Tom Hooper has good reason to believe that “mother knows best”, as he took home the top award from Director’s Guild of America for “The King’s Speech”. The DGA presented its Outstanding Directorial Achievement for a Feature Film to Hooper for his direction of the docudrama about King George VI, who took the throne of England just before the outbreak of World War II. The story of a reluctant King with a debilitating stammer who managed to overcome his speech defect was a symbol of courage in those perilous times, and it has made a tremendous impression on the movie industry.
When accepting the award, Mr. Hooper said, not for the first time, that he took on the project at the urging of his mother, who had heard a dramatic reading of the story as a play that had not even been produced. Hooper also thanked the screenwriter, David Seidler, who wrote from personal experience as he also grew up with a stammer. Mr. Seidler said that as a boy in pre-war England, he found King George to be a personal inspiration for overcoming his own speech problem
The DGA surprised many of the critics and predictors who expected top honours to go to David Fincher for “The Social Network”. Hooper also won out over Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”), Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) and David O. Russell (“The Fighter”).
Hooper’s win for “The King’s Speech” puts him in a very strong position to take home the Oscar in February; there have been only six times in the guild’s 62-year history that a DGA winner has failed to claim a director’s Oscar.