Sunday, January 30, 2011

Directors Guild Choose Hooper; Social Network Fading

The King's Speech takes another guild award at the expense of former Oscar front-runner The Social Network as King's director Tom Hooper wins the DGA award over Network's David Fincher. Suddenly, the outlook for Oscars is completely different from just two weeks ago.

What happened two weeks ago? Well, The Social Network, still high on its unprecedented dominance with critic groups, won four Golden Globe awards including wins for Picture, Directing, and Writing. At that moment, it was the overwhelming favorite heading into "phase 2" of awards season. But then suddenly, it wasn't. First, in a shocker, it lost the PGA Award to The King's Speech. Then it only managed a lower-than-expected tally of 8 Oscar nominations compared to 12 for The King's Speech and 10 for True Grit.

But even with its front-runner status being slightly challenged, it was still favored to pick up wins with the DGA (for Fincher) and the WGA (for Aaron Sorkin). So it was thought that those wins plus its critical love plus its zeitgeistic buzz would make it still the one to beat at the Oscars. Tom Hooper's win tonight, however, seemingly changed all of that and now it's not even "Will The Social Network win Best Picture?" but "Will it win any Oscars at all in a few weeks?" Yikes!

Here are the complete list of winners at the DGA:

Feature Film: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
TV Drama Series: Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire
TV Comedy Series: Michael Spiller, Modern Family
TV Movie/Mini-Series: Mick Jackson, Temple Grandin
Documentary: Charles Ferguson, Inside Job
Musical Variety: Glenn Weiss, Tony Awards
Reality Programs: Eytan Keller, The Next Iron Chef
Daytime Serials: Larry Carpenter, One Life to Live
Children's Programs: Eric Bross, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
Commercials: Stacy Wall

There are only three other big precursor awards to be given which are the WGA, SAG, and BAFTA. The King's Speech is favored to win at the BAFTAs as expected and since it wasn't eligible at the WGA, the only other award it needs to really take a stranglehold of "phase 2" would be the SAG Ensemble Award. If it wins that, it's all over. But even if the cast of The King's Speech don't win it, it seems like it only needs the cast of The Social Network to also not win the prize to keep their winning momentum. An insanely predictable Oscar year is suddenly anything but.

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