In Contention


Tom Hooper wins DGA Award

Posted by Guy Lodge · 10:43 pm · January 29th, 2011

Even after “The King’s Speech” surprised at the Producers’ Guild Awards and took a dozen Oscar nominations, I held on to the notion that critical favorite “The Social Network,” a film more in line with the Academy’s recent choices, would emerge victorious on Oscar night.

However, Kris called it right. When the former film’s comparatively inexperienced director can beat a heavyweight field of Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan and the Davids Fincher and O. Russell to the Directors’ Guild prize — and for a film that’s widely been deemed, rightly or wrongly, an actors’ showcase more than a director’s one — it’s clear the tide has turned. It pains me to say it, folks, but the stammering-royal drama is your Best Picture winner.

That said, I’m not willing to hand Hooper an accompanying Best Director Oscar just yet. Although the Academy and the Guild have parted ways in this category just six times in 64 years, their last such disagreement strikes me as a pertinent one.

In 2002, freshman director Rob Marshall won at the DGA for runaway Best Picture frontrunner “Chicago,” leaving still-unawarded veterans Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski on the sidelines. The Academy, however, wasn’t quite so welcoming to the newcomer: his film still emerged triumphant in the big race, but Polanski pipped him to the post.

Will the Academy be similarly reluctant this year to let the Best Picture juggernaut sweep its helmer to the podium ahead of four more seasoned (and three more due) filmmakers? I imagine they might be, but perhaps my vision is just clouded by my own personal bewilderment at the turn the race has taken. I’m no “Social Network” die-hard, but I think it’d be a shame to deny a filmmaker as significant and substantial as Fincher a career-crowning Oscar for such a universally approved vehicle, least of all in favor of a directorial achievement as modest as Hooper’s. But that’s me. Clearly industry folks feel differently.

Is the year’s most acclaimed film really going to wind up with just a writing Oscar to its credit? Even “L.A. Confidential” managed more than that.

In other news, it was no surprise that Charles Ferguson took the Guild’s documentary award for “Inside Job” — though with only a two-film overlap between the DGA’s and the Academy’s nominees in this category, it’s not the most conclusive of Oscar bellwethers. (Fun fact: in 20 years, just two DGA-winning docs have gone on to take the Oscar. Last year’s “The Cove” was one of them.)

Meanwhile, here’s some cold comfort for “Shutter Island” fans: Martin Scorsese just won his second DGA gong… for “Boardwalk Empire.”




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166 responses so far

  • 1 1-29-2011 at 11:01 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    If Hooper wins, it’s all over.

    I have my fingers crossed for Fincher, though. In my opinion, he made the best film nominated.

  • 2 1-29-2011 at 11:28 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    Yep, Tom Hooper won. It’s all over.

  • 3 1-29-2011 at 11:30 pm

    Gabriel D. said...

    Yayyyy, I’m really shocked, but pretty happy about that!

  • 4 1-29-2011 at 11:30 pm

    Ibbs said...

    I feel so bad for David Fincher.

  • 5 1-29-2011 at 11:31 pm

    Speaking English said...

    My heart literally sank. Very, very unfortunate.

  • 6 1-29-2011 at 11:32 pm

    Nick Davis said...

    You and me both, Speaking English. At least he seems like a nice guy. Though I’m hoping this can still go all Chicago on us. I guess Best Picture is gone, but I’m not ready to hand that Director statue to Hooper.

  • 7 1-29-2011 at 11:32 pm

    Gustavo Cruz said...

    TKS is slightly better than TSN, but still I’d vote for Fincher in a Director category. He deserves it for other movies he’s done in the past.

  • 8 1-29-2011 at 11:34 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    The Academy should start recruiting film critics.

  • 9 1-29-2011 at 11:38 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    So is Hooper now the favorite for the Oscar as well?

    The Mr Hyde part of me wants to see Tom Hooper beat Fincher, Aronofsky, Coens and O’Russell so that twenty years from now kids getting into film and the oscars will look back and be like WTF.

  • 10 1-29-2011 at 11:39 pm

    Patryk said...

    Quite a shock, actually. The least deserving takes it. After 5 straight years of making the correct choice, the DGA is entitled to one blunder.

  • 11 1-29-2011 at 11:40 pm

    americanrequeim said...

    funny the last time fincher won he said he doesnt want to get used to it….

    sad day, sad.

    The girl with the Dragon Tatoo will be helped in the awards circuit by finchers loss. O well. Heres to next year

  • 12 1-29-2011 at 11:42 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    “Though I’m hoping this can still go all Chicago on us. ”

    Here, here!

  • 13 1-29-2011 at 11:42 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    As much I love TKS and its success, the DGA win is shocking and perplexing to me. I still don’t believe that TKS will win the SAG tomorrow. One thing is certain: if it does take the Best Cast award (and/or HBS wins Best Supporting Actress), then the race for Best Picture really is over.

  • 14 1-29-2011 at 11:43 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will be a franchise movie, though – that may hurt. On the other hand, it’s a dark and rather violent thriller – much more “classic” Fincher – which may help.

  • 15 1-29-2011 at 11:46 pm

    parker said...

    sasha stone’s head just exploded

  • 16 1-29-2011 at 11:47 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Paul is the race for best picture IS over. It’s over people!

  • 17 1-29-2011 at 11:48 pm

    red_wine said...

    I can’t complain for lack of variety now can I.
    Its just shocking how overwhelmingly the race has taken an about turn.

    I remember in November I think Anne had said “I can feel it in my bones that TKS is going to win Best Picture”. And Kris & Anne had both been saying that the Academy would eat up TKS (and got much flak from other pundits for not sticking up for the greatest film of all time). But now it all seems to be settling nicely. I still won’t rule out Fincher for the Oscars as others have said.

  • 18 1-29-2011 at 11:48 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Yeah, I guess it’s obvious that The King’s Speech will very likely win Best Picture now, but I think Fincher’s got a solid shot at still getting Best Director. It’s only happened six times in the past where the DGA and Oscar awards for directing don’t line up, but this year could be one of ‘em.

  • 19 1-29-2011 at 11:51 pm

    bluemoon02 said...

    I still have faith that David Fincher will win on Oscar night. I still think TSN is a better directed and written film. TKS is good and nice and mildly inspiring but thats all. I was truly demoralized when Tom Hooper won.

  • 20 1-29-2011 at 11:51 pm

    qwiggles said...

    Fish-eye lens sales increase 1000% overnight.
    You heard it here first.

  • 21 1-29-2011 at 11:55 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    Exactly qwiggles.

    Here come more films like The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love! Thank God Black Swan and True Grit did well at the box office.

  • 22 1-29-2011 at 11:56 pm

    Pablo (BOG) said...

    I dont think the race is actually over. Fincher has career that has received more exposure than Tom Hooper’s and that may still give him the edge to win Best Director.

    Another entire thing is Best Picture. The race there is very tight and all that has to happen for TKS to seal that deal is winning the SAG. I think that will say it all.

  • 23 1-30-2011 at 12:02 am

    sosgemini said...

    And to think i was rudely mocked here for pointing out the obvious: Those who could relate to The Social Network were hugely over represented by the target demograph within all the critic’s groups to declare their award results credible this Oscar season. Is this race over? Hell no!! It’s still anyone’s guess. I just hope the pundits and all of us who enjoy discussing the Oscar race online will stop using made up theories to justify their own opinion. In the end, my fav film will remain the same this year despite which regional film critic association stated or what “the” Academy says. I hope others can be adult enough to respect, appreciate and declare the same.

    Same as it ever was…

    …just saying.

  • 24 1-30-2011 at 12:02 am

    Alex in Movieland said...

    wow, this win is just silly :)

    I still feel like Fincher is the Oscar front-runner for this category, though. The man deserves his Oscar and academy members know that…

    I predict 5 wins for The King’s Speech: Picture, Actor, Original Scr., Original Score & Art Direction.

  • 25 1-30-2011 at 12:05 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I also hope Danny Cohen beats Deakins, Libatique, Pfister and Cronenweth on Oscar night.

  • 26 1-30-2011 at 12:06 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Lots of mocking at the gall to think TKS was the one this year, sosgemini. Unfortunately.

  • 27 1-30-2011 at 12:12 am

    Drew said...

    Well, looks like my prediction about The King’s Speech sweeping the oscar’s might come true. Not that I feel it deserves it, but wha the hell, looks like the oscar’s are back to their old way of voting.

