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The King's Speech BAFTA Sweep

 

Long live the King……or The King’s Speech that is. The historical biopic made a nearly clean sweep of the Orange British Academy Awards this evening in London. The awards, best known as the BAFTAs, crowned actor Colin Firth as Best Actor, while recognizing his fellow thespians, including best supporting actress Helena Bonham Carter and best supporting actor Geoffrey Rush. The film also won as Best Film, Best British Film and for its Original Screenplay. Firth was honored with a standing ovation when he collected his second best actor BAFTA in as many years after winning last year for A Single Man. "The day I first sat down with (director) Tom Hooper I had to postpone a routine but not very edifying medical appointment," he told the audience at the Royal Opera House. "But as the work went on it became apparent that Tom's methods were every bit as thorough, surprising and effective as the ones I thought I had avoided."

  

The film that wags had predicted would sweep all the major film awards, The Social Network, did win a Best Director prize for David Fincher, as well as taking the Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Editing prizes. Locking in her shoe-in status for the Oscars, Natalie Portman continued her unbroken winning streak with the award for Best Actress for her role in Black Swan. The award was accepted by the film’s director because Ms. Portman is in the final weeks of her pregnancy and is apparently saving herself for the Oscar ceremony in two weeks.

 

 

Other prizes were shared among some of the top films of the year. Christopher Nolan's Inception took home the best special visual effects, sound and production design awards, while cinematographer Roger Deakins was awarded the Best Cinematography honors for his atmospheric lensing on True Grit. Toy Story 3 was the winner of the animation prize, which is certain to be repeated at the Oscars as well. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the year’s highest grossing non-English language film earned the Best Foreign Language Film prize. Director Soren Stoermose dedicated the award to writer Stieg Larsson and actress Noomi Rapace. Veteran actor Christopher Lee was given a Lifetime Achievement fellowship in a tribute led by director Tim Burton. It is hard to say if the big win by The King’s Speech represented some kind of home team advantage. For a British film industry that has been rocked by institutional restructuring and economic cutbacks, the film is one of the few bright spots of the season. However, British cinema has been through this kind of rollercoaster ride before and has always re-emerged with quality films and box office champions. And who knows, this may be a Brit year at the Oscars after all. I guess we will know in 14 days.  Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor

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