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Weekend reign for 'The King's Speech'

"The King's Speech" scored a coup over the weekend, capturing the top prizes from two major film-industry guilds and cementing its Oscar lead over the onetime sure winner, "The Social Network."

In an upset on Saturday, the film's director, Tom Hooper, stole the Directors Guild award, which many had expected to go to David Fincher for  "The Social Network." The DGA award is a near-perfect predictor of the best directing Oscar, which tends to go to the same film that wins best picture.

On Sunday, "Speech" also triumphed at the Screen Actors Guild awards, winning best ensemble cast, another predictor of the best picture Oscar. As expected, Colin Firth won best lead actor for his portrayal of a stuttering king.

(The SAG awards offered some other Oscar tea-leaves as well, including the supporting actress award for Melissa Leo and the supporting actor award for Christian Bale, both of "The Fighter." The award for lead actress went to Natalie Portman, who played a delusional ballerina in "Black Swan.")

But the real shocker was the Directors Guild award. In reviews for "The King's Speech," Hooper's low-key, subtle direction isn't often mentioned; most of the plaudits have gone to the acting and the script, by Great Neck-raised David Seidler. Fincher's aggressive, atmospheric style on "The Social Network" struck some observers as more deserving of the award, even if only for being more noticeable.

Barring a counter-upset at the Oscars on Feb. 27, "The King's Speech" seems destined to win at least best picture, best director and lead actor out of its 12 nominations.





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