  • 28 1-30-2011 at 12:17 am

    Hans said...

    “Will the Academy be similarly reluctant this year to let the Best Picture juggernaut sweep its helmer to the podium ahead of four more seasoned (and far more due) filmmakers?”

    Well, three. Coens have their Oscar.

    Oh, Nolan…

  • 29 1-30-2011 at 12:18 am

    Anita said...

    Really, DGA? You had all those choices and you went with THAT? This will be a truly embarassing awards season to look back on. Thankfully, the films will speak for themselves, regardless of the winner.

  • 30 1-30-2011 at 12:20 am

    Raffi said...

    How about a Hooper/Fincher split with Darren Aronofsky winning? Eh? Eh? ;-)

  • 31 1-30-2011 at 12:24 am

    Speaking English said...

    ***Is the year’s most acclaimed film really going to wind up with just a writing Oscar to its credit?***

    No. I say it does like “Traffic” and also wins Editing and Directing. Then add on a possible Score win.

    ***Here come more films like The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love!***

    Don’t say that, please. “The English Patient” is worlds better than “The King’s Speech.”

  • 32 1-30-2011 at 12:25 am

    Wally said...

    Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

    TSN really has become the Citizen Kane of our time. stupid voters.

  • 33 1-30-2011 at 12:26 am

    sosgemini said...

    Tapley,

    Don’t add me to that list. Thus far, Animal Kingdom is , IMHO, the film that should be walking away with all the awards. Yet, I am not arrogant enough to find fake algorithms to justify my opinion. And that’s my problem with modern day Oscar punditry. With the exception of this site, most bloggers/pundits seem hell bent on justifying their opinion (while never pointing out the obvious—that it’s just an opinion)—all discussion (and the fun of discussing the Oscar season) is rendered moot.

    Look at the reaction of Hooper”s victory for proof of my argument. Anyone who disagrees that Fincher is the Best Director appears to be destined for ridicule. Seriously? Is that what film criticism has evolved into?

  • 34 1-30-2011 at 12:31 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    How weird. Of the directors nominated this year, Fincher’s my favorite, but his film wasn’t my favorite. I loved TKS, but I liked Fincher’s direction of TSN more. But I thought both efforts were less impressive than those of Russsell, Nolan and Aronofsky. So all the Hooper hate and Fincher fanaticism I’m seeing (mostly elsewhere online right now) is silly to me.

    And I still don’t think the race is over yet.

  • 35 1-30-2011 at 12:36 am

    Mark said...

    Good to see TKS, the best movie of the year getting its due from the people who know it best.
    The only award going to TSN on Feb 27th is Adapted Screenplay.

  • 36 1-30-2011 at 12:37 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Certainly not adding you, sosgemini. Fortunately you get it.

  • 37 1-30-2011 at 12:38 am

    ann said...

    Wow, how sad hooper will probably win the oscar.
    Poor nolan and fincher — academy better make up them in the future because when people reflect on the oscar in the future this will look like a travesty.

  • 38 1-30-2011 at 12:45 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    A travesty?

    Really?

  • 39 1-30-2011 at 12:45 am

    Loyal said...

    It’s also important to note that 3/6 DGA/Oscar splits happened fairly recently. I still think Fincher wins it.

    And quite frankly even if he doesn’t, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is less than a year away from pushing Fincher back into the race yet again, this time with that magical December release. 3 Best Director noms in 4 years.

  • 40 1-30-2011 at 12:45 am

    John G said...

    This is exciting. My favourite film of the year starting to show its presence and make the Oscar race so much more interesting.

  • 41 1-30-2011 at 12:48 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    The only travesty around here is that Gosling snub.

  • 42 1-30-2011 at 12:49 am

    Collin said...

    Tom Hooper just made it look easy. He fully deserved the win.

  • 43 1-30-2011 at 12:50 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’d love to know why people are so sure Fincher has any kind of Oscar shot for the “Dragon Tattoo” remake.

  • 44 1-30-2011 at 12:54 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Everyone who still thinks Fincher wins it: Why? Honestly, what possible reasoning could you have?

    The Chicago thing doesn’t fully wash. Nicholson was banging the drum for Polanski, who had not yet won an Oscar after decades in the business and helmed A HOLOCAUST DRAMA. And Fincher ain’t no Polanski yet.

  • 45 1-30-2011 at 12:55 am

    Beau said...

    Genuinely wasted for subpar, pedestrian filmmaking.

  • 46 1-30-2011 at 12:57 am

    ann said...

    sorry i think it’s disappointed the oscar always goes for the obvious melodrama film. I wouldn’t minded it if tks won best picture but director over some deserving nominee. And now it seems like a done deal. Lool, i really need to calm down…

  • 47 1-30-2011 at 1:04 am

    qwiggles said...

    Travesty is the right word: though its proximity in letters to ‘tragedy’ has long resulted in dumbasses using the words interchangeably, it really does mean a cheap imitation posing as the real deal, which is par for the conversation (unlike, say, “Ryan Gosling not being nominated is a real burlesque.”) If you’re going to quibble with a term, you should at least know what it means.

  • 48 1-30-2011 at 1:05 am

    Loyal said...

    @ Guy.

    Just a prediction based on the available release schedule. Things will of course change but that’s what I have at 3am. Clooney, Fincher, Malick, Payne, Spielberg.

    @ Kris

    You’re probably right. I was feeling a split this year because I did buy into the critical acclaim hype. But the guilds are definitely telling a different story.

    Personally, I think Hooper did a fantastic job. Sure it’s not the most innovative or flashy but there’s more to directing that dream layers and tilt-shifts. IF he wins, he earned it.

  • 49 1-30-2011 at 1:09 am

    qwiggles said...

    Anyway, weird stuff, but not TOO weird. Hooper and his one-trick off-centre compositions can proudly sit at the table with Ron ‘Medium Shot’ Howard, lest we forget that strong visual storytellers do not always win here.

  • 50 1-30-2011 at 1:19 am

    red_wine said...

    @Guy

    Scorsese also won for re-making a hit foreign language thriller. Might work for Fincher as well.

    And Jesus guys, Fincher is a good enough director to be nominated soon enough and multiple times in the future. He is also in the academy club now, meaning he will keep getting nominated. And lest someone forget, Fincher did his best work BEFORE he started getting into the awards conversation that is before Benjamin Button.

  • 51 1-30-2011 at 1:27 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    “Travesty is the right word: though its proximity in letters to ‘tragedy’ has long resulted in dumbasses using the words interchangeably…”

    Dumbasses also overlook the fact that when something is referred to as a travesty, it’s very often shorthand for a “travesty of justice” (something grossly unfair), and not a mistaken substitute for “tragedy.” Because it may be sad that Gosling wasn’t nominated, but it’s certainly not tragic.

  • 52 1-30-2011 at 1:33 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Red_Wine: The Departed skewed male, older, and was packed with Hollywood stars. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is younger, female-driven and led by a comparative unknown. Moreover, The Departed wasn’t a remake of a crossover hit from the year before. I just don’t see it.

  • 53 1-30-2011 at 1:38 am

    qwiggles said...

    Suit yourself: reading the omission of a contender who never really got traction as a grotesque parody of justice seems more over the top to me than calling a pedestrian win like Hooper’s a burlesquing of this otherwise respectable-ish branch. But probably this is a matter of taste.

  • 54 1-30-2011 at 1:49 am

    Basti said...

    Oh come on… What a Joke…

  • 55 1-30-2011 at 1:58 am

    DarkLayers said...

    This is pretty unfortunate. Interesting point about 02. It is also worth noting the pianist had a lot of momentum, broadly with Brody and writing-adapted getting Oscars. Also, generally, we often see more acclaimed films get ‘direction’ in split years and tsn-tks fits the mold.

  • 56 1-30-2011 at 2:01 am

    Andy Kahn said...

    I guess members of the guilds are loving Kings Speech. But am I alone in thinking that it was sort of just a well acted HBO movie? It just didn’t feel cinematic or truly special to me, whereas the other contenders – Yes, Social Network, but also Black Swan and definitely The Fighter, were better directed and, at least for me, better movie going experiences. I think that tomorrow’s SAG Awards will tell the story. If The Fighter wins supporting actor and actress and ensemble, as I believe it will — showing huge actors support, I think the race will solidify as The King’s Speech VS The Fighter, with Social Network getting just a screenplay win. And I think this is going to definitely be a year with a director/picture split. At least it’s interesting, so I can’t complain much.

