Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oscar watch: The Social Network

Released in October, The Social Network details the the first few years of Facebook's founding by Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). It is based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.

The tag line for the film says is all: "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies." Not only does Zuckerberg begin Facebook on a sour note, he steps on a few people along the way. Now, is this the entire story of what happened during Zuckerberg's rise to the top? Maybe not, but that doesn't detract from the sharp storytelling of this film. The opening scene alone gives the viewer an indication of what's in store: a 5 minute single-take, dialogue laden break-up scene. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

There is not a single weak link in the cast. Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg like a slightly socially awkward and obnoxious boy with the brain of a hyper-intelligent man. Justin Timberlake, who plays Sean Parker, could be perceived to be a gamble in a serious role such as this, but he is assured as a paranoid and manipulative mentor to Eisenberg's character. Armie Hammer does double duty as the Winklevoss twins and I think he succeeds at showing the subtle differences between the brothers. Andrew Garfield is the calm inside the storm; he plays the heart, whereas Eisenberg plays the head.

Oscar predictions: Though Jessie Eisenberg is earnest and somewhat sympathetic as Zuckerberg, I don't think he will beat out Colin Firth for Best Actor. Eisenberg is talented and I'm sure we'll see him nominated again. For Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that David Fincher and The Social Network will take home these prizes. The overall consistency of the production, acting, and storytelling is top-notch. (Of course, The King's Speech could take home Best Picture. I've gotta give myself an out here ...)

The Social Network
Find it in the catalog!