Awards Tracker

All things Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys

Category: Directors Guild of America

Can 'The Social Network' still pull out a win?

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Things aren't looking too hot for "The Social Network." Considering the SAG ensemble award for "The King's Speech," Saturday night's director's prize for Tom Hooper, and the Producers Guild top prize last weekend, the momentum has changed in a big way toward the British drama about the stuttering king. The DGA award is particularly significant given that only six times in the award's 60-plus-year history has it differed with how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted for best director.

The SAG Award, in particular, has likely derailed "Social Network's" cause since the largest branch in the academy is the actors, and if they went the way of "The King's Speech" for SAG, it's likely they'll go that way for Oscars too. (The ensemble award has matched the best picture Oscar seven times in the last 15 years.)

However, as the website In Contention points out, it is worth noting the last time the DGA and the academy differed. Back in 2002, the DGA chose then-42-year-old Rob Marshall for "Chicago." Marshall, a newbie to the feature world with only TV credits to his name at the time, did not maintain his momentum into the Oscars. While his film won best picture, the academy went a different route for director by choosing Roman Polanski for his work on "The Pianist."

Hooper, 38, is also a newcomer to the feature film world, with only television credits to his name. His work in "The King's Speech" is certainly award-worthy, but it will be interesting to see if there is a chance the academy chooses the veteran helmer, in this case David Fincher, the director behind "The Social Network" who has been nominated once before for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and has made eight films in his career.

Unfortunately, momentum is not on his side, and it doesn't help that the film about the founding of Facebook isn't winning any acting prizes either. (Jesse Eisenberg is the only actor from the film nominated for an Oscar in contrast to "The King's Speech," which has three acting noms.) "Social Network's" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin still has the best shot for the win in the adapted category, but the rest of his collaborators have shifted to underdog status quickly.

 

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Photo: Actors Armie Hammer, left, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg introduce a clip from "The Social Network" at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday. Credit: Reuters.

— Nicole Sperling


Tom Hooper wins top honors from the Directors Guild of America

 

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The Directors Guild of America on Saturday evening named Tom Hooper best director of 2010 for "The King's Speech," the film based on the real-life story of King George VI's battle to overcome a debilitating stammer. It is the first guild win in the feature category for the 38-year-old filmmaker.

"Oh my God," said a surprised Hooper. "I am so grateful to my wonderful cast. I am overwhelmed. This is the highest honor of my life."

Hooper was nominated for a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award. He's also in contention for a BAFTA and an Academy Award.

"The King's Speech" was the surprise winner last week at the Producers Guild of America Awards -- the Facebook drama "The Social Network" had been favored to win the prize -- and leads the list of most-nominated films heading into the Academy Awards with 12.

The DGA Awards are one of the most dependable bellwethers of the Academy Awards. In fact, in the last 62 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the DGA have disagreed in their choices only six times.

The 63rd annual DGA ceremony was held at the Renaissance Hotel at Hollywood and Highland with Carl Reiner hosting.

The guild awarded its prize for directing a TV drama series to Martin Scorsese for HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," though Scorsese, who was said to be ill, did not attend the ceremony. Charles Ferguson won in the documentary category for his feature "Inside Job." Mick Jackson won for directorial achievement in movies for television and miniseries for HBO's "Temple Grandin," while Michael Spiller won for the ABC hit "Modern Family" in the TV comedy series category.

Glenn Weiss won in the musical/variety race for his direction of the 64th annual Tony Awards (CBS), and Larry Carpenter won for his work on "One Life to Live" in the daytime serials category.

The DGA also kicked off its 75th anniversary at the ceremony with DGA winners including Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, John Rich and Steven Spielberg introducing special film-clip presentations on "game-changing" moments in the guild's history.

Among the other awards handed out, Eytan Keller won for outstanding achievement in reality programs for "The Next Iron Chef" (Food Network); Eric Bross won top honors in the children's programs category for "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf" (Nickelodeon); and Stacy Wall was recognized for his achievement in commercials directing.

