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Awards Update: King’s Speech’s Hooper Wins DGA , Sundance Prizes, Santa Barbara Fest Tributes

Awards Update: King's Speech's Hooper Wins DGA , Sundance Prizes, Santa Barbara Fest Tributes

There’s a lot going on this weekend on the awards front.

The big news was Tom Hooper’s win for The King’s Speech at the DGA Awards Saturday. David Fincher was a strong favorite for The Social Network, which has been on a winning streak of late across critics’ groups and The Golden Globes. But Hooper’s win continues to push the momentum toward The King’s Speech, which scored the most Oscar nominations last week (12).

The DGA winner is a strong predictor of the best director Oscar. The DGA winner has lost the Oscar only six times. It also tends to predict best picture. Another indicator of a potential Oscar documentary win is the DGA winner, Charles Ferguson for Inside Job.

At the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s annual screenwriters’ panel Saturday (which I moderated), Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and David Seidler (The King’s Speech) charmingly dominated the room. They will be the likely winners of the Oscars for adapted and original screenplay, respectively. And if The King’s Speech wins both best actor Colin Firth and best ensemble on Sunday, then it will surely win Best Picture on Oscar night February 27.

Oscar campaigning is pushing into Phase Two. When Jesse Eisenberg hosted Saturday Night Live, he was joined by Mark Zuckerberg, who has clearly seen the light about what a good thing The Social Network turned out to be. Would he have been on the cover of Time without it?

Friday night Annette Bening accepted the Santa Barbara American Riviera Award from her Open Range co-star, Kevin Costner at the SBIFF; she is battling Black Swan‘s Natalie Portman for Best Actress. Sandra Bullock had delivered a memorable evening the year before–and went on to win the Oscar. On Saturday, Oscar nominee and co-host James Franco turned up a half an hour late after Oscar rehearsals ran over schedule to accept his Performance of the Year award for 127 Hours from his Pineapple Express co-star Seth Rogen, who, in case we didn’t know it already, has a future in stand-up. Leonard Maltin gracefully pulled a lot out of the exhausted Franco, who smiled whenever the room erupted in girlish screams. Inception writer-director Chris Nolan will get his tribute Sunday night.

Also on Saturday the Sundance Film Festival came to a close, awarding prizes to dramatic jury winner Like Crazy (Paramount), which also won best actress for Felicity Jones (beating the fest’s other “it” girls Brit Marling and Elizabeth Olsen). Other critics’ fave Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox Searchlight) won best directing for Sean Durkin. Writer/director Sam Levinson won the Waldo Salt screenwriting award for Another Happy Day. Peter D. Richardson’s How To Die In Oregon won the U.S. Documentary jury prize, while doc Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles won best directing for rookie Jon Foy.

Anne Sewitsky’s Happy Happy took the grand jury prize in the World Dramatic competition. Actor-turned-director Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur won directing and a special jury prize for actor Peter Mullan, while James Marsh won best direction for Project Nim (HBO/Roadside).

Audience awards went to Circumstance (U.S Dramatic), Horse Whisperer doc Buck (U.S. Documentary, Sundance Selects), Kinyarwanda (World Dramatic), and Senna (World Documentary).

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