Oscar success for 'The King's Speech' could signal change for filmmaking, says Vatican newspaper


Victories for “The King's Speech” at the Academy Awards could show a “new path” in film and signal a “return to the best tradition of English cinema,” according to L'Osservatore Romano.

This year's Oscar award winners will be announced at the 83rd annual Academy Awards ceremony of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Feb. 27. “The King's Speech,” a film by English film and television director Tom Hooper, is expected to take home its fair share of the glory.

It has been nominated for awards in 12 categories, including best actor and best film.

L'Osservatore Romano contributor Emilio Ranzato called the film “beautiful” in an article released on Feb. 26 for the Sunday edition.

The film, he said, demonstrates how a movie can be great by “happily” combining at a very high level “all of the ingredients of popular cinema” and by relying on collaboration rather than the vision of one filmmaker.

The movie portrays a segment in the life of Prince Albert “Bertie” Windsor who, with the help of his speech therapist, overcomes a speech impediment and crisis in the royal family to lead the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth as king.

The triumphant and climactic moment of the film marks the beginning one of the most trying times for all Britons in the 20th century: the radio speech of King George VI to the British Empire announcing entry into the War.

For Ranzato, the “true secret of the film” is achieving the effect of portraying the “high, philosophical and symbolic” royal in a role of the “underdog” who fights to overcome difficulty.

The therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush, serves “a little as coach, custodian angel and alter ego” in helping George VI.

Ranzato said that while the film’s director was not immune to the temptation to stylize certain scenes, he does not overdo it and gives the text a “nice rhythm” that could otherwise have become verbose.

He also praised the ability of the movie’s television-trained screenwriter, David Seidler, to condense 20 years of English history into “a few, although decisive, minutes of a speech to the nation.”

The dozen Oscar nominations “might seem a little exaggerated,” he added, but “it is precisely in the context of the creative crisis of the most recent moviemaking that its unexpected exploit takes on meaning.”

To honor “The King's Speech” would be the Academy's way of choosing a “new path to follow,” he thought.

If the film receives Oscar accolades, Ranzato concluded, the victory “would be interpreted as a return to a more classic - that is, more narrative and less author-driven - result of teamwork more than the inspiration of the single person.”

That result would also show “a pact with the world of the small screen and of the television series that are so lively today,” he said.

“We'll wait and see. For now, they are qualities that confirm and renew the best tradition of English cinema.”

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