I'm not sure we watched the same movie, but I think someone is a bit butt hurt that big Hollywood blockbusters didn't win this year, and for good reason, they were big Hollywood blockbusters. Inception made absolutely no sense for the sake of making absolutely no sense. The reason for Nolan's complex story was simply to create dialog amongst nerds and nothing else. Ambiguity is irrelevant in this case since the movie itself can be interpretted and explained in more than 10 ways. Other than that, the film itself simply took a bunch of famous action movies and placed them next to eachother for us to sit through. There is nothing truly innovative about that. If you took out the "cerebral" aspect of the film, a bunch of guys go through a dream and shoot dream people, end of story. There isn't much to debate about the quality of the movie since it simply isn't there. The Matrix had a better story and utilized the dream world better. Or if you want to see a really good "dream" movie, which apparently helped spark the idea for Nolan in the first place, I suggest you watch Paprika by Satoshi Kon. The Social Network was interesting, but wasn't innovative either. Stories about people we despise aren't new and neither was Fincher's conservative filmmaking style. I dare you to find a single scene in The Social Network shot better than The King's Speech. Even The Social Network's best shot scene could not compete with The King's Speech worst shot scene. In terms of story, in both films, nothing really happens. The difference is that, if you disregard their social status, Fincher wants us to cheer for a doucher who hates people while Hooper asks us to cheer for someone who simply wants to better himself for the sake of his people. Maybe in your opinion this isn't a bad thing but when someone drives recklessly not caring about others around him on the freeway, I don't personally cheer that person on. In my opinion, Black Swan was the only other reasonable contender to The King's Speech. Still, I didn't find the film "cerebral" as you would put it. If the twists or plot surprised you in anyway, you haven't seen enough films or read enough books. Still, the movie was good and had my vote until I watched King's Speech. From a filmmaking standpoint, there was no better this Oscar season. Every shot was calculated, perfectly composed, and stood out from your standard Hollywood fair (which none of the others films that you mentioned did). Sure, the story was a "happy" and "feel-good" story, but it was on a subject matter more unique than any of the other films you mentioned. I admired its simplicity without trying to be completely off-the-wall and insulting my intelligence. It wasn't trying to hide anything or use complexity or crazy special effects to mask the rest of the movies faults. It was simply amazing filmmaking. Sure, the Academy makes mistakes, and Shakespeare in Love is one of the biggest, but I feel that this year they got it right. It might be just coincidence that the best film made this year was British, and seeing that apparently you're a diehard American advocate, this makes you butt hurt.