  • 57 1-30-2011 at 2:03 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking The King’s Speech isn’t “acclaimed,” DarkLayers.

  • 58 1-30-2011 at 2:07 am

    Loyal said...

    “I guess members of the guilds are loving Kings Speech. But am I alone in thinking that it was sort of just a well acted HBO movie?”

    How is The Social Network any different from an episode of The West Wing set at Harvard?

    See, it works both ways.

  • 59 1-30-2011 at 2:17 am

    Derek 8-Track said...

    That is Fantastic News! I hope Speech is able to grab flick, director, actor, and cinematography at the Oscars, anything more will be a bonus for me.

  • 60 1-30-2011 at 2:32 am

    Mark said...

    Yikes. Further proof that the award season is totally and utterly meaningless. TV directors pick TV director to win. Shocker.

    I keep thinking about the crowd reaction shots during Firth’s speech… some kind of internet meme just waiting to be created there…

  • 61 1-30-2011 at 2:39 am

    The Great Dane said...

    It speaks VOLUMES that a relative “unknown” can walk away with the DGA, beating out more well-known “auteurs”. Maybe it just sticks out more as a film. Maybe there was a Fincher/Aranofsky split? Even a Fincher/Aranofsky/Nolan split? Maybe it’s political again. After Bush the world craved FEEL-GOOD and chose Slumdog. With such political ups and downs recently people way just want to warm themselves up again? And they sure as hell won’t do that with the doom and darkness of Inception, Black Swan and Social Network.

    I don’t know… But it’s just weird, if Rob Marshall and John Madden couldn’t win the Oscar, I can’t see how Tom Hooper can, really?
    Remember, they both had 13 nominations each (and one of them a DGA). But will Oscar give the Director Oscar to a newcomer for his second film? When was the last time they didn’t give it to a “veteran”? Aside from Sam Mendes (American Beauty) it hasn’t happened for decades, unless you where a very successful actor stepping into directing shoes.

  • 62 1-30-2011 at 2:47 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I wouldn’t call the likes of Steven Soderbergh, Peter Jackson, Danny Boyle et al “veterans,” but I get what you mean by the term.

    An obvious precedent you’re forgetting (not least because of the Weinstein connection) is Anthony Minghella. “The English Patient” was only his third feature — and his first, I’d bet, that most Academy members saw.

  • 63 1-30-2011 at 3:15 am

    mike r. said...

    No offense to anyone who likes The King’s Speech, but I don’t understand how you could be a film lover and not be embarassed by the fact that the King’s Speech is going to sweep the Oscars. Tom Hooper’s direction detracted from the movie, not enhanced it. Any time I tried to get into the movie his awkward shots took me completely out of it. It’s incomprehensible to me. I get that it’s an interesting story, but the best picture shouldn’t go to the best story, it should reward great filmmaking which The Kings Speech quite frankly is not.

  • 64 1-30-2011 at 3:18 am

    Jason Travis said...

    Sorry but I don’t get what the big deal about “The Social Network” is. I haven’t seen the movie, I plan on this week- but judging by the trailers it seems like a self-righteous snob fest for quiet white males who aren’t happy people in real life. Who cares about the creator of facebook? It’s not a compelling story, the man is a billionaire. He was sued because of what exactly? “The King’s Speech”, which I have seen, was a majestic film of grace and poise. It’s about time a period film won this thing again.

    That being said, David Fincher will still win the Oscar for best director. So don’t lose your faith SN fans.

  • 65 1-30-2011 at 3:32 am

    Samuel said...

    For a bit of perspective – The King’s Speech is the fourth highest rated film in the Oscar ten on metacritic. Behind Network, Toy Story 3 and Winter’s Bone. Its 88 is, from memory (since the ridiculous metacritic redesign seems to have buried the old page that gave you a rundown of award winners and their scores by year), a very good score in the scheme of previous BP winners. It’s better than Slumdog, Departed, Chicago and Million Dollar Baby.
    Anyway, this is a long way of saying that Speech is still critically acclaimed and worthy of the win, if that’s your criteria.

  • 66 1-30-2011 at 3:49 am

    Voland said...

    That’s devastating news. Since when it is all about rewarding the BP frontrunner and not the greatest achievement in directing? Hooper’s direction was by far the worst of the 5 nominated directors, and you should assume, the director branch itself would recognize that. TKS can win BP, fine, but there’s no way I can accept a win for directing (or cinematography) on oscar night. Just devastating.

  • 67 1-30-2011 at 3:52 am

    red_wine said...

    I would not have any of the 6 directors nominated for Best Director by DGA or the Oscars in my Director Top 5 line-up for the year. So one person winning is as good as another person winning as far as I am concerned.

  • 68 1-30-2011 at 4:08 am

    Dooby said...

    This might be off topic, but Helena Bonham-Carter slights her performance again:
    http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/movies/news/a300923/bonham-carter-wants-fewer-tim-burton-roles.html

    “I feel like I’m flying on their coattails.”

  • 69 1-30-2011 at 4:09 am

    Joe said...

    Of course Fincher did a better job but Hooper did a remarkable job too; TKS is one of the most convincing period pieces of all time.

  • 70 1-30-2011 at 4:12 am

    San FranCinema said...

    I keep thinking back to that most cliched of Oscar moments, Sally Field saying, “You like me.”

    They like The King’s Speech.

    Most of us liked it.

    Apparently you don’t have to love something to vote for it. You don’t have to think it’s groundbreaking filmmaking.

    You just have to think, “I liked that one.”

  • 71 1-30-2011 at 4:13 am

    Glenn said...

    To whoever said we’ll now be getting more movies like “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love”: if only “The King’s Speech” were as perfect as “Shakespeare”.

  • 72 1-30-2011 at 4:14 am

    Graysmith said...

    The saddest thing about all of this is already on display among these very comments, a lashing out at Tom Hooper for beating the big favourite, as if Hooper made a terrible film and is a hack and all that. Except he’s not. I haven’t even seen The King’s Speech yet, but I saw The Damned United last year, a damn fine, sadly overlooked film. Stop blindly bashing people just because they beat your guy. Stop taking all this shit so fucking seriously, it’s not the end of the world for anyone involved.

    While I would say the Best Picture race is now a done deal, I do think if there ever was to be a year with a Best Picture / Director split, it’d be this year. While Fincher might not have the back catalogue a la Roman Polanski, he’s certainly made a lot of fine films over the years. He may not be due, but he has plenty of goodwill from past films. Hooper on the other hand, is pretty much unknown.

    In fact, looking at IMDb, Hooper fits in quite well with Best Director “losers” Rob Marshall and Paul Haggis. They all directed the popular Best Picture winners but none of them had a very long, storied (feature film) directing career behind them.

    It’s surely not the open and shut case it seemed like it was, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say Hooper’s going to win the Oscar. It’s definitely a race now though.

  • 73 1-30-2011 at 4:15 am

    Jason Travis said...

    There’s more passion for “The King’s Speech”. Sorry but I don’t know anyone who is saying “I LOVE The Social Network. It’s such a wonderful, heartfelt film.” Please. It again, looks self-indulgent and sexist.

  • 74 1-30-2011 at 4:24 am

    John H. Foote said...

    One can never forget that the DGA has done stupid things before — Robert Benton for Kramer vs Kramer over Francis Ford Coppola for Apocalypse Now? Robert Redford for Ordinary People over Martin Scorsese for Raging Bull? Richard Attenborough for Gandhi over Steven Spielberg for E.T.? Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves over Scorsese (again) for Goodfellas? Robert Zemeckis for Forrest Gump over Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction? James Cameron for Titanic over, God, Curtin Hanson for LA Confidential or the non-nominated Atom Egoyan for The Sweet Hereafter? On the other hand they are known to nominated more women than the fickle Academy, have awarded Spielberg more nominations than any other director, and seem to know that Frank Darabont and Christopher Nolan direct movies. So as good as they are, the DGA has been known, many times to screw up — last night they did just that. Hooper made a very good, but very conservative and seen it before historical biography, while Fincher made a masterpiece — in ten years which film do you think we will be talking about? How many times do you hear Apocalypse Now or Raging Bull discussed as great films? And Kramer vs Kramer and Ordinary People..thought so.

  • 75 1-30-2011 at 4:24 am

    the other mike said...

    why does it pain you to say it Guy, i thought you didnt like The Social Network, unless you feel The Kings Speech is even worse?

  • 76 1-30-2011 at 4:50 am

    ninja said...

