Faye is not amused.
I know, I know... but surely I am not the only one who found it all a bit silly and trite? I liked how it weaved around the idea of the romance being so cliche - in fact, there was so freaky similarity between Network's "I'm turning into one of your scripts" outbursts and Scream 4! - but it never really caught on until Holden's big final scene. "You're television incarnate, Diana."
It's a shame then because the rest of the film is so fantastic. Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay is a marvel of verbal gymnastics, with witty barbs thrown about as casually as breath. The performances are of equal worth, too, especially Dunaway who just lashes her tongue and rips your face off with her vocal delivery. Network won for Oscars and is one of only two films to win three acting trophies. As one of the winners, Beatrice Straight's five minute performance as William Holden's put upon wife can't help but be judged harshly. There's nothing there that's particularly revelatory about what is essentially a two scene cameo and, frustratingly, her character is a whole mountain of silly. But, you know, she yells a lot in her big scene and I guess that's all you need. Beatrice Straight is certainly no Viola Davis in the pantheon of great cameo actresses, that's for sure. Ned Beatty's equally small part, however, is one I can entirely get behind.
Having now seen it, I can see the reasons why people were comparing this year's Oscar race to that of 1977. The talky, modern day, socially relevant movie with a screenplay for the all time list wins several major categories, but is ultimately trumped by a feel good movie. That Rocky and The King's Speech were both incredibly well-received by critics and audiences alike means nothing to the tsk tsk-ing important people who begrudge their wins. No doubt that Network and The Social Network were amongst the best films of their year, but for all the talk of the "real classic" being unrewarded, I can think of several films from both 1976 and 2010 that deserved the Academy's statue even more. B+