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.
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