    From bad to worse. I hated TSN-mania (not the movie or Fincher, but the stupid sweep as if nobody else made a good movie) but this is not what I hoped for an upset. Nolan, Aronofsky made amazing original movies but generic Oscar bait wins it all? Way to go PGA, DGA and Oscars (they snubbed Nolan, nuff said).

    I`ll watch the Oscars for Franco and Catwoman, though. I hope they knock it out of the park because there are too many naysayers. Love them both!

  • 77 1-30-2011 at 4:53 am

    geha714 said...

    I woke up this morning and then read the headline. Shock and disappointment came to my mind.

    I saw The King’s Speech last night. It’s a good film but some of the parts were better than the whole result. Colin Firth is nothing short of brilliant and totally deserved the Oscar he has already locked.

    But I wonder if the film could be better. The script fell flat sometimes and the narrative took a turn for the conventional. Rush was good in his role, but Guy Pearce was a lot better. The climatic speech is a great cinematic moment, but the film dragged in the middle.

    Hooper did a good job by making some stylistic choices that took the film out of the Masterpiece Theatre terrain. But if you asked me, there’s no way that Hooper did a better directing job than Fincher, Nolan or Aronosky. Hooper is one talented fellow (I prefer what he did in The Damned United, IMHO a superior film) but he doesn’t deserved the DGA award. His work

    So, what happened then? Maybe the votes splitted and helped Hooper to get the award. Maybe the guild was throwing its support to the film and sending a message of support to TKS in the Oscar race. But there’s no way that Hooper did a better job than Fincher, who I think was robbed.

    Looks to me that there’s a rejection of The Social Network somehow or the way critics made it the presumtive winner a long time before the race even begun. I still think is the best film of the pack (I haven’t see the fighter or true grit yet) but looks seriously that The King’s Speech looks destined to sweep the Oscars on February 27th.

    Looks like confortable and familiar wins over risk and different this year. And that’s very sad.

  • 78 1-30-2011 at 4:59 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    @The Other Mike: I like The Social Network. I don’t personally treasure it, but I think it’s a smart, valuable film.

    I think The King’s Speech (which I reviewed here) is a dull, fussy and unevenly acted ornamentation of a historical footnote. They’re leagues apart for me.

  • 79 1-30-2011 at 5:19 am

    ninja said...

    Neither TSN or TKS is a memorable movie. Outside of fanatical critics and bloggers, nobody cares for TSN and that movie is poised to keep Slumdog and Hurt Locker company in bargain bin a year from now. People simply don`t care. So for all TSN fanatics who think that, if TKS wins Best Picture, it`s gonna be some memorable deplorable upset a la SIL over SPR or Crash over BBM, nope. TSN is a fad. Even Fincher sees that. The guy has talent in spades and guts to admit that this movie ain`t his best nor the best thing since sliced bread as some are making it out to be.

    So bargain bin it is for both TKS and TSN just wait and see. I always sneer when I pass by it at wallmart and see HL and Slumdog. The era of forgettable winners continues. Honestly, was there anything that people still remember winning since ROTK? No matter what one thinks about it (and I think FOTR should`ve won – a masterpiece), everyone knows it and people did care about LOTR at the time and many fans still do. And it isn`t like there weren`t critically acclaimed boxoffice megablockbusters since then that could easily win. Screw both TKS and TSN. seriously, been there done that crap. Inception and Black Swan all the way. Now those two will be talked about for long.

  • 80 1-30-2011 at 5:22 am

    Earl said...

    The formula for KS is simple. Likable characters overcome adversity and with a happy ending.
    Nothing thought provoking, nothing controversial,. People say it is heart felt but it is really just a classic old studio formula film. I imagine Frank Capra would have made it with Jimmy Stewart. He would have been great. This is a terrible decision. They are back to voting for Dances with Wolves and Forest Gump. Time to be realistic and face the fact that this could easily be a 12-0 split. I do not think Bale is safe, not at all. He is just lucky his movie has a happy ending and his character overcame his problems.

  • 81 1-30-2011 at 5:25 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Time to be realistic and face the fact that this could easily be a 12-0 split.

    Not a chance.

  • 82 1-30-2011 at 5:29 am

    Graysmith said...

    It’s starting to sound like it might be time to exit this Oscar season, online discussion-wise. All this negativity and bickering is really off-putting, and sucks any anticipation of the actual show out of me.

  • 83 1-30-2011 at 5:40 am

    Earl said...

    sosgemini – your points are clearly valid.
    It is hard to resist the probabilities. As a sports fan I know that low probability events happen. Still The DGA is right about 90% of the time and it is hard to believe that it will be wrong this time. Best director means Best Picture about 6/7 so the math is the math. I am not hoping for a miracle on Oscar night. The one consolation is that this will elevate several films to cult status. Sometimes losing the Oscar ironically helps in the long run and time is the real test. I still think Inception is the one movie this year that is going to be remembered, but I think SN and Black Swan will now be cult films as well.

  • 84 1-30-2011 at 5:48 am

    Mark said...

    It’s a shame people have to bash Dances With Wolves. It’s a gorgeous film. And I say that as someone who believes Goodfellas should have won that year too.

  • 85 1-30-2011 at 5:52 am

    JJ1 said...

    I’m slightly surprised. But isn’t Hooper big with Directors (from tv work, too, and whatnot)?

    I prefer TSN as a film and for it’s direction. But I don’t see this as a travesty. TKS is an assured work, in my opinion.

    Question: since there have been a few momentum shifts in this season of late … when do final ballots have to be in? I feel like there could be a new momentum shift where TKS is peaking a tad early, and the wind could change towards The Social Network ‘again’ or TG or The Fighter, or something.

  • 86 1-30-2011 at 5:53 am

    JJ1 said...

    Mark, I slightly prefer Dances with Wolves to Goodfellas as a film and for it’s direction. I would have been fine with either winning.

  • 87 1-30-2011 at 5:56 am

    Andrej said...

    I think TKS is a lovely little film, but I can’t really think of it of such a directorial achievement with the competition it had. Even from the point of view of an ‘actor’s movie’, I’d go with The Fighter, but oh well. I liked all these movies a lot anyways, can’t really complain that much.

    I haven’t completely changed my mind yet over Fincher. I’m waiting for tonight’s SAG Awards, and if TKS doesn’t make it, then I’ll keep my hopes for him. But if it happens, then it’s checkmate.

    Remember that “what’s better than winning the critics awards?” TSN fanposter? lol

  • 88 1-30-2011 at 5:56 am

    geha714 said...

    “Time to be realistic and face the fact that this could easily be a 12-0 split.”

    Guy’s right. Not happening.

  • 89 1-30-2011 at 5:58 am

    Mark said...

    @JJ1: Nice to see some love for Wolves. Yes it’s extremely earnest but it’s also beautifully photographed, hauntingly scored and deeply stirring.

  • 90 1-30-2011 at 5:59 am

    Loyal said...

    I wonder if one’s amount of outrage corresponds to the length of time spent oscarwatching.

    I’ll seen all manner of snubs, upsets, and head-scratchers dating back to the mid 90s. How many great films in a given year aren’t even nominated?

    There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about what’s happening with TSN and Fincher. Yeah, they won 5,000 critic awards. But what does that ultimately even mean when you’re dealing with a completely separate voting body, THE voting body that matters.

    Critics are meant to create and help guide the discussion, not dictate it. The Hurt Locker was a one-off, set apart because of it’s historical nature.

    The moment you start taking Best Picture = THE BEST FILM OF 2010 serious is the moment you need a new hobby. BP is a snapshot captured in time by 6000 people, nothing more. Love the movies you love, and if Oscar agrees, fine.

  • 91 1-30-2011 at 6:03 am

    Loyal said...

    @JJ1

    Ballots go out Wednesday and are due back two weeks later, the 16th by 5pm.

    If TKS completes the guild hat trick today, with the added bonus of stellar box office buzz this weekend, there’s not enough time for a backlash or buyer’s remorse ala Golden Globes and Avatar.

  • 92 1-30-2011 at 6:17 am

    Andrew M said...

    I liked TKS, and thought it was directed just fine. But (TSN is my favorite of the year so I’m biased) TSN was obviously better directed. I was getting comfortable with TKS most likely winning picture and TSN winning director, but now I’m just shocked.

  • 93 1-30-2011 at 6:33 am

    Michael said...

