Six. That’s the number of times the DGA winner has failed to win the Oscar. Advantage: Tom Hooper. Two thousand and three. That’s the last time the DGA winner didn’t seize the Oscar, which went to Roman Polanski instead of another Harvey Weinstein-backed newcomer, Rob Marshall. Advantage: David Fincher? Not exactly. Fincher, even though he’s never roofee’d a girl in Jack Nicholson’s Jacuzzi, doesn’t have sentiment on his side. (Note to the chilly auteur: It’s okay for the awards process to make you uncomfortable, just ask Danny Boyle, but at least pretend to want to be in its spotlight.) One clear advantage for Fincher was securing the support of the stiff upper lips who make up BAFTA’s directors branch, but by how many votes did he best Hooper? More or less than the number of votes Hooper beat Fincher by for the DGA prize? And how many of those Fincher-favoring BAFTA directors will also cast Oscar votes? Enough to null Hooper’s advantage once you consider all those TV directors who voted for the DGA (which didn’t, by the way, reward Hooper for John Adams) are taken out of the equation? In the end, you don’t have to have the mind of John Nash to come up with a formula that factors all of those scenarios, along with the prevailing mood of Oscar’s non-director branches (we know how their respective guilds went down), and doesn’t end with Hooper taking this in a walk. We know the Oscars have agreed with critics more than usual this past decade, making very respectable choices for Best Picture since Crash won the top prize, but with more than one critic hailing the The King’s Speech the best film of the last decade, it really is looking like it’s going to be a Ron Howard sort of year.
Will Win: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Could Win: David Fincher, The Social Network
Should Win: David Fincher, The Social Network