We here in Australia love to claim anything that has passed by these shores for even the briefest of moments as “our”. At times it can be downright cringing (actually it pretty much always is – can you recall the “our Tom” with Tom Cruise?). One film that is to be released later this year and which will almost certainly be up for a number of Oscars is likely to be the next candidate for “ourdome”. But at least this one will have some justification.
The film “The King’s Speech” is about the speech impediment (a terrible stutter) of King George VI (Colin Firth), and how he overcame this with the help of an Australian speech therapist (played by Geoffrey Rush). One of the film’s producers is Australian Emile Sherman – who has also produced such film as Opal Farmer, Disgrace and Candy. It is not an official “co-production” (a term which would mean it would be said to have been a UK and Australian production) and thus I am pretty sure for the Oscars it will be classed as a UK film. But no matter, if it wins Best Picture, Sherman will be up on the stage collecting the gong.
As it also stars Geoffrey Rush – a definite early chance for Best Supporting Actor – has Guy Pearce playing King Edward VIII and also features Derek Jacobi whom I once saw perform in the Cairns Theatre, I think we can declare the film to be true blue dinky die Aussie.
It looks great. Rush is in his brilliant character acting mode. Has there been a better Australian actor – for that matter has there been a better character actor period? Look at a selection of Rush’s credits:
- Sitting on a Pile (2004) TV episode .... Geoff
The guy can do anything – from heavy drama to humour to action to Kath n’n’ Kim. He stole Pirates of the Caribbean from under the nose of Johnny Depp, was the only one able to keep pace with Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth, and he also comes back and supports the Aussie film industry with performances – his work in Bran Nue Dae was a joy. You hire Rush, you know your film is going to be better than if he was not in it.
Colin Firth, after losing out last year for Best Actor to Jeff Bridges, must be a huge chance to walk home with the golden statue next year.
However, as Guardian blogger Xan Brooks notes, films can sometimes get early Oscar buzz and then die when they make no money (such as happened last year to Bright Star). But I think this one will keep its buzz – if only because Bright Star was a bit of a women’s picture, and they always have a tougher time cutting through at Oscar time unless they star Meryl Streep.
The preview came out this weekend, it certainly is on my “to watch” list. Enjoy: