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'The King's Speech' gains Oscar momentum

Here's what to expect come Oscar time: Out with the new, in with the old.

Back in October, the talk of the movie world was "The Social Network," otherwise known as That Movie About Facebook. Initially there was skepticism: An entire movie about a website? But as rapturous reviews rolled in, "The Social Network" became a must-see.

What's more, it proved that the movie business was still relevant in the Internet age. "The Social Network" was energetic, youthful (the oldest actor in the main cast was Justin Timberlake) and head-spinningly topical: Facebook, launched in 2004, isn't exactly ancient history. For once, Hollywood was ahead of the curve.

In a weak movie year, "The Social Network" seemed headed for an Oscar triumph. Then came "The King's Speech."

The movies are polar opposites. "The King's Speech" is a period piece about a stammering king who turns to an unorthodox speech therapist. It's also full of well-established Oscar-winners and nominees: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter. Even before its release, the film looked like an instant recipe for Academy pie.

And guess what? Last week, "The King's Speech" dominated two important pre-Oscar awards, the Golden Globes (seven nominations) and the Screen Actors Guild (four, a tie with "The Fighter"). Suddenly, "The Social Network" is shaping up as an also-ran.

Young dot-commers, meet British actors in regal attire. There's no contest.

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