-- Susan King

Photo: Tom Hooper at the James Hotel in Chicago. Credit: Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune

 


Poll: Who will win the DGA Award?

The movie that wins the Directors Guild of America Award usually bags best picture and director at the Oscars, of course. Many pundits believe that things may be different this year, though. While David Fincher ("The Social Network") is widely believed to be a cinch to win DGA and the Oscar too for helming, there's suddenly major buzz for "The King's Speech" in the race for best picture. If "Speech" has really been a rumbling volcano all along and we pundits just didn't take it seriously, then it might even blast through the DGA Awards with a surprise victory for Tom Hooper. Possible? Pipe in with your opinion below. The guild prize gets doled out on Saturday night.

-- Tom O'Neil

 


Can 'The King's Speech' stage a royal Oscar coup?

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Just when most Oscarologists believed the race for best picture was over, "The King's Speech" pulled off a shockeroo at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday night, tripped up "The Social Network" and threw the whole derby into a royal tizzy.

Over the last 20 years, the Producers Guild of America has correctly forecast the Oscar champ 13 times. Now we must wonder: Can "The King's Speech" reign over the Academy Awards by seizing the best picture crown?

Answer: Yes. But we won't get more hints that such a coup is in the works until Oscar nominations come out on Tuesday morning and winners of the Screen Actors Guild Awards are unveiled on Sunday night.

There's a good chance that "The King's Speech" will score the most Oscar bids. That's key considering that the best picture winner usually reaps the most nominations 75% of the time. I think it will garner as many as 11 considering British period dramas usually pop up in those multitudinous crafts categories such as best costumes, art direction, etc.

If "The King's Speech" rules over rivals on Tuesday, it must do so again on Sunday when the SAG Award is bestowed for best ensemble. That prize can sometimes foretell an upset to come at the Oscars. While that guild award has matched the Academy Award for best picture only seven times in 15 years, it predicted the two most recent upsets: "Shakespeare in Love" (1998) and "Crash" (2005).

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Thursday Roundup: Oscar presenters, MTV awards, Polanski support and more

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Well, how's this for a morbid item: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released an item Thursday stating that "all three living performers" (italics mine) who won Oscars last year will present at the 82nd annual Academy Awards. That's a somewhat carnival-esque way of saying that Sean Penn (best actor for "Milk"), Kate Winslet (actress, "The Reader") and Penelope Cruz (supporting actress, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona") will attend the March 7 ceremony; the supporting actor winner, Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"), sadly passed away Jan. 22, 2008, and therefore could not be included in this wince-worthy come-on. But, hey, Oscars!

Speaking of telecasts and things to make you wince, will the 2010 MTV Movie Awards and Video Music Awards feature anything as cringe-inducing as the sight of Sacha Baron Cohen landing keister-first on Eminem or Kanye West hogging Taylor Swift's spotlight? Los Angeles residents will be the first to know, as MTV is reporting that both events will air live from the City of Angels this year; the 2010 MTV Movie Awards will broadcast June 6, while the 27th VMAs are set for Sept. 12. 

Meanwhile, the London Times Online has an interview with playwright and screenwriter Ronald Harwood, who has added his voice to the growing support for director Roman Polanski. In the feature, Harwood, who won the Oscar in 2003 for his script for Polanski's "The Pianist," discusses the challenge in defending the filmmaker in the face of his 1977 criminal charge for sex with an underage girl but ultimately concludes, "He changed my life, and I support him." Harwood, who also penned 2005's "Oliver Twist" for Polanski in addition to his Oscar-nominated screenplays for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007) and "The Dresser" (1983), also has choice comments on Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" (Harwood wrote 1987's "Mandela" for American television) and 2008's "Australia," which he also wrote.

