LONDON (AP) - Royal drama “The King’s Speech” faced off Sunday against a ballet thriller, an Internet drama and a tine-twisting sci-fi tale for Britain’s top film prizes _ a foretaste of the Academy Awards in Hollywood later this month.
The made-in-England story of stuttering monarch King George VI had 14 nominations for the British Academy Film Awards and took five early prizes: best British film, original screenplay, original music, supporting actor for Geoffrey Rush and supporting actress, for Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as the Queen Mother Elizabeth.
“I think I should thank the royal family, frankly, because they’ve done wonders for my career,” Bonham Carter said.
Colin Firth is the favorite to be named best actor for playing a king struggling to find his voice in his country’s hour of need.
“The King’s Speech” faced strong competition from psychosexual dance thriller “Black Swan,” nominated in 12 categories, and Facebook-founding drama “The Social Network,” which has six nominations and growing momentum following wins at the Golden Globes and other awards.
“The Social Network” took the editing prize, while mind-bending saga “Inception” won prizes for sound, production design and visual effects.
The awards, known as BAFTAs, are considered a strong indicator of possible Oscars glory. Last year, Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker” won six BAFTAs, including best picture _ then repeated the feat at the Oscars.
Sunday’s ceremony provides a curtain raiser for the Feb. 27 Oscars, offering a mix of gray skies, British style and Hollywood glamour. Stars including Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Neve Campbell, Barbara Hershey and Bonham Carter _ in a black Vivienne Westwood dress _ braved a blustery London drizzle to walk the red carpet at London’s Royal Opera House before the televised awards show.
“Colin Firth is incredible in that movie and this is his home turf,” he said.
“Inception” had nine nominations, while limb-lopping endurance story “127 Hours” and Coen brothers Western “True Grit” had eight each.
But “The King’s Speech” was the film to beat. Perfectly timed in a year that sees the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and impeccably acted, the movie is a flag-waving British triumph.
It tells the true story of George VI, thrust unexpectedly onto the throne by his elder brother’s abdication, and his battle to overcome a stammer with the help of an unconventional speech therapist.
With its eve-of-World War II setting and blend of deference and irreverence, “The King’s Speech” has struck a popular chord around the world. The film has already earned many times its reported 15 million-pound ($24 million) budget and was favored to take the best-picture prize over “The Social Network,” “Black Swan,” “Inception” and “True Grit.”
“Films like this depend entirely on what people say about them,” Firth said this week after being named actor of the year at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards. “They don’t depend on the money because there wasn’t much, they don’t depend on a big studio machine or a big financial apparatus.”View Entire Story
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