    This year is soooo much better than the last three years or so have been at the Oscars. There seems to be more excitement in how things could go. I personally don’t take it as seriously as possibly other people do, but I also don’t like to convince myself that things are set in stone (even when history and recent developments in the current race say otherwise.) I of course “vote” for the most obvious movie to win each category on Oscar night (for money and bragging rights ;^P) but I wouldn’t lie if each time the name is about to be called (especially in a category where I am passionate about a certain nominee that may or may not have a chance at winning) all of the prognostication and months of following the trends is thrown out the window as I stare in utter anticipation – and for those moments to me I really feel like anything could happen. Maybe that is naive, but it sure makes the whole experience more fun for me.

    I honestly don’t think there is a bad film nominated this year (which is a relief b/c I am personally not a fan of either No Country For Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, or The Hurt Locker) and any of the best director nominees certainly deserve an award (except the Coens ONLY b/c they’ve already won and this was hardly their best showcase of direction imho.) Since my favorite movie of the year, Enter The Void, was unjustly ignored in every category (obviously I jest :^D) then any other film that wins will just have to do. I think Hooper does deserve recognition for at least making a potentially stuffy period film feel a little more invigorated with some interesting compositions. But who knows what’s really going to happen? I for one will be excited and satisfied regardless of the way things turn out.

  • 94 1-30-2011 at 6:36 am

    The Dude said...

    I still think TSN’s Oscar hopes are alive if it can snag the SAG ensemble award. However, it TKS takes it, it’s over…which would be so weird, given TSN’s dominance in the months prior to this one.

  • 95 1-30-2011 at 6:43 am

    DylanS said...

    They’re going to deny an instant classic that will probably be ranked amongst the greatest of all time and choose a forgettable british period piece, sound familiar to anybody? (cough) 1998!

    Guy: That leads me to wonder, was “The Godfather” the favorite when it won in 1972? because “Cabaret” took home all the other major awards.

  • 96 1-30-2011 at 6:53 am

    Brock Landers said...

    Wow, this race is even more boring now than when everyone was whining about the probability of The Social Network taking a few awards.

  • 97 1-30-2011 at 7:01 am

    DylanS said...

    Please SAG! make this race interesting. No “Fighter” and no “King’s Speech”. If “Social Network” wins SAG, which i’m heavily doubting it will, than there is still somewhat of a race left, but otherwise, this will be one of those ceremonies we look back on and ask “What were they thinking?”

  • 98 1-30-2011 at 7:23 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    DylanS: Obviously I wasn’t around in the 1970s, so I only have other people’s accounts to go on, but yes, The Godfather was the favourite. It won the DGA Award, by the way.

  • 99 1-30-2011 at 7:31 am

    JJ1 said...

    Maybe the younger-tinged SAG can give Ensemble to TSN? No? Thought not.

    I thought I even heard that young members loved TKS. I guess we’ll see tonight. I hope The Fighter wins ensemble. That will keep me guessing, still – what will win BP.

  • 100 1-30-2011 at 7:33 am

    JJ1 said...

    And thanks, Loyal! :)

  • 101 1-30-2011 at 7:33 am

    Ben M. said...

    I wasn’t around in 1970 either but Godfather was the favorite going into Oscar night, though when Cabaret had 8 oscars to Godfather’s 2 before best picture, Albert Rudy (Godfather’s producer) had said he was sure best picture was going to Cabaret.

    Anyway, I think I might slightly prefer if Hooper wins this year since I wasn’t particularly impressed with the direction of either Social Network or King’s Speech, however I loved Longford and The Damned United (throw in a very solid John Adams mini-series and The King’s Speech is actually my least favorite work of Hooper’s I’ve seen).

  • 102 1-30-2011 at 7:38 am

    Anthony Ruggio said...

    I think maybe I’ll start treating the critic’s awards as my personal Oscars. They seem to pick the best film of the year more often than the Academy. As a lover of filmmaking, I find critics’ analytical approach to judging film more preferable than the Academy’s “I enjoyed it more” or “it’s their time” approach.

  • 103 1-30-2011 at 7:40 am

    SC said...

    I think Hooper did a good job of varying up a fairly traditional sort of film template, and I liked TKS better than TSN overall, so I don’t have a problem with him winning. But I was expecting it to go to showier choice.

  • 104 1-30-2011 at 7:40 am

    Simone said...

    I’m so damn happy that Tom Hooper won. He deserved it. So many bloggers have dissed his directing style, but he did an excellent job with TKS and the DGA honored him appropriately!

  • 105 1-30-2011 at 7:53 am

    tunktunk said...

    I am so happy for Tom Hooper!!!!!!!! I have watched both Elizabeth and Damned United (gotta catch up with John Adams) and loved them both. I also see nothing pedestrian about his direction in TKS. It may look like your typical movie, British, period, royal, etc… But he and the screenwriter elevated the movie to something bigger, yet personal and definitely better.

    I hope some people will come off their high horses and accept that TKS is a genuinely good movie. The fact that they like TSN more does not mean they have to bash TKS to pieces. They were IMO both solid 9/10 movies. Great scripts, great direction, great acting. Period. There is nothing groundbreaking with either of them. TSN is not the deep and revolutionary movie some of its fans argue it is. That TKS is a crowd-pleaser and it takes movie buff to appreciate TSN is simply not true.

    Sorry but TSN is not an obscure foreign movie with layers of meaning and surrealism. It is not an experimental movie. It is a straight forward movie. A great one. So is TKS. People who watch them enjoy them both.

    Normally I would have been happy for either to win. But because of people bashing TKS and accusing people who did enjoy that movie being rather simple, or of simple taste, I support TKS and want TSN not to win the biggest prizes. Funny how the same people say it is time we do not care about those royals, class division, blah blah yet they do the biggest elitism by calling the rest regular folk.

    I guess if it wasn’t for zealot supporters of TSN, my vote would still go to TKS, which had one thing over TSN. At the end of the movie I was smiling, a big grin stuck on my face. That may be why people vote for it. A great movie that makes you feel all warm inside. What a magic combination!

    Oh and many thanks to Kris and Guy for making this a welcoming place for all movie lovers!

  • 106 1-30-2011 at 7:57 am

    tunktunk said...

    I have to add Nolan would have been my first choice followed by Aronofsky. But alas, that was not meant to be.

  • 107 1-30-2011 at 8:02 am

    DylanS said...

    I wonder if Hooper’s successfull career in TV (John Adams, ect.) gave him a leg up at the DGA, who’s body consists of many TV people. Also, if Hooper won Best Director, he would be one of the youngest, I believe, at 38.

  • 108 1-30-2011 at 8:14 am

    Gabriel D. said...

    Yes, TSN has been critically aclaimed, but I don’t remember who said. wether Kris, Guy or Anne, that the movie got love from «30 people critics groups». Of course, this shows recognition for a well made movie, but that’s not sufficient. We now see, with PGA and yesterday’s DGA, that large groups do not go with critics flow, but prefer another kind of movie. Is TKS better than TSN? We can talk a while about it, but it’s clearly not the opinion of the majority.
    DG regroups more than 13 000 members, nearly 140 000 for the SAG…that’s a lot of people.
    And with 6000 more for the Academy, 6500 for BAFTA, we’ll see who gets recgonition of the industry, which is also important to call a film: instant classic.

    And frankly, I would stop comparisons with «Shakespeare in Love» (and actually, John Madden had not won DGA) as TKS is way superior to it. Colin Firth, Gwyneth Paltrow? Helana B. Carter, Judi Dench? Screenplay& I can’t bear to compare.
    Maybe the only parallel os Rush’s supporting performances, hehe.

  • 109 1-30-2011 at 8:16 am

    Daveylow said...

    I really thought Nolan the award this year but I do love TKS and I think others did too. But I so think there were a lot of votes for all the directors this year and Hooper squeaked through.

  • 110 1-30-2011 at 8:24 am

    The Dude said...

    QUESTION:

    I’ve seen a few posters who have pointed out the fact that Hooper has previously been known for directing TV. Do TV directors vote for the DGA award in film (and, likewise, do film directors vote for the DGA award in TV)? If that’s the case, then I can easily see how Hooper would have won this, as he is a respected TV director. In fact, it actually would have been a bigger shock if he HADN’T of taken it with all the support from his TV-brethren.

  • 111 1-30-2011 at 8:40 am

    Danny said...

    Tapley, thank you for your comments of sense and moderation.

