Tom Hooper Wins Directors Guild of America Top Honors for ‘The King’s Speech’

Not as much a stunner, but it’s definitely an upset win as last year’s winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) awarded Tom Hooper the top prize at tonight’s 63rd Annual Directors Guild of America Awards for his work on The King’s Speech. Hooper beat out the predicted front-runner David Fincher (The Social Network) along with fellow nominees Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Christopher Nolan (Inception) and David O. Russell (The Fighter).

How did David Fincher take the news? “New York Times” columnist Melena Ryzik posted to Twitter saying, “David Fincher split the second after Tom Hooper’s name was announced.”

This news comes on the heels of The King’s Speech racking up 12 Oscar nominations this past Tuesday and Hooper’s win at the DGA tonight has pretty much swung all award season momentum its way. Should the film take home the Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble award tomorrow night I have a pretty good feeling everyone will be joining me in predicting The King’s Speech as the Best Picture front-runner.

But what about that Best Director Oscar? At this point I have The King’s Speech winning Best Picture, but still have Fincher taking Best Director. Is that a mistake also? Are the tides shifting to that great a degree?

As far as the significance of the DGA Award goes, only six times since the DGA Awards began in 1948 has the winner not gone on to win Best Director at the Oscars. The last time the winner differed was in 2002 when the DGA awarded Rob Marshall (Chicago) and the Oscar went to Roman Polanski (The Pianist).

So Hooper’s win obviously works in his Oscar favor and that, by relation works in the film’s favor for Best Picture as well. In 63 out of 82 years the Best Director winner has gone on to see the film they directed win Best Picture. The last time there was a split was in 2006 when Ang Lee won Best Director for Brokeback Mountain and Crash stunned us all by winning Best Picture. Before that, it was the previously mentioned Chicago and The Pianist split.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t ready to switch my Oscar Best Director prediction from Fincher to Hooper right about now… What do you think?

Additionally, Charles Ferguson won the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries for his work on Inside Job, the surefire front-runner for the Best Documentary (Feature) at the Oscars. Then again, as Guy Lodge of notes on Twitter, “In 20 years, the DGA and the Academy have agreed on a documentary winner just twice.” Does this give added life to Exit Through the Gift Shop?

Ryzik quoted Ferguson accepting his award saying, “It’s a pretty ballsy, out-there movie, it didn’t make me too many friends in the investment banking community.”

The complete list of the winners is directly below:


  • Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co.)


  • Mick Jackson, “Temple Grandin” (HBO)


  • Martin Scorsese, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)


  • Michael Spiller, “Modern Family” (ABC)


  • Charles Ferguson, Inside job (Representational Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics)


  • Glenn Weiss, 64th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)


  • Larry Carpenter, “One Life to Live,” “Episode #10,687”


  • Eytan Keller, “The Next Iron Chef,” “Episode #301” (Food Network)


  • Stacy Wall (Imperial Woodpecker)
    “Rise,” Nike; “Really?,” Microsoft; “Slim Chin & D Rose,” Adidas; “Handshake,” Nike


  • Eric Bross, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (Nickelodeon)
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