So I'm guessing Karina Longworth didn't like The King's Speech. Correction: I'm guessing Karina Longworth HATED The King's Speech. Correction: I'm guessing Karina Longworth has a personal vendetta against The King's Speech and everything it stands for.
I personally liked the movie quite a bit, and if Colin Firth's performance qualifies as "capital-A 'Acting!'" then so do the central performances in the alleged "innovative" directors' films, including Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Hailie Steinfeld, etc. If "true acting" means an actor must always underplay emotions and never include speech impediments, mental defects or any other such characteristics in a performance, then the art of acting is dead and we're in for some pretty dull movies ahead.
True, The King's Speech is far from innovative -- it's essentially the "Rocky" of public speaking. But Rocky -- if you haven't seen it lately -- is an outstanding film. Not innovative, but beautifully made (and for my money, a better film than The Fighter, which I liked quite a bit). As for innovation, though, none of the other nominated movies this year are really all that innovative either, with the possible exception of Inception and parts (but not all) of The Black Swan. The Fighter breaks no new ground, it's just a well-made film about interesting characters in a working-class setting. True Grit is one of the most mainstream -- if not THE most mainstream -- of the Coen Brothers' films. Winter's Bone is in no way innovative except maybe for the locale its story is set in and the kind of characters it explores -- the filmmaking, while very good, is hardly groundbreaking. I guess The Social Network is "innovative" in the way it -- no, there's not really much innovative there either, except maybe the score -- it's just got some wonderful acting (with a lower-case a, I guess) and some fantastic writing and very capable direction.
There is, however, something wonderfully subversive in a buttoned-down Anglophilic period drama that builds a key plot point around the F-word, and something beautifully poignant about a scene in which a monarch reveals private details of his childhood to, of all people, a speech therapist, while indulging in a pleasure that has remarkably eluded him all his life: gluing pieces of a model airplane together.
Furthermore, I would say there's something horribly closed-minded about critics who assume that just because a movie takes place in the 1930s with British actors playing well-dressed aristocratic characters, that the film automatically has little or nothing of merit. Out-of-the-box thinking is not merely the goal of filmmakers -- it's also sometimes required of filmgoers as well.
All in all, if The King's Speech won a Best Picture Oscar on Sunday...I'd be just fine with that.