Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'King's Speech' crowned head of Oscar nominees

 BEVERLY HILLS: British historical drama "The King's Speech" was crowned the Oscar frontrunner Tuesday, earning 12 nominations for the multibillion-dollar film industry's top honors.

The understated royal film starring Colin Firth as a stammering King George VI beat rivals including "True Grit" and Facebook film "The Social Network," in nods for the 83rd annual Academy Awards to be held February 27.

"True Grit," the Coen brothers' take on the classic Western, garnered 10 nominations while eight each went to hi-tech thriller "Inception" and "The Social Network," which had been tipped as Oscar favorite.

"Your head spins when you hear the news," Firth told the
Today Show after the nominations were announced, joking that his career had gone into orbit since he was first nominated for best actor Oscar last year.

"It's almost like I was fired out of a cannon this time last year and I'm still orbiting Pluto,' he joked, adding: "It's quite extraordinary."

Firth's rivals on the shortlist for the best actor Oscar are Javier Bardem for "Biutiful," Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network," James Franco in "127 Hours," and Jeff Bridges in "True Grit."

The British actor, who lost out to Bridges for best actor last year, joked when asked whether he would have to kneecap the "True Grit" star to prevent the same thing happening.

"Something has to be done," he quipped.

Best actress nods went to Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right," Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole," Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone," Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" and Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine."

"The King's Speech" won Oscar nods for best film, three acting categories, as well as for directing, editing, musical score, art direction, cinematography, costume design, sound mixing and original screenplay.

Firth, who won a Golden Globe earlier this month for his performance in the British movie, is widely tipped for a best actor at the Oscars show next month, the climax of Hollywood's annual awards season.

And Helena Bonham Carter, who plays his royal wife, was nominated for best supporting actress, while Geoffrey Rush, who plays the speech therapist who helps the king, was also nominated, for best supporting actor.

"That's the best thing about it, to be going together, to have the royal flush that's the most gratifying," Firth told the Today Show,

The British movie's Oscars nomination success was welcomed by the Stuttering Foundation, saying the film "has brought overwhelmingly positive attention to the plight of people who stutter.

"'The King's Speech' gives the stuttering community a hero who inspires and a movie that promotes understanding and acceptance of the complexities of stuttering," said its president, Jane Fraser.

Facebook blockbuster "The Social Network" had been tipped to earn the most Oscar nominations, after winning four awards at the Golden Globes on January 16.

But industry observers had noted that the British royal movie could do better at the Oscars because it is better suited to the tastes of the 6,000-plus members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The British movie also got a small boost over the weekend when it won best picture award at the Producers Guild of America awards.

The Oscar nominations were announced by last year's supporting-actress winner Mo'Nique, joined by the Academy president Tom Sherak.

The 10 films nominated for best picture Oscar were: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit," and "Winter's Bone."

Nominated for best animated film -- an increasingly high-profile award as technology helps create stunning blockbuster family movies -- were "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Illusionist" and "Toy Story 3."


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