British filmmaker Tom Hopper won the Academy Award for directing "The King's Speech," marking the second win for the Oscars front-runner on Sunday.
The British royals drama, which led the field with 12 nominations, remains a contender for the best picture race.
Even though Hooper recently won the bellwether prize from the Directors Guild of America, the Oscar race was seen as a toss-up with David Fincher of "The Social Network." But some of the excitement was taken out of the battle after "Inception" director Christopher Nolan failed to secure a nomination.
"The King's Speech," a drama revolving around the efforts of the future King George VI to overcome a crippling stammer, was Hooper's third feature film. He made his name in the United States directing the HBO miniseries "John Adams." He has said he signed on for "The King's Speech" at the insistence of his mother, who saw a stage version of the story.
Besides Fincher, the other nominees were Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan," David O. Russell for "The Fighter" and previous winners Joel and Ethan Coen for "True Grit."