For Oscar fortune tellers who have been banging the drum that “The Social Network” was going to be the clear and obvious winner at this year’s Oscars, the past week has been a bracing wake-up call. On Tuesday morning, “The King’s Speech” walked away with the lion’s share of nominations, notching twelve under its belt. And last night, the film earned another major push that makes it clear it will be the film to beat at the end of February.
Tom Hooper has won Best Director for a feature film, at the DGA Awards handed out yesterday, and if history repeats itself, he’ll want to clear space on his mantle. All five of this year’s director nominees have earned Oscar spots and last year, Kathryn Bigelow took home DGA honors and then went on to win Best Director and Best Picture (“The Hurt Locker“) at the Oscars. So, while many have commended the Academy for some progressive choices over the years, this time around, it looks like a well-constructed, old-fashioned period picture with a big heart is wooing Oscar voters.
Only six times ever has the DGA winner and the Oscar Best Director not matched. In the last decade it happened twice; once in 2002 with “Chicago” and “The Pianist” (the musical won best picture, but Roman Polanski took the Best Director prize) and before that in 2000 when Steven Soderbergh won Best Director for “Traffic,” but Ridley Scott‘s “Gladiator” took the Best Picture trophy. The odds are stacked against Fincher to pull an upset here, but if there’s one director who can surely unseat Hooper this year, he’s the only man with a shot.
Also taking home honors last night was Charles Ferguson, who won Best Director in the documentary category for “Inside Job.” That film, also nominated for an Academy Award, looks headed for Oscar gold as well.
No word yet if Harvey Weinstein will follow through with plans to re-edit “The King’s Speech” for a PG-13 rating (it currently has an R thanks to a handful of swearing) but as it continues to pick up steam, you can bet he will want as many people to see it as possible. [IndieWire]