Now it begins.
“The Social Network,” the heavily promoted, critically acclaimed movie about the founding of Facebook, has been seen for weeks as the film to beat for best picture at the 2011 Academy Awards. But its less than spectacular box office performance in its opening weekend has shifted the playing field — upon which there may now be a brawl.
With the movie’s suddenly not looking quite as bulletproof as many thought it was, a range of other best picture possibilities — perhaps even the animated “Toy Story 3” — now have more room to maneuver.
Oscar handicappers at Web sites like TheWrap.com and Incontention.com have been pairing “The Social Network,” directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, as a front-runner with “The King’s Speech,” a classic British period drama that is directed by Tom Hooper, stars Colin Firth and will be released on Nov. 26 by the Weinstein Company.
But some unexpected players, lured by the relative ease of getting one of 10 best picture nominations in a field that was widened from 5 last year — as well as by the opportunity created when “The Social Network” failed to overwhelm at the box office — are getting ready to change the campaign dynamic.