“By standards of quality, the DGA’s choice of Tom Hooper, director of The King’s Speech, over The Social Network‘s David Fincher is indefensible,” writes Time‘s Richard Corliss.

“Hooper manages his principal players (Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter) expertly enough but forces the supporting actors into caricature. His camera style is stodgy, and his handling of a delicate subject lurid but not invigorating. He’ll do anything — peel onions — to make his audience cry. He commits all the sins of omission and commission that Fincher avoids. And this is one more reason The King’s Speech will triumph on Oscar night: if mediocre work wins in Hollywood’s official circles, it tends to keep on winning.

“When The King’s Speech had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September, I pointed out the ways in which, by coincidence or cynicism, the movie followed virtually every rule of a Best Picture winner. It’s a biopic of a real person; it is set on or near World War II, with Hitler’s shadow looming; it dramatizes a man’s heroic struggle over some physical or psychological infirmity; and it’s got oodles of those classy British actors.

“Other Academy watchers noticed the same thing: Steve Pond, resident Oscar savant of industry website The Wrap, predicted a Best Picture win before he had even seen it. And it would be odd indeed if the people the movie was designed for — the senior Hollywood professionals who vote on the Oscars — didn’t go for it.”