Lee Daniels is also full of praise Thursday evening for a fellow filmmaker; the Oscar-nominated director of "Precious" was cited in a CBC News article as describing Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award winner and recent Directors Guild of America lifetime achievement winner Norman Jewison as a major influence on his work. In the piece, Daniels singled out Jewison's Oscar-winning "In the Heat of the Night" (1967) and "A Soldier's Story" (1984), which received three Oscar nominations, as films that changed his life and inspired him to follow in Jewison's footsteps. Both men also discuss the challenges they faced in bringing controversial images and ideas to the screen -- the sight of Sidney Poitier striking a white murder suspect in "Night" and the tragic backstory of "Precious," which involves incest and abuse. 

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Kate Winslet. Credit: Getty Images. 

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Thursday Roundup: Oscar red carpet news; Movieguide Award nominees

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Emmy-winning producer-director Jeff Margolis will take the helm of the 82nd annual Academy Awards' red carpet show this year. "Countdown to the Oscars 2010" will air at 5 p.m. on March 7, immediately before the Oscar telecast.

Margolis has overseen many of the major award telecasts for the past 30 years, including the 62nd, 65th and 67th Academy Awards; he took home the Emmy for the latter, as well as for "Sammy Davis. Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration." He's also served as producer of the Screen Actors Guild Awards for the past 12 years (and director for four), and directed numerous editions of the American Music Awards, Country Music Awards, Daytime Emmys and others. Fun fact: Did you know he got his start as a production consultant on the "Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show"? No wonder they picked him for the red carpet.

Meanwhile ... when you went to the movies this year, did you come out of the theater thinking, "Now that was a very mature movie?" If you're like me, chances are you did not, but the fine folks at Movieguide -- a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of the Christian Film and Television Commission that's dedicated to "redeeming the values of the entertainment industry by influencing industry executives and informing and equipping the public about the influence of the entertainment media" (quotes theirs, not mine) -- have their minds in loftier places (I'm usually looking for a soda refill). 

To that end, they've picked the 10 best 2009 movies for mature audiences, and they'll unveil the winner at the Movieguide Awards, which are part of the Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry; the 18th edition takes place this year on Feb. 23. So what, precisely, qualifies a movie for "mature audiences?" In a word, values -- moral and spiritual, as well as the production variety. Interestingly enough, the same description is used for the 10 best 2009 movies for family audiences. 

At any rate, the nominees are:

"The Blind Side"

"Confessions of a Shopaholic"

"Invictus"

"Julie and Julia"

"Knowing"

"Star Trek"

"The Stoning of Soraya M."

"Taken"

"Terminator Salvation"

"The Young Victoria"

Looking at this list, I can understand most of the choices -- "Invictus," "Stoning of Soraya M" -- no problem. But what is the moral and spiritual message of "Taken"? That Liam Neeson does not believe in turning the other cheek? 

And don't even get me started on "Confessions of a Shopaholic."

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Jeff Margolis. Credit: Getty Images. 

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Carl Reiner to host DGA Awards; Cameron, Bigelow, Tarantino to attend

95907576At 87, Carl Reiner remains one of the funniest men on the planet (Why? For "Your Show of Shows," creating "The Dick Van Dyke Show," co-creating "The 2,000 Year Old Man" with Mel Brooks, directing "The Jerk" and "Where's Poppa?" and on and on). He's also been the Directors Guild of America's host of choice for its annual awards dinner for the last 22 years, and the actor/writer/director/TV legend will repeat his duties for the 62nd DGA Awards on Saturday. You may be assured that Reiner will work circles around most award show hosts half his age this season.

The DGA has also announced the list of presenters for the awards; among them are new-minted Golden Globe winner Christoph Waltz, along with "Avatar" stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana; Gabourey Sidibe and Paula Patton from "Precious," and buzz-heavy thesps Anna Kendrick, Carey Mulligan, Matthew Morrison ("Glee"), and Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker"). 

All five nominees for the guild's Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Films -- James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow, Jason Reitman, Lee Daniels and Quentin Tarantino -- will also be in attendance. 