    I was already impressed with Hooper’s direction when I saw the Helen Mirren Elizabeth miniseries. I think is direction on TKS is worthy of award consideration. All the nominees (all 6, incl. Coen and Nolan) are worthy of the accolades and my guess is the votes are quite close. Can we acknowledge the worthiness of one artist’s work without denigrating the other(s)?

  • 112 1-30-2011 at 8:45 am

    DylanS said...

    Gabriel D: You actually just made the best case yet for SIL and TKS comparisons. All of those examples are pretty indicative, and I just realized that both movies feature both Firth and Rush.

  • 113 1-30-2011 at 9:13 am

    Sam said...

    So I listened to the Awards Daily podcast and Sasha Stone claimed that if Hooper won the DGA, she would quit. Hopefully, she lives up to her statement.

    Ding dong, the witch is dead!

  • 114 1-30-2011 at 9:25 am

    JJ1 said...

    I wonder if the goodwill for TKS will spill right over into ballots over the next 2 weeks … or if the reverse will happen.

    Loyal, you tell me (and I don’t doubt you, at all. I know nothing of this stuff) that there can be no more momentum shift. But is that really the case? Is it really looking like ‘finito’ for TSN?

  • 115 1-30-2011 at 9:49 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “I don’t understand how you could be a film lover and not be embarassed by the fact that the King’s Speech is going to sweep the Oscars”

    Here’s how: Who cares? It’s the Oscars. I’m content being a film lover who doesn’t need my taste reflected by another group of people. You should try it some time.

    Also, Loyal’s comment at #89 is perfect. Simply perfect.

  • 116 1-30-2011 at 9:51 am

    Beau said...

    All I’m saying is utilizing a Beethoven piece to enhance the moment actually detracted from the scene. Tarsem put it to better use in ‘The Fall’.

    There is nothing remarkable or exceptional about ‘The King’s Speech’. And I find it terribly ironic that we discuss likeability of character on here re: Nina and Zuckerburg when George was a pandering, petulant child in the film.

    So disappointing.

  • 117 1-30-2011 at 10:14 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Thank you, Kris (114). All this hand wringing, breast beating and teeth gnashing is over the top, not to mention disrespectful.

    At any rate, the Supporting Actor races just got a little more suspenseful.

  • 118 1-30-2011 at 10:17 am

    JR said...

    I’ll admit to being surprised by Hooper’s win but I’d never call him inexperienced. Sure, he’s a decade younger than Fincher but he’s achieved quite a bit in his 20-year career.

    Yes, most of Fincher’s work has been in television, but only a film snob would dismiss a resume that includes Longford, John Adams, Daniel Deronda, Elizabeth I and, last but not least, the final installment of Prime Suspect. Each of these earned numerous award nods and even wins, including 10 Golden Globes and 22 Emmys (including one for Hooper), and even more nominations.

    I’ll admit that Hooper isn’t a visionary on the scale of Fincher. His strength is in taking material that would otherwise seem grand and bring it down to an intimate, human scale. I’ll also state that, much as I love Fincher (esp. Zodiac), nothing in his films has terrified me as much as watching Jane Tennyson get drunk after her father’s funeral, then walk to her car, keys in hand. FOr me, it was the finest moment of arguably Mirren’s inest performance, and a 30-year-old Hooper was calling the shots.

  • 119 1-30-2011 at 10:18 am

    Jacob S. said...

    4/9 of my favorite movies of 2010 didn’t get a single nomination and I didn’t expect them to either, so it’s not like it’s worth freaking out over the Academy not corresponding to my taste. I see the whole thing as a sort of sporting season, where films are teams and different awards down the line are games and the Oscars are the equivalent of the superbowl or whatever. It’s fun to follow is all.

  • 120 1-30-2011 at 10:23 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    JR: The term I used was “comparatively inexperienced,” and it obviously refers to his feature film record.

  • 121 1-30-2011 at 10:40 am

    Loyal said...

    @ JJ1

    Rudin is one of the smartest guys around. I’m sure he convened his Oscar war cabinet last night. Even if TSN wins SAG tonight, or more likely The Fighter, I’m not sure that’ll mean much. The one guild TSN was expected to win it didn’t. And there are only so many shifts one can have with ballots going out in 72 hours. For all intents and purposes, the Best Picture race is over.

    @ Kris

    Thanks. I’ve seen a complete lack of perspective over the last 12 hours. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

  • 122 1-30-2011 at 10:50 am

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Loyal, I think TSN was expected to win both PGA and DGA.

  • 123 1-30-2011 at 10:58 am

    Chris138 said...

    “Mark, I slightly prefer Dances with Wolves to Goodfellas as a film and for it’s direction. I would have been fine with either winning.”

    Word.

  • 124 1-30-2011 at 11:00 am

    Loyal said...

    Yeah but it was really expected to win the DGA. The prevailing attitude post PGA was “well, we still have the DGA win.”

  • 125 1-30-2011 at 11:02 am

    Alex L. said...

    I won’t be surprised on oscar night if it miraculously wins sound mixing.

  • 126 1-30-2011 at 11:07 am

    Number Thirteen said...

    “The moment you start taking Best Picture = THE BEST FILM OF 2010 serious is the moment you need a new hobby. BP is a snapshot captured in time by 6000 people, nothing more. Love the movies you love, and if Oscar agrees, fine.”

    Tell that to Sasha Stone over at Awards Daily. The way she was raging about The Social Network losing the DGA last night on her Twitter would make you think she made the damn movie or something. And she’s writing even more long and ridiculous articles about it. Who the fuck cares.

  • 127 1-30-2011 at 11:10 am

    Brock Landers said...

    “I won’t be surprised on oscar night if it miraculously wins sound mixing.”

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it won in every category it is nominated in. Seriously, if Tom Hooper can win the DGA and become the frontrunner for Best Director, the sky is the limit for this film. Rush and Carter are seeming more likely by the minute.

  • 128 1-30-2011 at 11:15 am

    Patriotsfan said...

    Wow, the Patriots are not going to win the Super Bowl and now The Social Network will probably not win best picture. This year quickly turned from exciting to disappointing.

    @ Kris

    “Who cares?” I care. And why not care? Yes, it is absolutely true that the Academy is some random group of people and their opinion is in no way needed to validate my own feelings of any movie. There have been many great films over the years that have been snubbed by the Academy and there will continue to be many great films snubbed by the Academy, and in the end, it doesn’t really matter.

    The point though is that it is more fun to care. It is more interesting to let your emotions go and be really happy when the “right” films are awarded, and really angry when the “wrong” films are awarded. If it suits you better to be aloof about the whole thing, that’s understandable, but for people who really don’t care about the Academy’s opinion, the option of getting into the season and having fun with it makes just as much sense as not giving a damn.

  • 129 1-30-2011 at 11:16 am

    SamIam said...

    Lesson learned this season: The critics do not decide for the guilds who wins.

  • 130 1-30-2011 at 11:17 am

    Wheels said...

    Loyal: I love that comment. It totally captures what I’ve been thinking reading these comments. It’s great that people are so passionate about movies, but what I love about the Oscars is very different than what I love about movie-watching. Every year has a completely different narrative and flavor, and this year’s season has been an interesting one to watch. The King’s Speech is so very much not my kind of movie, it’s the only Best Picture nominee I haven’t seen, and it’s likely to stay that way. That means I can’t judge it, and I won’t resent its likely win either. It is what it is, and there’s plenty else for me to enjoy about this year’s race.

  • 131 1-30-2011 at 11:22 am

    JMN said...

    Where’s the evidence Hooper’s a hack and Fincher’s some genius? Fincher may be flashy and skilled, but that hardly makes him a great artist on a par with Scorsese or Polanski. Just because a lot of great directors have been snubbed or belatedly recognized doesn’t mean Fincher is in the same league.

    Hooper’s big break happened when he directed an installment of Helen Mirren’s great crime series Prime Suspect. Hooper’s was called “The Last Witness” and he did a very good job. He benefitted from a great cast and script, but he still deserves credit for making a rivetting piece of television. This guy is no hack. On the basis of how well they clicked on Prime Suspect, Mirren apparently recommended Hooper to direct her in Elizabeth I, which means Mirren’s been instrumental in getting Hooper to where he is now – a go-to guy for historicals, period pieces, and glossy costume dramas.

    Bizarrely, the last time Harvey W. managed an upset this big is with Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan. SiL was directed by John Madden… another journey director plugging away for years in British TV, whose most noteworthy and, in America at least, most widely viewed piece of work was an episode of…. Prime Suspect! (Madden’s chapter was titled ‘The Lost Child”.)

