth as King George VI, who has a terrible stutter, and Geoffrey Rush as a raffish Australian speech therapist.

Yes, he replied, Lionel Logue.

"So you know the story."

Not the story of the movie, he said. "Lionel Logue saved my father's life."

When I responded with speechlessness, he explained that his father, as a young man, wanted passionately to be a newspaper reporter, but couldn't interview people because he stuttered. Then he met Lionel Logue, who cured him in less than a year.

I don't know when exactly the votes were cast, but I can imagine that a lot of Hollywood types would find it very difficult to vote for a movie about a man who played a significant role in Rupert Murdoch's life and success.

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