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Experts predict how Oscar voters will respond to 'The Social Network'

September 30, 2010 |  1:58 pm

After I reported on the suspense gripping Hollywood over how academy members will react to "The Social Network" at its official screening Saturday, I asked Oscar bloggers to predict their response.

Steve Pond (The Odds, The Wrap) replied, "I could easily see it going either way.... I do have a suspicion that it's more of a critics' movie than an Academy movie." Anthony Breznican (USA Today) made a wisecrack. Erik Davis (Cinematical), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly) and Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily) have faith that it won't skew too young for the older chaps in the academy. In case it does and those "geezers" just don't "get" it, Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere) says they should get the boot. At first he argues for "compassionate" expulsion from the academy, but then — oh, what the heck — considers a more drastic alternative.

The Social Network Justin Timberlake

JEFF WELLS, HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE: If the over-60 Academy members fail to note that "The Social Network" is a brilliant, whippersnapper "Citizen Kane"-level movie about the Realm of the Now (and the Very Recent) that addresses CLASSIC THEMES, what am I supposed to do about it?  Send them a complimentary month's supply of Depends? I'll tell you what SHOULD be done about it. All past-it, over-the-hill geezers should be COMPASSIONATELY EXPELLED FROM THE ACADEMY. This is not a put-down or a putsch or a purge. It's just that when a genuinely good movie comes along and people are too thick to at least show respect and acknowledge that it's doing several things right, then there's only one thing to do and that's to cut them off. Because all they're doing is STANDING IN THE WAY.  What did George S. Patton (George C. Scott) do when he found a mule obstructing his troops in Italy? He shot the mule and had him thrown over the side of a bridge.  

STEVE POND, THE ODDS, THE WRAP: I'm as curious as you are about "Social Network" at the Goldwyn, and I could easily see it going either way. I think people tend to oversell the idea that the Academy is aging and conservative: "The Hurt Locker" and "No Country for Old Men" and "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Departed" weren't conservative or stodgy choices, and I could easily see a lot of viewers embracing "The Social Network" as well.

That said, I do have a suspicion that it's more of a critics' movie than an Academy movie. And because it ends on a pretty somber, bittersweet note, I don't think we're going to hear about tremendous applause or a rapturous reaction at the Goldwyn. It's a satisfying, serious, go-home-and-think-about-it movie, so this might be a case where the Academy screening reaction won't really tell us all that much.

DAVE KARGER, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I see no reason why the Academy won't fall under the movie's spell. The cast may be on the younger side, but every aspect of the production is expertly done. I expect voters to be as riveted as critics and Oscar bloggers have been. 
ANTHONY BREZNICAN, USA TODAY: The only way to know for sure is to check their status updates after!

SASHA STONE, AWARDSDAILY; My thoughts on this are that I don't think it will skew too young. The strange thing about "The Social Network" is that it seems to appeal across the usual barriers. The film snobs love it, the fanboys love it, the bloggers love it -- the gen-yers will love it and the older folks who hate the internet will love it. My mom would love it. My daughter would love it.  My grandmother (god rest her soul) would have loved it.

Why? Because it is a universal story that works.  It is just the rare good movie that has it all: Great writing, directing, acting -- not a weak link in it anywhere. So it has angered a few tech geeks who don't feel they've been given a fair enough voice -- well, I'd say to them, don't you have a big enough voice already? Need some more bandwidth to express your thoughts? Another blog or social network outlet?  I think that's pretty covered, but thanks for playing.

"The Social Network" is about winning and losing. I just watched the Bob Evans documentary "The Kid Stays in the Picture" and "The Social Network" could be about movies or the Home Shopping Network -- it is about the nature of we complex human beings. We have our great qualities and our not-so-great qualities.  The movie soars.

There is nothing new under the sun, my friend.  A good story is still a good story, whether Aristotle, Shakespeare or Sorkin wrote it. 

ERIK DAVIS, CINEMATICAL: It should play fine for Oscar voters, unless they see something everyone else has already missed. The film pops with energy and enthusiasm, and the script is easily one of the best we've seen all year. Those are things that are hard to ignore, even for Academy voters, so the film should be in pretty good shape from here on out. Acting nominations are iffy, but screenplay, director and best picture nods may be a given.


How will 'The Social Network' play at its official academy screening?

Here's the list of Oscar academy screenings: What's played so far, what's coming up

The social relevancy of 'The Social Network' is key to its Oscar hopes

Photo: "The Social Network" (Columbia Pictures)

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