  • 132 1-30-2011 at 11:26 am

    john t. said...

    I walked out of the screening of TKS, because I found it to be bloodless and too stuffy for my taste ( and I like some of the PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre adaptations) . Maybe I need to see this movie again.

  • 133 1-30-2011 at 11:37 am

    Afrika said...

    No anti-The King Speech rants and propaganda? I love this site already.

  • 134 1-30-2011 at 11:38 am

    Maito said...

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it won in every category it is nominated in. Seriously, if Tom Hooper can win the DGA and become the frontrunner for Best Director, the sky is the limit for this film. Rush and Carter are seeming more likely by the minute.

    Wow. Wow, okay. So, you wouldn’t be surprised by it surpassing Titanic, Ben-Hur and LOTR:ROTK. and becoming the biggest winner ever in AMPAS history with 12? Ever as in everever. Well, I would. DGA has 10,000 members skewering mainstream (not some exclusive auteurs-rendezvous.) We also don’t know whether it was a landslide victory or extremely close, with votes splitting fairly evenly.

    Just because people love, luvvvvvvv, The King’s Speech doesn’t mean they love it exclusively and ignore every other movie in the progress. The scene-stealing, over-due Bale seems like prototype S-A winner and the most obvious spot to show love for the Fighter. HBC can now seriously benefit from her mixed-up field, but I highly doubt the film walking away with Cinematography, which looks like the apparently popular True Grit’s best bet. Also, editing? Yeah.

    …not over till the fat lady sings and all that.

  • 135 1-30-2011 at 11:41 am

    Frank Lee said...

    JMN wrote: “Fincher may be flashy and skilled, but that hardly makes him a great artist on a par with Scorsese or Polanski.” I’m not sure that’s an apt comparison this year: I just tried watching “Shutter Island” on DVD and turned it off after an excruciating hour.

  • 136 1-30-2011 at 11:48 am

    ninja said...

    TSN will win. Jewish factor, people. The characters may not be the most likable Jews (which is a matter of personal taste, I liked Zuckerberg&co) but it`s still Jewish themed enough to have the edge over Brit-themed or weird-themed.

  • 137 1-30-2011 at 11:50 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “The point though is that it is more fun to care.”

    For me, it’s more fun to like what I like and refrain from begrudging the success of a film that is clearly not a dog by disrespecting it in the wake of another film’s failure.

    And FYI, The King’s Speech is not going to win 12 Oscars. Eight is the max (which includes a Carter surprise, but certainly not a Rush surprise). I’m thinking seven at the moment (including Hooper).

  • 138 1-30-2011 at 11:50 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “TSN will win. Jewish factor, people. The characters may not be the most likable Jews (which is a matter of personal taste, I liked Zuckerberg&co) but it`s still Jewish themed enough to have the edge over Brit-themed or weird-themed.”

    Patently absurd. And hopefully just a joke.

  • 139 1-30-2011 at 12:00 pm

    Afrika said...

    “For me, it’s more fun to like what I like and refrain from begrudging the success of a film that is clearly not a dog by disrespecting it in the wake of another film’s failure”

    EXACTLY!!!!!!! last month, when TSN was the front runner, everyone said TKS was an exceptional achievement. Now that TKS is gaining momentum, people on certain oscar blogs are calling it “made-for-TV movie.” This sheep mentality is laughably sad.

  • 140 1-30-2011 at 12:11 pm

    Maito said...

    JMN said…Where’s the evidence Hooper’s a hack and Fincher’s some genius?

    No sane person deals in these ridiculously bate-y illiterate hyperboles blasting us versus them rhetoric. GO TEAM!

    Yes, directing is more than just visual pizzazz; yes, Hooper & TKS came out looking perfectly competent; yes, they might win big at Oscar night; no, that won’t signal the decline of western civilization… But gosh darn, I just thought Fincher was the bees-knees this year.

    I’m still, perhaps foolishly, holding out for Fincher taking the director at Oscars (not in denial, just optimistic). Maybe Hooper just earned the front-runner status, but BD has got to be a much closer race than BP. Even if voters are lukewarm about TSN as a whole, surely Fincher stands a considerably better chance when his individual efforts are evaluated. No, the critics don’t make decisions for AMPAS, but you can’t fail to make a few friends with 95mil BO, months of favorable spotlight and Fincher’s back-catalogue.

    Anyway, nice job on calling this and congrats to Hooper, whose career is sure to benefit from all this awards attention in a way that the already more high-profile fellow nominees’ mightn’t.

  • 141 1-30-2011 at 12:13 pm

    DylanS said...

    I wonder how much hate mail Harvey Weinstein must recieve?

  • 142 1-30-2011 at 12:19 pm

    Afrika said...

    A movie is only bad when it beats your favorite. We see the same trend every Oscar season.

  • 143 1-30-2011 at 12:22 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    TSN will win. Jewish factor, people. The characters may not be the most likable Jews (which is a matter of personal taste, I liked Zuckerberg&co) but it`s still Jewish themed enough to have the edge over Brit-themed or weird-themed.

    Yes, which is clearly why “A Serious Man” swept the board last year. Mind how you tread with such comments, by the way.

  • 144 1-30-2011 at 12:29 pm

    Yogs said...

    #59 Derek 8-Track said…

    “That is Fantastic News! I hope Speech is able to grab flick, director, actor, and cinematography at the Oscars, anything more will be a bonus for me”

    ¿Best…flick?

  • 145 1-30-2011 at 12:32 pm

    Cameron said...

    Although initially disgusted and appalled at the news, I’m now convinced that The King’s Speech will win Best Picture (as well as O. Screenplay, Actor, Costume and maybe Score), but Director will still go to Fincher (complete with A. Screenplay, Editing, and maybe Score).

  • 146 1-30-2011 at 12:45 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    “James Cameron for Titanic over, God, Curtin Hanson for LA Confidential or the non-nominated Atom Egoyan for The Sweet Hereafter?”

    That’s bullshit. LA Confidential is my favorite movie of 1997, but James Cameron is a real director. That “Hand that Rocks the Cradle” guy only has Confidential to say he’s done something substantial.

  • 147 1-30-2011 at 12:47 pm

    Joe C said...

    Re: All TKS hate:

    I know many have been a fan and champion of TSN and many of the other nominees all season, and I think it’s easy to become partisan or show sided criticism of TKS, especially when a film you truly love and think is deserving seems to be on the path to being rewarded. It’s as though, finally, a film one loves is going to be rewarded and Oscar is going to “get it right!” All to have the wind sucked out when it seems to come crashing down.

    I like many of the nominees, and I think most are great films this year, The Social Network included. And so too do I include The King’s Speech. I honestly don’t care which one wins, both are deserving to me. Might “The King’s Speech” merely win because it’s more “likable.” Likely so. But, when a likable movie/story is also so well told and performed, as TKS is in my opinion, I have no qualms with that.

    I think True Grit, Inception, The King’s Speech, or The Social Network would all be worthy winners.

    That said, It’s just a group of voters who are picking what they like the best. They are not always influenced by the critics, and sometimes, I actually find that refreshing. Some years, one person’s film wins and another cries foul and makes the winner out to be a “villain” or a “terrible choice.” But, if we’re all able to step back and objectively say most of the nominees this year are actually really good movies for once, then voila… If you really like The King’s Speech, as do I (though my vote would go to Inception), then, luckily, this is your year when the deserving film looks to actually win.

    And if The Social Network was your champion, then, well, it’s an unfortunate year, but perhaps one of your favorites will win next year while the person who adored The King’s Speech will end up hating next year’s winner, likely unjustly attacking it as “bad” or “un-deserving.”

    To each their own, but I was actually glad to see a year of many fine films.

  • 148 1-30-2011 at 12:54 pm

    Rashad said...

    Hooper’s murky looking, off kilter direction on the film was a hindrance, not an inspired choice.

    I dont even think that highly of TSN either but over Fincher?

    I would have went with Nolan

  • 149 1-30-2011 at 1:02 pm

    Anthony Ruggio said...

    Perhaps it’s useless to try and highlight Academy trends, especially in light of recent developments, but here’s something notable: if King’s Speech wins, it’ll make 5 out of the last 6 years that an independent film has won the big prize (Crash, No Country, Slumdog, Hurt Locker). Is the Academy trying to send a message?