The evening will also be marked by the presentation of six special awards. Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger and Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer will both receive honorary life memberships, while Roger Goodman, vice president of special projects at ABC, will be honored with the lifetime achievement award in news direction. Oscar nominee and Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award recipient Norman Jewison (director, "In the Heat of the Night," "Moonstruck") will be presented with the lifetime achievement award for motion picture directing, while production manager Cleve Landsberg ("Flashforward") and stage manager/assistant director Maria Jimenez Henley will receive the Franklin J. Schaffner and Frank Capra achievement awards, which pay tribute to excellence in their respective fields.

-- Paul Gaita

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Photo: Carl Reiner. Credit: Getty Images


Wednesday Roundup: Ricky Gervais chats on Globes; DGA documentary noms; Tobey Maguire

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Admit it: You're dying to know what Ricky Gervais is going to say when he hosts the 67th Golden Globes. Well, if you'd like to ask him in advance, your chance has arrived: The video broadcast platform uStream, which has partnered with the Globes to provide exclusive content, is offering an interactive chat with the writer-comedian at 5 p.m. Friday. You can submit your burning questions to Gervais via Facebook or by downloading the uStream app to your iPhone. And lest you forget, Gervais hosts the Globes on Sunday.  

Meanwhile, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced its nominations for outstanding directorial achievement in documentary. The quintet of pictures includes three on the Oscar documentary shortlist — Agnes Varda's "The Beaches of Agnes," Robert Kenner's "Food, Inc." and Mai Iskander's "Garbage Dreams" — along with the year's underdog, Sacha Gervasi's "Anvil! The Story of Anvil." Geoffrey Smith's "The English Surgeon," about a British neurosurgeon who travels yearly to the Ukraine to help patients in need, rounds out the group; all five are first-time DGA Award nominees. The winners will be announced at the 62nd DGA Awards Dinner on Jan. 30.

It's been a tough week for Tobey Maguire. Not only is he out of his gig as Spider-Man following Sony's decision to shelve the fourth film in the Sam Raimi-directed series in favor of a complete revamp of the franchise, but he's fairly sure that he's out of the Oscar race as well in regard to his acclaimed performance in "Brothers." Though Maguire received a Golden Globe nomination for his turn as a shellshocked veteran of Afghanistan, he was passed over for a nod from the Screen Actors Guild and expects that he'll fare the same come Oscar time. "I'm OK with that," he said in an Associated Press interview. I'm just really excited about the attention that the film has gotten. It's been a thrill to get a Golden Globe nomination and get some of the attention personally, but I'm honestly more excited that the film's gotten the attention." Such modesty in the face of unemployment ...

— Paul Gaita

Photo: Ricky Gervais. Credit: Getty Images.

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DGA announces Student Film Award winners

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The Directors Guild of America has announced the winners of its 15th annual Student Film Awards. The awards, which are designed to honor and encourage outstanding minority and women filmmakers in film schools and at select universities, bring a $2,500 cash prize, as well as a presentation at ceremonies at the DGA locations in Los Angeles and New York City.

The winners are as follows:

AFRICAN AMERICAN:

East Coast Winner: Rashaad Ernesto Green of New York University for "Premature"

West Coast Winner: Edward Osei-Gyimah of USC for "Kwame"

Jury Prize: Sharon Hill of UCLA for "Shades of Gray"

ASIAN AMERICAN:

East Coast Winner: Theresa Wu of Columbia University for "Smoke and Mirrors"

West Coast Winner: Edward Kim of UCLA for "To Wander in Pandemonium"

Jury Prize: Ken Ochiai of American Film Institute for "Half Kenneth"

LATINO:

East Coast Winner: Antonio Mendez Esparza of Columbia University for "Una y Otra Vez"

West Coast Winner: David Martin-Porras of UCLA for "Ida y Vuelta"

Jury Prize: Jessica McMunn Macias of UCLA for "Soleil"

WOMAN:

East Coast Winner: Eliza Subotowicz of Columbia University for "Ben"

West Coast Winner: Erika Cohn of Chapman University for "When the Voices Fade"

Jury Prize: Rebecca Cremona of Art Center College of Design for "Magdalene"

-- Paul Gaita

Photo credit: Directors Guild of America

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