Are Oscar-worthy films always historically accurate?

Prashasti Awadhiya ('12)/Eastside radio manager

Over the past few years, many great films based on true stories have not only touched the hearts of Americans, but have also been nominated for Academy Awards. However, though these films evoke such reactions, some of the inaccuracies present within the film might offer audiences a different perspective on the true meaning of films based on true stories.

David O Russell’s The Fighter is essentially a biographical film on boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg). Yet one can find inconsistencies within the historical aspect of the film when Ward fights opponent Max Mungin. The film describes Mungin’s weight as twenty pounds heavier than Ward, but in actuality, Mungin’s weight is only 8.5 pounds heavier. Additionally, in the film, Ward’s fight record is listed as 30 wins and 7 losses in place of the actual records – 34 wins and 9 losses. But, in this case, these inconsistencies remain minor and insignificant to the plot.

In fact, in an interview with USA Today, the real Micky Ward said, “I was very happy with [The Fighter]… I’m very proud of how they portrayed it.”

The winner of the Oscar for Best Picture of 2011, The King’s Speech, portrays the life of King George VI, known as Bertie, (Colin Firth) and his battle with a speech impediment. The backdrop of the film is what raises the eyebrows, however. In the film, Bertie’s brother Edward VIII nonchalantly comments on the foolish Nazis. Conversely, Edward VIII was an admirer of Hitler and fascism. During Edward VIII’s abdication crisis, Winston Churchill counsels Bertie, and Edward’s behavior disappoints him. This flaw shocked many critics since Churchill supported Edward, during the abdication crisis.

The Social Network, the “Facebook Movie,” is more or less the story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg). In an interview with Justin.tv, Zuckerberg said, “The thing that I think is actually most thematically interesting that they got wrong is the whole framing of the movie.”

Zuckerberg’s biggest complaint was how the film depicts the creation of Facebook. According to Zuckerberg, the reason he created Facebook was because he liked building new things, rather than “getting girls,” as he believes the film portrays the incentive.

With more and more movies based on real life events achieving critical acclaim, one must also keep in mind the original, true screenplay of the film – the one that was written by history. With the commercial promotions of the films, the audience seems to lose its connection to the reality of the story.