  • 150 1-30-2011 at 1:03 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I, too, am glad to have so many fine, fine films contending for the top prizes. At least, I much prefer 2010 to 2009.

    I know 2002 and 2007 are viewed as 2 of the best of the 200o’s so far, but I think 2010 is in the top 5.

  • 151 1-30-2011 at 1:03 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “Hooper’s murky looking, off kilter direction on the film was a hindrance, not an inspired choice. ”

    Direction isn’t solely about mise-en-scene. It’s not even accurate to call that “direction.”

  • 152 1-30-2011 at 1:14 pm

    Samuel said...

    “For me, it’s more fun to like what I like and refrain from begrudging the success of a film that is clearly not a dog by disrespecting it in the wake of another film’s failure.”

    Well said, Kris. I liked The King’s Speech, but I’d rank it about 7th in the Oscar ten. But I find myself wanting to defend it. It’s a good film, it moves people, it’s brilliantly acted, the art direction and costumes are great, it’s well scored and Hooper has some directing chops (I watched John Adams a couple of weeks ago, every minute of it’s seven hours is excellent). It wasn’t my favourite, but the Academy is democratic and that’s how it should be.

    Besides, if we’re talking about best director and not ‘film we liked best’ Aronofsky produced the best direction of 2010.

  • 153 1-30-2011 at 1:51 pm

    Andrew M said...

    I hope this doesn’t mean TKS will win ensemble tonight. It probably will, but The Fighter’s cast is just so good. I hope SAG doesn’t follow the other guilds.

  • 154 1-30-2011 at 1:56 pm

    qwiggles said...

    Come on, now: directing isn’t solely mise-en-scene, but it certainly includes mise-en-scene, and is largely defined by it in a performance-driven, 2 guys in a room piece like Hooper’s film. I can’t imagine a lot of people saying, for instance, “Hooper’s film has bad composition and blocking, but it’s the best directed.” Conversely, if you like those elements, you generally like his direction.

    That doesn’t mean managing actors, maintaining consistency in historical details, and tweaking the script and so on aren’t crucial parts of the job; it just means that the nature of voting for these sorts of things, as any of us who have made dream lists of our best director lineup know, is: you tend to put someone down for what you see as their signature qualities.

  • 155 1-30-2011 at 2:18 pm

    Afrika said...

    Andrew W
    I’m hoping for The Kids Are All Right to upset the best ensemble category. I would love to see Annette and the glorious Julianne Moore on stage at the same time, accepting their overdue awards.

  • 156 1-30-2011 at 2:29 pm

    Samuel said...

    The reaction of the Social Network fans on this site and others has increasingly made me want King’s Speech to win.

  • 157 1-30-2011 at 2:31 pm

    Sertan said...

    I really like this site…There is no big drama or drama queen (!), and noone gets hysterical and threatens to quit!!!
    And that is reflected on the level of discussion here!
    In my opinion, is Hooper the best of the bunch? I dont think so. But I also dont think that he doesnt deserve such negative criticism. His work is decent and his colleagues chose to reward him! And, DGA gave a middle finger to all critics and showed that they didnt need to follow critics’ path!

  • 158 1-30-2011 at 2:43 pm

    Sertan said...

    CORRECTION:

    In my previous comment , I meant to say “But I also dont think that he deserves such negative criticism.”

    Since I cant edit my comment, i couldnt correct it there. Sorry for the confusion!

  • 159 1-30-2011 at 3:26 pm

    matsunaga said...

    “but I think it’d be a shame to deny a filmmaker as significant and substantial as Fincher a career-crowning Oscar for such a universally approved vehicle, least of all in favor of a directorial achievement as modest as Hooper’s.”

    I totally agree with this… Even if I love “The King’s Speech”, I really want Fincher to win this if not Aronofsky..

    But I guess it is what it is…. I hope the Academy pulls of a la Polanski this year and give it to either of the two…

  • 160 1-30-2011 at 3:52 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    qwiggles: Of course it includes it, but a number seem to want to relegate direction to JUST these camera choices, and it, again, betrays an ignorance of what it is to direct.

  • 161 1-30-2011 at 4:17 pm

    Alex L. said...

    Is it bad that my expectations for The Kings Speech have gone down considerably, I mean low because of all this talk about how it’s like stand up and cheer movie, but I just came back from seeing it and now I think it is the least film nominated in Best Picture?

  • 162 1-30-2011 at 10:31 pm

    sam said...

    Why don’t directors appreciate what Christopher Nolan brings to the table? I thought the kings speech was a fine film (someone said the english patient was way better — that was one of the most boring films to ever win best picture) but to win best picture? I would choose Inception, the social network, the fighter above the kings speech.

  • 163 1-31-2011 at 7:49 am

    le duff pascal said...

    Why do I have the uncanny feeling that next year, Dennis Dugan will win best director for his annual movie with Adam Sandler rather than Terrence Malick for ” The Tree of Life ” ? It is true that I have not seen that movie, but we can hope it’s pretty good. If THE KING’S SPEECH wins over THE SOCIAL NETWORK, it’s the ” nice ” movie that wins. A feel good movie, that’s basically all it is.

  • 164 1-31-2011 at 9:16 am

    bostonbean said...

    Why does everything from sports to politics to now movies devolve into this kind of vicious rhetoric? I can’t believe that most people really talk like this in real life.The reaction here is leagues ahead of other sites this morning but this site deserves better. We can all live up to the standards Kris and Guy have established by example.

    I haven’t seen all the films this year but from everything I’ve read before this last phase started, we have a very deserving list this year and should be thankful. Oscar prognostication is not some world saving thing, just a bit of fun so keep it fun.

  • 165 2-02-2011 at 10:11 pm

    Akash said...

    Guy,

    Your allusion to the 2002 race is a good one — and one I’ve made elsewhere — for even more reasons than you’ve described here. Allow me to explain.

    Aside from the fact that I think the DGA was voting for the Best Picture (or their favorite picture, which amounts to the same thing) rather than the best achievement in direction (these Guilds clearly vote for Best Picture instead of whatever they’re supposed to be voting for, which explains SAG Ensemble wins for the likes of Return of the King etc) while the Oscars (in which the entire voting body can vote in every category) can select a Best Picture AND Best Director and thus David Fincher could still win…there’s also the matter of the 2002 race.

    Yes, as you pointed out, it’s happened before. In 2002, Chicago swept the Guilds winning PGA, DGA and SAG Ensemble, just like The King’s Speech. This showed across-the-board support which helped it win Best Picture easily, but on Oscar night, it crossed the finish line a hobbled victor rather than a strong one, winning not a single other Top 5 category, and (significantly) losing Best Director to Roman Polanski. That year was supposed to be the make-up year for Scorsese, but Gangs was less than loved so it’s not surprising they snubbed him again, but the DGA could have selected Polanski and they didn’t. They voted for their favorite Picture and thus, Rob Marshall — a film novice from a different medium (the stage) just like Tom Hooper (television) — won over two legends (Polanski & Scorsese) and two well-regarded directors (Jackson & Daldry). However, when it was the Academy ‘s turn to vote, they had a chance to select a Best Picture and a Best Director separately, and they did just that.

    I realize it’s foolish to bet on the split since you’re inherently betting on something that rarely happens. But DGA winners have lost the Oscar before (Ok granted, not many) and we have an almost identical scenario in the 2002 race i.e. a popular film sweeps the Guilds but isn’t helmed by a director the Academy feels compelled to vote for. I think this is the salient point. In the past 10 years, the Academy has gone out of its way to select real auteurs (Soderbergh, Polanski, Eastwood, Lee, Scorsese, Coens, Boyle and Bigelow) or at the very least, directors whose career reputations were held in high esteem by their peers (Howard & Jackson) — they were all figures synonymous with their films (even the ones whose films lost Best Picture) while Rob Marshall and Tom Hooper (and for that matter, John Madden and Paul Haggis) are almost invisible behind their films. They’re not known for directorial prowess, for signature stamps on their films, for a body of work, and THAT is the similarity that resulted in Madden, Marshall and Haggis losing Best Director even as their films won Best Picture. I submit that Tom Hooper is in the same category. And I think that fact coupled with the reality that he will be facing four auteurs in the Oscar race with robust reputations as “real” directors, and we could easily see a split.

    Of course, if this all plays out like 2002, then Fincher would be Scorsese (an overdue veteran) and another respected peer who hadn’t won the Globe or the DGA (like Polanski) would win. I’m hoping for David O Russell in that scenario! :)