Good Morning Oscar, December 28: The Missing Director

Is David Fincher’s absence really helping the “Social Network” Oscar campaign?

Is David Fincher's absence really helping the "Social Network" Oscar campaign?

Aaron Sorkin and David FincherNicole Sperling suggests that the best thing to happen to the Oscar campaign for "The Social Network" is that its director David Fincher is in Sweden shooting "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." "Rather than forcing a grumpy Fincher, who is known for disliking Oscar campaigning, to participate in Q&As and interviews and other events," she writes, "Academy voters instead are getting the charming Aaron Sorkin and the adorable Jesse Eisenberg, who are ready to tell tales of their brilliant director whom they clearly adore, despite the long shooting days and ridiculous number of takes he insisted upon." I find it hard to believe that Fincher would be a liability, and anyway he hasn't been completely absent: last week, for instance, he did three Q&As in two days on the Sony lot, and he's scheduled for other events including the Palm Springs Film Festival. Does that mean the film will lose momentum now that its director is involved? I think not. (Awards Tracker)

"The King's Speech," director Tom Hooper is fond of pointing out, had its genesis in screenwriter David Seidler's own battle with a stammer, and the inspiration he took from the struggles of King George VI. The Guardian's film critic, Philip French, has a similar story to tell: afflicted with a stammer himself, he remembers families listening to the king's Christmas radio addresses and wondering "if the king would make it to the end, as if he were precariously carrying words like a drunken waiter crossing a polished floor bearing a tray laden with wine glasses." The piece is mostly about French's experience, but he does heap praise on Hooper's "engrossing" film and on Colin Firth's performance: "This is what it is like to be at the mercy of an affliction, to be defined as a stammerer by oneself and others and to feel it as the core of your identity." (The Guardian)

Is the Best Picture race down to 11 contenders already? Kris Tapley thinks so, and has begun a poll asking his readers to select their 10. The contenders, in order of votes as of Monday at midnight: "Black Swan," "Inception," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "The King's Speech," "True Grit," "The Fighter," "The Kids Are All Right," "Winter's Bone" and "127 Hours," plus "The Town" as the one that gets left out. (In Contention)

Dave Karger has the same 11 movies in his Oscar ranking, but he thinks "127 Hours" will be the odd film out. On the day ballots are mailed, he says that not much has changed in his predictions over the last week, and he explains why he's sticking with "The King's Speech" over "The Social Network" for the win: "The only group to announce so far with a voting body that overlaps with the Academy is the Screen Actors Guild, and I find it interesting that 'Network' earned only two nominations compared to four for 'Speech' or 'The Fighter.' I keep hearing from many Academy members who absolutely adore 'The King’s Speech' … [U]ntil ['The Social Network'] picks up significant guild support, I’m not ready to swap my rankings." (

Whereupon Sasha Stone explains why Karger is wrong: "Movies that work on every level as this one does, ferociously written, expertly directed, well acted — you don’t just walk by them.  No one who works in Hollywood would walk by this one." (Awards Daily)