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Tom Hooper: The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of Defeat

Tom Hooper

Director Tom Hooper's face reveals his triumph over seven BAFTAs for The King's Speech -- and also the pain of his loss to David Fincher. So which one will win the best director Oscar?

In this video, check out Hooper's fascinatingly contradictory emotions as he celebrates his film's BAFTA sweep, then in mid-interview overhears Geoffrey Rush's surprise victory over Christian Bale. "When I looked at the other films [in contention], I was incredibly nervous, because I thought well, there's masterful filmmakers all around, so it's a real thrill to have won," he mutters in glum, dutiful monotone, with less thrill on his face than he's ever shown yet on the campaign trail, no doubt because everybody won but him. He looked much better when he won at DGA. And yet he did win an historic double BAFTA victory: The King's Speech got both best film and outstanding British film, a feat unmatched since 1993.

Then he says, "Geoffrey Rush! Did they just say Geoffrey Rush? Yes!" He raises his fists in joy, then presses them to his face in what looks less like joy. Hooper's smart, and he knows he's neck and neck with Fincher for the Oscar. Or maybe he was praying for what the film's writer David Seidler told Time to come true: "It's the one-two punch with Oscar. They're the left jab and the right hook, they go together, they're very important." Time's Glen Levy compared the stuttering king flick's 14 BAFTA noms and seven wins to Gandhi's record-breaking 16 noms and five wins in 1983, which led to eight Oscars, including best film and best actor: "It would be folly not to think that The King's Speech will similarly reign supreme."

I'm down with that bet. But like a modest majority of Gold Derby pundits, I still think Hooper will lose by a nose to Fincher. Granted, it makes me nervous that the likes of Roger Ebert, Steve Pond, Kris Tapley, and Scott Feinberg at last report predict a Hooper victory -- which would make him one of the youngest best directors in history.

Pundit Tom O'Neil says, "Fincher's BAFTA win might even suggest that The Social Network has better odds of winning the top Oscar for best picture than pundits believe." About 500 of BAFTA's members are also in the Academy's 5,800 membership. Moreover, he suggests that Social Network's BAFTA best editing win over Black Swan and Inception might be a harbinger of Hooper pulling more sad faces at the Oscars.

"Don’t write any obits yet for The Social Network's Oscar chances," says Pete Hammond, parsing BAFTA omens, "Especially because, earlier in the week, the London Film Critics friended Fincher, Sorkin and the pic itself."

I still lean toward Hooper's victory for best picture and defeat for best director. And like a great many others on Twitter, I echo the sentiment of Rosie Pelan, who tweeted, "Does the fact that Tom Hooper didn't win when everyone else did mean directors are not really necessary?"

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