This year's Oscar Best Picture race is widely considered to be a two-way contest between The King's Speech and The Social Network. But there are eight other films nominated in the top category, and their defenders say they're more deserving of the big win. Here's the case for each:
Danny Boyle's arm-cutter might not be as "universally beloved or momentous as some of the other nominees," says Katey Rich at Cinema Blend. But "James Franco's deeply felt and ridiculously charming performance" and Boyle's energized film-making allowed viewers to "not just experience Aron Ralston's harrowing ordeal, but feel it."
Darren Aronofsky's ballet psychodrama deserves the top prize, says Stuart Cummins at Obsessed with Film. It's a "fantastic piece of cinema" that blew me away with its "inspired narrative, beautiful choreography, exquisite cinematography and visual effects, exhilarating editing and breathtaking direction."
With superlative performances from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, David O. Russell's boxing drama deserves the Best Picture prize, says Daveme at Woof Movies. This is a powerful film that is "potentially life changing."
Christopher Nolan's dreamy sci-fi thriller deserves the big win, says Martin Wilson at Suite 101. Everyone was talking about the film, which featured "one of the best ensemble casts of the year," and it was a global box office hit. Too bad it was released so early in the year, and that the Oscars rarely favor science fiction.
The Kids Are All Right
Lisa Cholodenko's family drama about a lesbian couple and their children is a "brilliantly acted, fantastically good looking soap" that is "quietly revolutionary" in its subtle treatment of its "zeitgeisty subject matter," says Catherine Shoard in The Guardian.
Toy Story 3
The Social Network and The King's Speech "hardly approach the depth of feeling, the complexity of themes and the sheer entertainment value of Toy Story 3," says Christopher Kelly in The Miami Herald. It's about time a great animated film took home the big prize, instead of being ghettoized to the Best Animated Film category.
The Coen brothers' remake is the "best western I have ever seen" and "definitely better than the original," says the CYBERBORISjohnson blog. It's a "simple and sincere story" that's been beautifully shot and acted, and it deserves the Best Picture Oscar and a Best Actor trophy for star Jeff Bridges.
Debra Granik's dark, meth-tinged rural American drama may be an underdog, but it's the best film nominated, says Xan Brooks in The Guardian. "It never condescends to its characters," and "it shows how this impoverished community is now being sustained by a thriving elicit industry of crystal meth production."