"The Artist" beat out films from the likes of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and George Clooney to top honors at the Academy Awards on Sunday -- not bad for a silent, black-and-white French film with no big-name stars.
There were always three pictures of King George VI on the mantelpiece of the various houses Mark Logue lived in when he was growing up -- including one signed and dated by the king on the day of his coronation -- but as a boy in the 1970s and 1980s, Logue doesn't remember wondering why.
The past, present and future of the movies is to be the official theme of Sunday's Academy Awards show, presided over by bright young things James Franco and Anne Hathaway. But that's also the unofficial subtext in what has the potential to play out as one of the most vivid generational tussles in Oscar's 83-year history.
A film about a stuttering British monarch, a movie about the founder of Facebook, a sci-fi thriller and a John Wayne classic remake topped the list of movies honored with Oscar nominations announced Tuesday.
In the movie "The King's Speech," there is a pivotal scene where Elizabeth, the future queen, frustrated by the failures of doctors who were trying to treat her husband's stutter, ventures into the streets of London to the office of controversial speech therapist Lionel Logue. So unaccustomed to the outside world, Elizabeth doesn't even know how to properly work the elevator in Logue's building.
It could have been a bunch of pip-pip, stiff-upper-lip Brit blather about a stuttering king who learns to stop worrying and love the microphone. Instead, "The King's Speech" -- a crowning achievement powered by a dream cast -- digs vibrant human drama out of the dry dust of history.